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Phthalate Esters Panel Responds To
Recent New York Times Article

Copyright 1999 PR Newswire, Inc.
January 24, 1999

The following was issued on Saturday, January 23 by The Phthalate Esters Panel of the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA):

The following letter was prepared by the Phthalate Esters Panel of the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) based in Arlington, Virginia. For further information, contact Marian Stanley at 703-741-5623.

January 22, 1999

Ms. Marian Burros
New York Times
229 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

Ms. Burros:

Your recent article "Plastic Wrap and Health: Studies Raise Questions" -- while no doubt well intentioned -- does a disservice to your readers and to sound science in general.Your central thesis is that the DEHA found in some plastic wraps may act as an endocrine disruptor.This is a serious allegation and one that is simply not borne out by the facts.We therefore have no choice but to demand a retraction.

Following are the key points supporting our request for a retraction:

-- We are aware of no scientific evidence that DEHA acts as an endocrine disruptor.The Consumers Union has offered no evidence supporting this inference and, as you report, Dr. Edward Groth himself acknowledges that there is no evidence that the levels of DEHA migration found in the Consumers Union tests pose any threat to human health.

-- Your article misquotes Dr. Gina Solomon of the Natural Resources Defense Council.We have spoken with Dr. Solomon directly and she denies saying that "DEHA is almost certainly an endocrine disruptor." She believes you must have confused DEHA with another of the compounds you discussed with her --a mistake that should have been caught in the fact-checking process.

-- The FDA has reviewed the available research and found no evidence linking DEHA to estrogenic effects.Dr. George Pauli at the FDA told you as much.You should also know that the EPA reached the same conclusion.(a)

-- Your characterization of the plastics industry's position on the use of films in a microwave is misleading. A recent publication from the American Plastics Council and The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. states that "if you were to accidentally ingest food containing melted plastic, you'd likely have an unpleasant eating experience but you would suffer no harmful effect."

Ms. Burros, we share your concern for consumers' health and safety. However, nobody benefits from the perpetuation of a scientifically unfounded health scare. Please call Marian Stanley at 703-741-5623 so the retraction can be made as soon as possible.

(a)In a decision to remove DEHA from a list of toxic chemicals, the EPA concluded, "there is insufficient evidence, at this time, to demonstrate that DEHA causes a hormone disruption."

SOURCE: Phthalate Esters Panel of the Chemical Manufacturers Asociation (CMA)

CONTACT: Marian Stanley of Phthalate Esters Panel of the ChemicalManufacturers Asociation (CMA), 703-741-5623

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