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Environment

Combating Chemophobia

November 5, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 45

Oct. 29, page 28: In the story on flame retardants, C&EN stated that the Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) provided grant money to Arlene Blum; PFA maintains that it only gave Blum a one-time speaker fee, not grant money.

Regarding the comments by Gordon Nelson in addressing the issues of flame retardants (C&EN, July 30, page 4): Well done, Mr. Nelson.

I have been involved with textiles for nearly 40 years and continue to be frustrated with the constant attack on chemistry. Chemistry has brought our country a standard of living beyond anything seen in other countries. The chemophobia syndrome, as Nelson calls it, is a true description of those who want to get rid of fluoride in water, chlorination or disinfection of drinking water, and so on because chemicals may harm people. We need to look at how chemistry has added to, protected, and improved our lives.

Flame retardants have saved many lives because they work and give textile products a performance level above and beyond what could be achieved without them. Those who attack chemistry need to become more educated and informed about the subject they attack and stop creating hysteria among the populace.

Len Farias
Fuquay-Varina, N.C.

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