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IEHN OCTOBER 2007 NEWSLETTER: TOXIC CHEMICALS IN PRODUCTS
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Letter from the Executive Director
Media attention in recent months to toxic toys, toothpaste and pet foods has added fuel to our argument that companies must pay serious attention to the toxic chemicals in their products. Though the issues have arisen in the context of imports from China, the material concerns raised about toxics in the supply chain are universal. The potential for toxic lockout where a company has been barred from a market due to a product's toxicity is now all too real for suppliers of lead-contaminated PVC bibs to Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us and other retailers. The same is the case for the suppliers of the many other products recalled in recent months. The stock of the Canadian owner of a pet food company hit a record low after the company said it lost a “significant” customer. Reputational risk is now a front and center issue for Mattel and other companies recalling toxic toys. These manufacturers surely would prefer to invest their resources in innovative products and marketing to boost sales, rather than buying full page advertisements in major newspapers to reassure the public that their products are safe. Retailers who may not have thought twice about where their toy products were sourced and how they were made, now share the costs of product recalls and cleared shelves.