A Hard Look at Soft Plastics

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A December 1, 2005 letter in the toy magazine Playthings notes the ACSH position on phthalates and quotes ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross:

...American Council on Science and Health medical director Dr. Gil Ross condemns the activist campaign against plastic softeners. "There are thousands of chemicals to which we are exposed in trace levels in the environment," Ross says. "Why focus on phthalates? These are highly beneficial, and there are no substitutes with a proven track record of safety and efficiency. It seems to me to be a waste of time, effort, and scarce resources."

But scarce resources aren't a problem for the National Environmental Trust. Since 2000, NET has received more than $30 million from wealthy foundations. NET has spent a good portion of its grant money trying to separate children from the vinyl toys they love. Using children's toys to incite fear is a morally questionable fundraising tool.

There is not a shred of evidence supporting claims that vinyl damages children's health, or the environment. Toymakers have been making vinyl toys for 50 years. One of the most thoroughly-tested plastics available, vinyl is easily cleaned, affordable, durable, and safe.

It's time activists gave up their wrongheaded campaign against vinyl and focused on consumer behavior that has been proven harmful, such as cigarette smoking and drunk driving.

Patrick Mooore, Ph.D
Chair/Chief Scientist
Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.
Vancouver, Canada
(Dr. Moore is co-founder of Greenpeace)