Phthalate debate

March 10, 2000

Simon Heap's concerns about our article (Cutting Edge, THES, February 11) appear largely to be based on an uncritical reading of one side of the debate relating to the hazards of additives that leach from PVC toys. In support of his critique, he cites "a body of scientific opinion" that apparently holds that such toys are "safe beyond reasonable doubt", and he chooses to ignore the substantial accumulation of evidence that demonstrates that such a statement is entirely indefensible.

Furthermore, many of the statements on which Heap's criticism of Greenpeace is based are not supported by the facts. For example, Greenpeace's disengagement from the PVC retail working group resulted from the group's decision to pursue a policy of pollution management for the PVC industry rather than of PVC substitution, and not because of any criticism levied against Greenpeace. Moreover, Heap's selective abstraction of the National Business Centre for Business and Ecology report is entirely out of context.

David Santillo and Paul Johnston University of Exeter

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