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According to environmentalists, especially Greenpeace, chlorine is the
element that gives, more than any other element, a lot of unnatural materials
that are dangerous for human beings and nature. In so far that chlorine
use should be banned in short terms.
How far this is scientifically justified, will be exposed during a travel around many environmental problems: chlorinated and non-chlorinated, industrial and natural materials will be compared for risk by production, use, deposit, incineration, and fire. Also persistence, bio-accumulation, nutrification, smogbuilding, acid rain, ozone depletion, greenhouse effect, toxicity, cancer risk and last but not least the sunset of masculinity will be reviewed.
Greenpeace promotes a lot of alternatives for the use of chlorine and chlorine derivatives, especially for PVC, but they do not give any prove that these alternatives are better for the environment. To the contrary, several of these alternatives are proven to be worse for the environment and/or more dangerous for the users. For Greenpeace it seems to be more important that a material, or a process, is chlorine-free. In that way Greenpeace - in chlorine matters - is not an environmental group, but an anti-chlorine group.
In several actions (see Chlorophiles Activities) we tried to convince Greenpeace to stop all campaigns against chlorine and PVC, until an open debate between scientists of Greenpeace and those of the chlorine industry should take place. This debate should be under supervision of independent scientists - and would decide which pros and cons of chlorine uses and of their possible alternatives are so important that one should make a changeover towards the chlorine-free alternatives (or the opposite way!). Until now, we have had no answer.
More about Greenpeace and their anti-chlorine and PVC campaign:
Reactions on Greenpeace stories:
The Hidden Side of Greenpeace
In the summer of 1996, Chlorophiles published and distributed free of charge an essay entitled "The Hidden Side of Greenpeace". The purpose of this work was to show how Greenpeace has made mistakes concerning chlorine and chlorinated products and that the press does not always swallow Greenpeace's claims and sometimes even reports shocking activities and intentions of Greenpeace. The methods employed by this organisation were also illustrated by examples. Consequently, the author's view of Greenpeace turns out to be quite negative.
The essay was a compilation of over 160 references, mostly taken from the international press, with additional personal opinions, mainly on issues surrounding chlorine and/or PVC about which Chlorophiles have evidently acquired detailed knowledge. On the other hand, in the introduction to the essay, Chlorophiles clearly stated that they do not claim to express value judgments on issues (other than PVC and chlorine) of which they do not have detailed knowledge, such as nuclear concerns.
Before the Court of Hamburg, Greenpeace e.V. built their case around about 15 points of disagreement. Under German law, quotes from the press, even when quoted in due format, with precise indication of origin and word for word, are considered as "having been made his own" by the editor of the essay who makes the quotes (in casu Ferdinand Engelbeen, as the editor of "The Hidden Side of Greenpeace"). He therefore has to prove that these quotes are correct in content (= reverse burden of proof).
The interesting points of the final decision of the Hamburg court can be found at:
Press releases as reaction on special items:
How other environmental groups like Bellona think about PVC related problems and alternatives:
You are at the english language page of the Chlorophiles pages.
Created: February 23, 1996.
Last update: April 28, 2002.
For more information, comments, additions, please contact the author. We are open for any scientifically founded argument and we do not think that we have the only truth. Please allow a lot of time for any reply, we have our regular (very busy) work in chlorine- and PVC-factories, so all this work is done in our free time. We work independent of our employers and contrary to some green multinationals, we have not the money to pay the best (and most expensive) advertisers, the best Internet specialists, the best psychologists or the best lawyers, nor can we afford personnel to react on all incoming post.
Ferdinand Engelbeen, chairman Chlorophiles, a short c.v.
Chlorine in the world
For an overview of the background of some scientific words, used in our pages, see our glossary
The scientific and not so scientific works, used in our pages can be found at our references pages
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