| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free Wastewater Treatment Coating Systems eResource Book

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Chemical Group Urged to Expel 3 Firms

Monday, June 11, 2012

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

Legislators from 10 states are asking the American Chemistry Council, the nation’s oldest trade group, to expel three member manufacturers of flame-retardant chemicals for “deeply unethical” practices.

Targeting Albemarle, Chemtura and ICL Industries—the world’s three largest makers of fire retardants—the request follows a four-day series in the Chicago Tribune that details a host of misrepresentations by the companies involving flame-retardant chemicals. All three companies supply chemicals for a variety of coatings and end users.

 American Chemistry Council president Calvin Dooley cited
American Chemistry Council president Calvin Dooley cited “lack of confidence” in the EPA to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The newspaper series, “Playing with Fire,” documented a wide variety of what it called questionable practices in the companies’ efforts to push legislative mandates for more fire-retardant products and materials.

The practices included the hiring of a prominent burn surgeon to testify repeatedly, dramatically and falsely about babies (especially poor children) dying in fires; the creation of a “front group” called “Citizens for Fire Safety” that falsely claims alliances with firefighters and health groups; and misrepresenting the science behind the risks and effectiveness of flame retardants.

‘Specific and Disturbing Dealings’

“[W]e are writing to urge you to expel these unethical manufacturers from your industry trade group,” the 21 state lawmakers wrote June 4 in a letter to ACC president and CEO Calvin M. Dooley.

The lawmakers note that ACC’s Responsible Care program requires members “to lead in ethical ways that increasingly benefit society, the economy and the environment.” Participating in Responsible Care is a condition of membership for ACC. ACC’s principles also include “communicating forthrightly with governments and communities about chemical risks.”

 A 2007 chemical industry flyer challenges legislation to reduce the use of flame retardants.

 Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

A 2007 chemical industry flyer challenges legislation to reduce the use of flame retardants. Critics say the manufacturers of such products have overstated their effectiveness and understated their risk.

“The deception practiced by these companies…is completely unacceptable in our state legislatures,” the letter says. “Some of the most egregious practices, like lying about the death of an infant girl, are abhorrent by any measure.”

The signers said they had had “specific and disturbing dealings” with the industry that “violated basic ethical behaviors and certainly would not be considered honest…”

‘Confidence in Their Chemistries’

The companies did not comment on the series.

In his response, Dooley called the companies “longtime members” of ACC that “have great confidence in their chemistries, supported by substantial testing and studies on safety and efficacy.”

He said each company planned to release “available existing scientific information” that supports their claims.

Still, Cooley sought to distance the companies from ACC. He said ACC did not lobby at the state level and was not affiliated with Citizens for Fire Safety.

On the other hand, Cooley cited “a lack of confidence”—by whom, he did not say—in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “ability to effectively regulate chemicals in commerce, and because of this, even when chemicals have received federal regulatory approval, they are often subjected to attacks at the state level that breed misperceptions.”

He also said the issue pointed up the need for “bipartisan reform” of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which governs the nation’s chemical regulatory system.

Brominated Flame Retardants

The fight over brominated flame retardants in part reflects a stalled effort to reform the TSCA. With little national movement, about a dozen states have considered limits on flame retardants, citing growing evidence of their potential to bioaccumulate and their links to cancer, neurological deficits and developmental problems.
Based in St. Louis, MO, ICL Industrial Products is a global leader in flame retardants, bromine compounds and other chemicals for the electronics, construction, automobile, and oil and gas drilling industries.

 The three companies behind Citizens for Fire Safety control about 40 percent of the world’s flame-retardant market.


The three companies behind Citizens for Fire Safety control about 40 percent of the world’s flame-retardant market.

Albemarle, based in Baton Rouge, LA, is a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of engineered specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging, construction, automotive/transportation, and other industries.

Philadelphia-based Chemtura makes chemical additives designed to improve the performance of polymers in their end-use applications.  These include brominated performance products and flame retardants.

Together, the companies control about 40 percent of the world flame-retardant market.


Tagged categories: Albemarle Corp.; Flame-retardant coatings; Health and safety; Toxicity

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.


The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.

CS Unitec
Surface Prep & Material Removal

CS Unitec’s Floor Planers remove coatings & corrosion from concrete & metal surfaces. Produce keyed profiles for waterproofing applications.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

LPI Incorporated
LPI, Inc.

Manufactures air-powered man lifts for use in prep, paint and blast booths. Standard and custom designs.
Phone 800-657-6956 or

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!

SAFE Systems, Inc.
Portable Dust Collectors for Tough Environments

Trailer and skid-mounted models in numerous sizes, powered by electric and/or diesel. Sloped roofs, multiple dust inlets, high static, dampered fans. Lockable power & drive compartments.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.

Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rush inhibitor prevents flash rust by removing surface contaminants.
Contact us for your nearest distributor. (800) 319.8802

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail