Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

cover_largeIt is a silly title but a serious book on the  health issues of new chemicals in the environment . Endocrine disrupters which mimic the bodies natural hormones , chemicals at low background levels which accumulate up the food chain , things which cause cancer etc .

Working with the LAND 125 fabric some years ago our workers reported skin rashes and tight breathing. So we shut down and tried to figure out the source of the problem .
The fabric has always puzzled us . Much too heavy for making packs and pouches , far too stiff to create curved corners or sophisticated shapes .
Why was it so heavy ?

Eventually we discovered the presence of some exotic chemicals in the heavy inside coating . Antimony dioxide , Decabromodiphenyl and formaldehyde .
We had heard about DBDP as Steve Jobs had recently declared that Apple would no longer use it as a flame retardent additive to computer casings .
But why put it on the inside layer of a backpack fabric in the first place ? The fire will be on the outside . Someone wasn’t thinking straight .

We reported to the specifier of the fabric , DMO , and requested an independent enquiry by a qualified ecotoxicologist . DMO preferred an inhouse investigation by a friendly but totally unqualified retired officer .

A long time later the report concluded ‘ nothing to worry about ‘ . They felt that a person would have to rub themselves on acres of the fabric to get a dose .
Not our point . Respirable dust from coating broken by high speed needles, diffusion into sweat of the wearers and coating breakdown with use was the point .
As was releases of toxic metals during disposal by burning or land fill with access to the water table .

DMO has assurred us that all troops on deployment have been advised about the disposal requirements for this contaminated fabric. Not good enough. It’s our poison fabric. Why are we leaving it to Afghans to deal with ?

Our recommendation is that any goods made of LAND 125 Duracord fabric should be cleaned to meet  Quarantine standards then brought back to Australia to be disposed of in regulated landfill .

We make this posting to alert anyone OS who may have inadvertently missed the official orders on the subject,  please follow the official channels.

Happily for the future the latest SCE pack and pouch tender specifically forbids the use of Flame Retardent additives in fabric of tendered items. Someone was listening.

Cheers .
PM

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