Picnics! Pool Parties! Toxins?

Feature story - 19 July, 2002
Summer has hit the north, so start up the grill and bring out the picnic gear. But watch out, some of your favourite tablecloths, beverage containers and lawn furniture from the Martha Stewart Everyday line could be PVC. PVC (polyvinyl chloride or vinyl) is the most damaging plastic to human health and the environment, and the largest source of the cancer-causing chemical, dioxin.

Martha Stewart - Her products contain toxic PVC plastic

Given that alternatives to poisonous PVC are easily available it is strange that perfectly plastic Martha still insists on putting this polluting plastic in homes across North America. Below is what we suspect Martha might say if we got the chance to grill her on the subject of toxic tupperware.

I see from your July magazine you are worried about threats to the general public?

Yes, the North American public has so much to worry about these days, terrorism, crashing stock markets and what to pack in the summer picnic hamper, but nothing which can't be put in context with a nice garden party.

So everyone's worries can be allayed by wholesome healthy eating options?

Indeed, what could be more soothing than a family barbecue or a cookout at the beach. Relaxing in the sun on a comfy plastic chair with a tasty beverage on a beautiful disposable vinyl table cloth is very good for a troubled mind. Would you like a piece of flag berry tart?

No thanks. Are you aware that many of the above products contain PVC?

Really - what's that, a exotic type of flavouring?

No it happens to be a particularly nasty type of plastic which creates pollution during its manufacture, use and disposal.

Oh right, sounds a bit unsavoury, but why should the good homemakers of North America be worried about a bit of far away pollution?

Well for a start many of the poisons associated with PVC have been found in the bodies of children across the globe including North America. These toxic chemicals, which were not present in humans before the 1950's are suspected of causing health and developmental problems especially in children.

Umm, now that you mention it, I do remember our public relations department mentioning something about a few emails, but you'll have to excuse me as I can smell my brownies burning in the oven.

Well thanks Martha for that less than enlightening insight......

Back in the real world we will have wait to see how Martha reacts to the 12,000 emails and 10,000 plus postcards she has received urging her to remove the poison plastic from her product line. Will she make sure she is helping keep pollution out of North American homes or will she palm off protesters with a recipe for lightly tossed summer salads?

So come on Martha and give us a real reason to enjoy our "potluck party salads" and ensure they are free from the poison plastic.

You can help make sure Martha does not forget she is helping pollute the planet by sending her an email or sending an ecard.

Find out more about this campaign and about the problems of PVC plastic.