On 8/17, Chris Bentley, a reporter with Architect Magazine (ARCHITECT), published a story that included an inaccurate statement about PVC. The article also quoted an individual with a history of misleading the public on PVC – without disclosing the financial motivations fueling his organization’s years-long distortion campaign against vinyl material.
Yet when Dick Doyle, CEO of the Vinyl Institute (VI), submitted a Letter-to-the-Editor (LTE) to clarify the facts for ARCHITECT readers … ARCHITECT refused to run it.
Mr. Bentley’s original article incorrectly claimed some PVCs were “reinforced” with asbestos. The assertion is flatly untrue. The story also quoted Jim Vallette of the Healthy Building Network (HBN), and positioned him as a credible source on PVC issues. That’s wrong, too. We’ve corrected Mr. Vallette and HBN multiple times in the past for conflating statistics and advancing misinformation about PVC in the discourse. What’s more, the article failed to acknowledge that Mr. Vallette’s organization markets anti-PVC business services, and has a financial incentive to make irresponsible claims about vinyl products.
Mr. Doyle’s LTE spelled out these facts. But the magazine ignored multiple requests to publish it, and instead issued a story correction. The wording of the correction, though, continued to leave readers with the misimpression that asbestos may found in certain vinyl products. And it avoided any reference to HBN’s anti-PVC business services, which would have given readers the chance to evaluate for themselves the reliability of Mr. Vallette’s positions.
After continued back and forth, ARCHITECT then offered to take an isolated quote from Mr. Doyle’s LTE challenging the asbestos claims, and insert it into the online article. (It’s worth noting the original story was entirely one-sided, and lacked any balance or perspective from industry when it originally published.)
But even with that modification, the story still failed to address the credibility issues confronting Mr. Vallette and HBN. And ARCHITECT remained defiant in denying Mr. Doyle the opportunity to clarify those facts for readers.
So, in the interest of transparency, we’ll publish Mr. Doyle’s LTE – which ARCHITECT refused to run – in its entirety here:
Inaccurate Statements About PVC
Architect Magazine failed to disclose a conflict-of-interest of an agenda-driven opponent of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) featured in a recent story ("The EPA is Rolling Back Regulations on Potentially Harmful Chemicals," August 17, 2017). The author, Chris Bentley, also made several inaccurate statements regarding PVC material that must be corrected.
Jim Vallette of the Healthy Building Network is no expert on PVC. In fact, he has a track record of making false claims about it – perhaps because he knows provocative statements about PVC, regardless of the merits, will attract greater publicity for himself and possibly increase revenue for his organization’s anti-PVC business services.
It’s unclear whether Mr. Bentley was fed misinformation by Mr. Vallette, or composed his misrepresentations about PVC and asbestos on his own. Either way, we’ll be clear: Asbestos is not used in PVC piping products or vinyl siding products, and it was voluntarily phased out of vinyl flooring products in the mid 1980’s.
We’re concerned Architect Magazine would source Mr. Vallette without also noting that his views against PVC are financially motivated. And we’re troubled Mr. Bentley would publish a story containing false information about PVC that egregiously misleads readers without first confirming the facts.
Readers deserve better.
By Richard Doyle, president & CEO of the Vinyl Institute