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'Toxic Stock Syndrome' Report: Many Companies Are Keeping Shareholders in the Dark on Potential Recalls, Bans, and Other Risks
Date:4/17/2008

SEC Filings Show Companies Silent on Known Risks of Lead Paint in Products Sourced in China, Asthma Risk From Products, Expected Future Bans in Europe

WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on a review of SEC filings, including detailed analysis of individual company annual reports for 2006 and 2007, major industrial and other sectors affected by product toxicity risks are doing a poor job of informing shareholders of market risks they face due to toxic chemicals in their products, according to a new study released today by the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN), a collaboration of investment managers with more than $41 billion in assets.

IEHN's report, Toxic Stock Syndrome: How Corporate Financial Reports Fail to Apprise Investors of the Risks of Product Recalls and Toxic Liabilities, was based on searches through thousands of SEC filings, and detailed review of more than 25 companies' reports. The report examines disclosures on supply chain weaknesses before and after the 2007 toy recalls due to lead paint, on scientific studies showing products causing asthma, potential health risks of nanotechnology, and on the new European chemical regulatory program, "REACH" (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)

According to the report's lead author, Attorney Sanford Lewis, "Our analysis shows that the managers of these companies know much more about these product toxicity risks than they are choosing to share with investors. The companies are not engaging in timely investor disclosure of financially important information on product toxicity risks."

Lewis said that the lack of disclosure "means that many of these companies are likely to be vulnerable to shareholder suits and SEC enforcement actions for failure to comply with the Securities Laws."

By type of risk, key findings of the report include the following:

-- Toy recalls. Toy makers did not disclose what they knew
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SOURCE Investor Environmental Health Network, Falls Church, VA
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