Lawsuit meant to protect product, not censor science - US Eastman

22 August 2012 23:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Eastman Chemical said on Wednesday that its lawsuit against two companies is intended to protect its Tritan copolyester from misleading statements – and not to censor anyone.

Eastman sued PlastiPure and CertiChem, accusing the two companies of using an unreliable test to discredit Tritan. Eastman markets Tritan as a safe substitute for polycarbonate (PC), a plastic suspected of leaching bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA, in turn, is a suspected endocrine disruptor, which can mimic estrogen, and some groups have called for it to be banned from food containers.

Eastman sued the two companies, accusing them of embarking on a media campaign that exaggerated the extent that endocrine disruptors are present in plastics – particularly those made with Tritan.

Specifically, the two companies claim that plastics such as Tritan could still leach endocrine disruptors – even if they lack BPA, Eastman alleged.

The companies based their claims on a test that Eastman alleged is not definitive. Nor is it a final test to determine whether a substance behaves as an endocrine disruptor.

Moreover, Eastman alleged that a conflict of interest exists between the two companies. CertiChem certifies materials as being free of endocrine disruptors, while PlastiPure claims to sell only materials that are free of such disruptors, the company said.

Eastman alleged that PlastiPure has made false and misleading comments about Tritan.

Eastman said it has done extensive testing on Tritan to confirm that the plastic does not exhibit endocrine disruptors.

PlastiPure and CertiChem responded with a countersuit, saying that their testing method is reliable and is regarded by some as the gold standard for detecting endocrine disruptors.

Because of the potential danger of endocrine disruptors, companies should be able to test whether products such as Tritan are safe, the two firms said.

"Public policy requires that scientific debate, especially when related to an issue of public safety, not be stifled by those who would put profit motive above safety concerns," the companies said.

Eastman's lawsuit is an attempt to silence what PlastiPure and CertiChem said were legitimate questions about the safety of Tritan, the companies alleged. They accused Eastman of "silencing dissenting voices through threats and intimidation, lawsuits and attacks on credibility".

In a statement, Eastman denied that it was attempting to censor anyone through its lawsuit.

"We are firm believers in good science and scientifically based conclusions," according to the statement by Lucian Boldea, vice president and general manager of specialty plastics for Eastman.

"Our interest throughout this process has been to eliminate false and misleading information and provide accurate information to allow the consumer to make their best choice based on third-party independent data from reputable institutions," Boldea said in the statement.

Eastman as well as PlastiPure and CertiChem are seeking unspecified damages in their lawsuits.

They are filed in US District Court, Western Texas District.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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