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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

about lead paint risks. Prior to 2007's recalls of leaded toys, neither Mattel nor Thomas the Tank manufacturer RC2 warned investors of a tide of Chinese product recalls dating back as far as 2001; Mattel's shareholder disclosures of lead paint problems with its own toys lagged by weeks internal company knowledge of such problems.

-- Likely or possible European bans. Among 10 chemical company filings reviewed in detail, none provide meaningful quantitative data on the numbers of their products or proportions of sales that may be locked out of European markets under Europe's new, stringent chemical authorization requirements. Based on electronic review of filings in the SEC's database, the report demonstrates that most companies that sell products to Europe - from paint and cleaning products, to toys and cosmetics - appear to be glossing over or ignoring major requirements that go into effect this year to preregister the contents of their products in European markets.

-- Asthma risks. Companies are not disclosing to shareholders the potential for their products to cause or exacerbate asthma. The report notes Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble as two companies which sell products containing chemicals evidenced to cause or exacerbate asthma, and which are not disclosing these risks to investors.

-- Nanotechnology. Manufacturers are not disclosing the evidence of health risks of nanotech products, nor the lack of adequate product testing prior to their sales. While some nanomaterials manufacturers disclose potential uncertainties, users of the materials in an array of products from electronics to cosmetics are not disclosing the potential health and financial risks, even though some of these products, known as nanotubes, have been found by scientists to resemble asbestos fibers in structure and respiratory health effects.

Shareholders are working to address some of these disclosure shortcomings in the current Annual Meeting season. A s
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SOURCE Investor Environmental Health Network, Falls Church, VA
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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