F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
November 5, 2000
Hurray for Vinyl Medical Products!

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Vinyl and other plastics are so incredibly useful and inexpensive that a coalition of nannies and ninnies is determined to ban them.

They insist we directly disown
Every pleasure and pastime that's known.
Those "natural" nags
And health-conscious hags --
Oh, why can't they leave us alone?

"During the past couple years, a group of self-appointed 'consumer activists' has decided you should not have access to the best technology," charge Angela Logomasini and Tracy Wates of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "Nor do they think doctors, hospitals, and medical device manufacturers know what medical technology is best for their patients. These activists," they warn, "are pressing for the phase-out of vinyl medical products, which doctors and hospitals choose because of the enormous benefits these products provide. Activists make unsupported claims that chemicals called phthalates, which are used to make vinyl both soft and strong, pose a serious danger to public health."

In a recent issue of Environment & Climate News, published by the Heartland Institute, Logomasini and Wates identify a coalition called Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) as the driving force behind the anti- vinyl campaign. They point out that "the group is led by the American Nurses Association (ANA)," which they describe as "pretty radical. This national nurses union has taken extreme positions that include support for partial birth abortion and Hillary Clinton's highly unpopular 1993 proposal to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system."

Logomasini and Wates explain the modus operandi of these self-proclaimed consumer activists: "By hyping public fear with unsupported allegations, HCWH has pressed hospitals and medical product manufacturers to phase out vinyl products. As a result, medical device manufacturers have come under increasing pressure from shareholders to ban their life-saving products, and some have called for the phase-out of vinyl. Local medical associations have voted on, and some have passed, resolutions to phase out PVC products," they report. "And state and local governments have considered and passed resolutions calling on hospitals to phase out vinyl medical products."

Logomasini and Wates insist that "the science on vinyl indicates it is safe, effective, and the best product available for the functions it performs. Vinyl is a key component of thousands of products," they add, "including household goods and children's toys. But its most important contribution," Logomasini and Wates emphasize, "is to medical devices. Healthcare professionals favor vinyl because it is effective, cheap, flexible, and safe. In fact," they note, "25 percent of all medical devices are made with vinyl, because of its unique properties."

When is some enterprising attorney going to launch a class action suit against consumer activists? Every single person in America is at least potentially harmed when a safe and effective product is taken off the market. Shouldn't we all have recourse, individually or as a group, against the totalitarian busybodies who infringe upon our rights as consumers and deny us the means to alleviate our pain and suffering or enhance our happiness and comfort? Shouldn't our persecutors be held accountable for their abuse, especially for knowing misrepresentations?

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