NWPCA on iGPS: Document Swap Didn’t Fix the Problem, JUST Fixed the Numbers

iGPS makes unexplained changes to published chemical amounts – numbers relevant in lawsuit

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In the ongoing public policy debate on the use of the controversial flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS) has chosen to quietly lower the amount of that chemical – not in its millions of pallets, but in its data chart. Doing so in the midst of a lawsuit based on numbers iGPS has promoted for nearly three years in its own life cycle analysis (LCA) on its own website not only weakens iGPS’ position in court, it raises questions about the dependability of the reports on which iGPS relies.

“Since August 2008, iGPS has promoted a life cycle analysis on its website listing the amount of decaBDE in each new pallet at 3.4 lbs.,” said Bruce Scholnick, President and CEO of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (both Scholnick and the association are targets of a lawsuit filed by iGPS in December 2010). “For more than two years, environmental groups, members of Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state governments, fire officials and others have voiced concerns over the potential risks surrounding the use of decaBDE in consumer goods and plastic pallets. When our trade association joined the public debate pointing out the amount of decaBDE in the iGPS pallets, using iGPS’ own numbers from its LCA featured on its website, the company filed a lawsuit against the association and me personally and has since changed the numbers in the report.”

Background: On August 4, 2008, iGPS issued a press release providing a link on its website to a summary report of the LCA conducted by Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM). The posted LCA listed the amount of decaBDE in each new pallet at 3.4 lbs. Recently, iGPS surreptitiously posted a changed LCA with different data – specifically the new report claims the pallets have less than half that amount, only 1.5 lbs. of flame retardant.

Both LCAs are dated July 2008 on each internal page. Both are labeled as a product of the research company ERM. The reports have slightly different titles, cover dates, and numbers of pages, but what is relevant in this issue is the conflicting data with regard to the amount of decaBDE in each new pallet.

* LCA Posted on iGPS Website Aug. 2008: Table 2.1 Pallet Systems in this Study (page 5). “Fire Retardant – lbs (kg) 3.4 (1.5).”
* LCA Posted on iGPS Website 2011: Table 2.3 Pallet Systems in this Study: Baseline Scenarios (page 7) lists “Fire Retardant – lbs (kg) 1.5 (0.68).

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