Watchdog Group Posts 50 Years of Internal Chemical industry Documents
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The Enviromental Working Group (EWG), a self-described "watchdog group," has posted more than 35,000 pages of internal chemical industry documents covering the last 50 years. The cache of documents includes confidential chemical company memos, letters, reports and meeting minutes that, according to the organizataion's press release, "reveal an industry that continues to this day to mislead the public about toxic chemical hazards and exposures." The database is fully searchable. All documents are displayed in the Adobe PDF format.

"We believe these documents show that the chemical industry cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the health and safety risks of the products it makes and the chemical plants it operates," said Kenneth Cook, president of EWG. "These are documents America's chemical companies never wanted the public to read." The documents, compiled from various public sources, including the files of lawsuits, federal agency files and through Freedom of Information Act requests, are divided into four main categories:

  • Vinyl Chloride: Approximately 10,000 pages from different companies involved in the production of vinyl chloride, including Monsanto, B.F. Goodrich, and Union Carbide. These documents were obtained by lawyers for the widow of a worker for Conoco's chemical division who sued the company for allegedly causing her husband's death.
  • The Chemical Manufacturers Association (formerly the Manufacturing Chemists Association, currently American Chemistry Council): More than 25,000 pages, dating back to the early 1940s, including the minutes from this chemical industry trade group's meetings, as well as all of the CMA's Board of Directors and Executive Committee meetings up to the early 1990s. Also included in this collection are documents from many of the trade group's committees, from Occupational Health and Safety to Government Relations.
  • Anniston, AL: Contains documents related to a 2000 case involving the alleged PCB contamination in and around a Monsanto chemical plant in Anniston, Alabama.
  • Scotchgard: More than 30,000 pages containing studies on PFOS, a component in 3M's stain-repellant Scotchgard. PFOS has been found to cause liver damage in laboratory rats. This material was previously publicly available from the EPA, but was not searchable or viewable on the Internet.

EWG is a nonprofit research group known for its computer investigations of environmental problems. The documents can be found in the Chemical Industry Archives at http://www.ewg.org

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