Environment in Crisis

Dioxin Controversy

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Chlorine Industry Response

The chlorine industry and its allies have five main arguments:

dioxin occurs naturally
calls for a phase-out amount to banning chlorine
chlorine-based products have vast benefits
the case against dioxin is based on emotion
nature produces many substances like dioxin


Whilst the new risk assessment was being put together by the EPA, the new scientific studies being published were causing alarm in industry groups. The Chemical Manufacturers Association, established the Chlorine Chemistry Council in 1993 "to handle public relations, political lobbying, and "scientific initiatives" on all issues for the chlorine industry". By 1994 the Council was receiving an estimated $12 million annual funding plus another $120 million of in-kind support from member companies. It hired two public relations firms to augment its own public relations staff. (Weinberg 1995, part 4.3; Gibbs & CCHW 1995, p. 278)

Members of the Chlorine Chemistry Council include Dow Chemical, DuPont, Exxon and 3M. The Chlorine Chemistry Council works with other like-minded organisations in other countries including Euro Chlor and coordinates the International Group of Chlorine Chemistry Associations. It is supported in its public relations efforts by various corporate front groups such as the American Council on Science and Health, conservative think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute, as well as the Wise Use Movement. The industry is also supported by a number of workers groups. The Alliance for the Responsible Use of Chlorine Chemistry (ARCC), is an alliance of unions and chemical companies that "recognises the significant society and economic benefits provided by chlorine chemistry." The Chlorophiles, a group of workers in Belgium and the Netherlands, describe themselves as "an independent non-profit organisation of workers in the chlorine and PVC industry who want to react against allegations against their work." 

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Gibbs, Lois Marie and The Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, 1995, Dying from Dioxin (Boston, MA: South End Press).

Weinberg, Jack, 1995, Dow Brand Dioxin: Dow Makes You Poison Great Things, (Greenpeace).


© 2003 Sharon Beder