Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.
Remember all of my earlier posts about the industry front group, the Coalition for Chemical Safety? My major complaint was, not that the chemical industry was organizing itself or even seeking support from others, but rather that it was doing so through deception: Pretending to be something it was not. Never revealing who is behind the coalition, who’s paying the bills. Never revealing it was put together by one of the nation’s premier “astroturf” PR firms. And most importantly, not coming clean about its real identity to the businesses and organizations it approaches to sign up.
Well, the Ocean Futures Society, an ocean protection group founded and led by Jean-Michel Cousteau, has just identified itself as one of the duped groups taken in by the Coalition for Chemical Safety (CCS).
In an article posted today on Huffington Post, Holly Lohuis reveals how the Ocean Futures Society (OFS) was approached to join CCS, but was never told it was a front group of the chemical industry or that the coalition was backed by interests whose positions are wholly at odds with those of her group. OFS supports, for example, elimination of brominated flame retardants, the concentration of which, Holly points out, are doubling every three years in populations of harbor seals and killer whales in the Pacific Northwest.
Says Holly: “Once I was convinced I was being duped, I withdrew OFS support from the front group and joined the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition.” She further notes: “Unlike the front group, they have nothing to hide.”
Holly calls for an “honest dialogue” between all interests that have a stake in chemicals policy reform, noting that Dow Chemical was the main sponsor of her group’s PBS Ocean Adventures television series.
She adds: “Fake grassroots groups like CCS are a distraction from the real work before us. Any group that serves to confuse the public and to dupe committed people like me is harming our chances to secure urgently needed reform of our nation's toxic chemical laws.”
Honest dialogue versus continued deception. Seems like the chemical industry has an important choice to make.