Environmental group targets PVC at Target
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By Mike Verespej - PLASTICS NEWS STAFF
FALLS CHURCH, VA. (Oct. 6, 12:45 p.m. EDT) -- The Center for Health, Environment and Justice — which has helped pressure several major retailers and manufacturers into pledging to phase out PVC in products and packaging — has selected Target Corp. and its 1,300 stores as its next undertaking.
CHEJ will have a national day of action Oct. 11 with protests and events at about 30 Target stores across the U.S., said Michael Schade, PVC campaign coordinator in New York for the Falls Church, Va., group.
He said activists will pass out flyers about the dangers of PVC and deliver letters to store managers urging them to discontinue the use of PVC in packaging and in products such as children’s toys, baby products and shower curtains.
Schade said Target was selected because “it is lagging behind other retailers” and has not made a written commitment to phase out PVC products and packaging, despite several meetings with CHEJ and letters dating back to March.
The Vinyl Institute, based in Arlington, Va., said it had given Target officials a briefing and provided them with background information on the safe and effective use of vinyl so Target officials can “make an informed decision.”
“We are up against a coordinated campaign,” said VI spokesman Allen Blakey. “We have to step up our efforts to provide the information that helps people understand that not only do these products work, they offer benefits. We have to get our messages and facts out there more frequently and in more places.”
He called CHEJ’s action against Target blackmail.
“They are trying to intimidate retailers and consumers with outdated, old and misleading information,” said Blakey.
At the same time, CHEJ said it will launch a new Internet campaign, also on Oct. 11, at www.pvcfree.org, that will let visitors send e-mails to Target urging the company to phase out PVC.
The Web site also will feature a 3½-minute video in which an animated character searches for a “dangerous” rubber duck made of PVC.
In the past two years, CHEJ has persuaded Crabtree & Evelyn, Johnson & Johnson and Bath and Body Works to discontinue the use of PVC in packaging, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to phase out PVC in private-label packaging.