Nicholas Kristof in this past Sunday New York Times wrote that right now any American, any child, could be sitting on a couch or a stuffed chair containing hazardous chemicals linked to cancer, fetal impairment and reproductive problems. He said he's been writing about this for years, and then raved about a kind of proof-positive piece of investigative journalism, "Playing With Fire," just published by the Chicago Tribune, which documents that tobacco companies a generation ago, facing accusations that smoldering cigarette butts were responsible for numerous house fires, lobbied secretly and successfully to get furniture manufacturers, as a matter of regulation, to put these chemicals in all their furniture in the form of flame retardants.
So what do we have now? A kid playing in your living room can breathe dust from flame retardants that are related to already banned PCBs which, in turn, have been linked to everything from brain damage to diabetes. For pregnant women, it is claimed, they can also alter brain development in the fetus.
Now, it seems to me that if Kristof and the Chicago Tribune's claims are reported incorrectly, they have committed a terrible slander against the three companies that manufacture these retardants. Beyond that, they have also impugned the integrity and humanity of every man and woman executive that run the three major companies responsible for these "killer" products, the Albamarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products and Chemtura Corporation.
These charges have to be hogwash! Just another cheap shot against Big Business. How can so many people, and Americans no less, knowingly turn out a product capable of doing such dastardly harm? Impossible! I am tired of these pathetic attacks. I'm fed up with so many businesses -- even banks! -- being accused of doing anything, including the inflicting of unimaginable harm, for a buck.
Just about all of these charges have been vehemently denied. How many times have we seen accused business people, standing as the gentlemen they are, swearing to tell the truth and scoffing at such charges before a Committee of the House or Senate? And yet these outlandish claims and charges continue. Something more must be done to stop this. Action has to be taken. And maybe the Kristof/Chicago Tribune articles provide just the place to start.
I suggest the Albamarle, ICL and Chemtura companies go to court and sue the hell out of Nick Kristof, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and probably a dozen others who were involved. It would be a first. Business fights back and says -- "Alright, we've had it -- no more Mr. Nice Guy!"
Sue them for slander, libel, defamation, calumny -- sue them until the truth is out!