May 28 2013

Release: Independent Women's Forum Leads Coalition Calling Out False Alarmism

Victoria Coley

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INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S FORUM LEADS COALITION CALLING OUT FALSE ALARMISM

Over Twenty Organizations Sign Letter Opposing "Mind the Store" Campaign
Urges Retailers to Stand Firm Against Well-Funded, Anti-Science Campaign of Fear

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  In a continued effort to counteract the culture of alarmism, the Independent Women’s Forum drafted a coalition letter, signed by 23 prominent pro-freedom organizations, to call out a misinformed assault on chemicals, retailers, and consumers. The letter, sent to the nation’s ten largest retailers, urges them to stand firm against the anti-science “Mind the Store” campaign’s demands that stores rid shelves of thousands of common, safe consumer products.

The radical environmental organization at the helm of the “Mind the Store” campaign is notorious for relying on junk science to spread fear and misinformation about chemicals. Removing popular and safe products from store shelves will do nothing to improve public health.  

Members of this coalition share a commitment to identifying false alarmism, flawed science, and manufactured hysteria and providing a reasonable voice to counteract efforts to limit consumer choices, stifle free-enterprise, and take away our freedoms.

Julie Gunlock, director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women’s Forum issued the following statement:

Mothers have had enough of the fear mongering from the anti-science, anti-progress Left.  In this economy, moms certainly don’t need peddlers of junk science to make products less safe, more expensive, and harder to find.  As a mother of three young children, I want products that work well, last long, and are readily available. The “Mind the Store” campaign is misleading Moms into believing only products free of chemicals can be considered safe. That simply isn’t true. 

Moms must resist the alarmism and remember that one reason children are safer today is because of innovations, including chemicals, that make products better.  These chemicals shield children from real dangers, such as injuries due to fire, choking and foodborne illnesses.

We urge not just moms but all consumers to reject this fear mongering and tell these purveyors of junk science that they need to mind their own business.

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Dear Retailers:

 

We are writing to share our concerns about the “Mind the Store" campaign which is aimed at pressuring retailers to remove thousands of products families rely on each day from store shelves. We urge you to stand firm against this well-funded, anti-science campaign of fear. Families don’t need false alarmism; they need access to safe and affordable products that make their lives easier, safer, cleaner and more comfortable.

The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families organization, which is leading the effort to ban these products, is notorious for spreading incomplete information about chemicals. While the organization portrays itself as a consumer “watchdog,” it is better described as an attack dog determined to destroy free enterprise and consumer choice. The organization has a pattern of relying on junk science; it capitalizes on the natural anxieties of parents by spreading scary stories about a long list of common products, such as cleaning supplies, furniture, children’s toys, food packaging, water bottles, and other products commonly sold in stores today. 

The organization’s latest stunt is to pressure the nation’s top 10 retailers into removing certain products that contain “hazardous” chemicals.  The organization recklessly demands retailers “identify whether a specific list of hazardous chemicals are in the products they sell, and if so, to develop a plan to remove them.”

Removing these products from the market will be a huge cost to shoppers and could even put consumers at risk. Among the chemicals the campaign wants removed from are phthalates, bisphenol-A, formaldehyde, and certain flame retardants.  The campaign is quick to suggest these chemicals are hazardous at the level consumers are exposed, despite the significant body of scientific evidence to the contrary. Yet, the campaign fails to inform consumers that these chemicals often make products safer.

For example, flame retardants, which are now common in furniture and building materials, are largely responsible for the sharp decline in household fires since the 1970s. Formaldehyde, which is used in personal care products, helps prevent bacterial growth. Phthalates are added to plastics to make toys less breakable. And bisphenol-A, a chemical used in food packaging, safeguards against deadly botulism in canned food. 

If retailers bow to this campaign, products won’t just become less safe, they will be harder to find and much more expensive. Consumers are already facing higher prices for food, fuel, and everyday products.  Consumers who want to purchase products free of certain chemicals are able to do so since there is no shortage of alternative products in the marketplace. Yet, those people should not dictate the informed choices the rest of us make.

Please join us in pushing back on these irresponsible organizations and stand firm in your commitment to continue offering Americans the products they choose, at a reasonable price.

Sincerely,

 

Julie Gunlock
Director, Culture of Alarmism Project
Independent Women’s Forum

Angela Logomasini
Senior Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
National Center for Public Policy Research

Joseph L. Bast
President
The Heartland Institute

Sabrina Schaeffer
Executive Director
Independent Women’s Voice

Judson Phillips
Title Founder
Tea Party Nation

George Landrith
President
Frontiers of Freedom

Andrew Langer
President
Institute for Liberty

Paul Gessing
President
Rio Grande Foundation

Terrance Scanlon
Former Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission
President, Capital Research Center

Dick Patten
President and CEO
President Family Business Defense Council

Todd Myers
Environmental Director
Washington Policy Center

Jim Martin
Chairman
60 Plus Association

H. Sterling Burnett
Senior Fellow
National Center for Policy Analysis

Elizabeth Whelan
President
American Council on Science and Health

Mattie Duppler
Executive Director
Cost of Government Center

Jack Boyle
Co-Founder
Ohio Prosperity Initiative

Paul Driessen
Senior Policy Advisor
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow

John A. Charles, Jr.
President and CEO
Cascade Policy Institute

Chuck Cushman
American Land Rights Association
League of Private Property Voters

Myron Ebell
Director
Freedom Action

Brett Healy
President
The John K. Maclver Institute for Public Policy

Rich Lowrie
PutGrowthFirst.com

 

 

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Americans are bombarded with messages about how everyday products threaten their health and the health of their children. The media hypes the findings from scientifically-dubious studies; politicians and government regulators seize on them to promote regulations that expand their power and so that they can reassure the public they are doing something to protect Americans.  IWF is leading the fight against this Culture of Alarmism.  To learn more about this project, please go to www.CultureofAlarmism.org.

Independent Women's Forum is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and educational institution dedicated to expanding the conservative coalition, both by increasing the number of women who understand and value the benefits of limited government, personal liberty, and free markets, and by countering those who seek to ever expand government in the name of protecting women. 

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