'Terrorism' from chlorine company

Wednesday, June 19, 1991

'Terrorism' from chlorine company

STOCKHOLM, — A leaked "crisis management plan" confirms the concern of chlorine manufacturers and users over decreasing market demand and increasing environmental pressure.

The plan, prepared for the Clorox Corporation in the USA and leaked to Greenpeace, recommends labeling environmental critics as "terrorists", threatening to sue "unalterably green" journalists, and dispatching "independent scientists" on media tours as a means of counteracting bad news for the chlorine industry.

"They failed to anticipate the worst of worst case scenarios", said a Greenpeace toxics campaigner, "that some conscientious person would obtain the plan, and leak it to us".

Industry concerns result from a plummeting demand. Demand for chlorine in the US is 10% lower than a decade ago, and contract prices have fallen. At the current rate of decline, by the year 2000 the global pulp industry will consume only one-third of the chlorine it used in 1980. The phasing out of CFCs and chlorinated solvents is also having an effect. Eurochlor, the chlorine industry's trade association, says that European production fell by 4.6% in 1990. The decrease in the UK was 7%.

Eka Nobel, Sweden's largest chlorine producer, admitted in a press release last month that chlorine production had dropped 23% since 1985, and this year two chlorine plants will have shut down.

The public relations plan was apparently prompted by fears that environmental groups would target household use of chlorine bleach. (Clorox manufactures chlorine bleach.)

The PR firm recommends labeling Greenpeace as violent self-seeking "eco-terrorists", attempting to sue newspaper columnists who advocate use of non-toxic bleaches and cleaners for the home, "immunising" government officials and recruiting "scientific ambassadors" to tout the Clorox cause and call for further study.

The plan refers to studies linking chlorine use to cancer and, with remarkable candor, recommends that Clorox should "cast doubts on the methodology and findings" of potentially damaging scientific reports which haven't yet been written. — Pegasus

Issue