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‘Earning The Public’s Trust’

February 6, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 6

I was astonished to read the opinions held by Margaret A. Hellmann in her letter (C&EN, Nov. 21, 2011, page 2). Other than a claim as a member of ACS, she does not list the experience, or experiences, that have brought her to the positions that she states in her letter. Who can imagine what has led her to conclude that ACS is a creature of “chemical corporations”?

I am also an ACS member who has voted in every election. I am retired after 42 years with a midlevel chemical company where I worked in process development, manufacturing supervision, and environmental affairs. In this last position, I supervised the toxicology, industrial hygiene, and environmental engineering staffs. We were usually not clever enough to anticipate problems with particular materials.

We did, however, use all of our resources, as well as the resources of the chemical industry and the scientific community, to manage problems in our facilities and our products as soon as they were identified. As a result, we dropped some products and we made process changes to reduce emissions in wastewater and to the air.

We were proud participants in the Chemical Manufacturers Association’s Responsible Care program. My experiences are the opposite of Hellmann’s assertion that “the attitude of chemical corporations … concerning health issues is that the status quo is to be changed only by governmental force or public outcry.”

If the public truly has the beliefs and awareness that Hellmann seems to believe they have, then they will not be reassured by any platform position of the candidates for ACS offices. In fact, I doubt the public is aware of the existence of the American Chemical Society.

By Benton R. Leach
High Point, N.C.



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