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Composites One and ACMA Meet with Congressmen to Broaden Public's Awareness of Composites

  • Tuesday, 23rd August 2011
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Composites One has partnered with the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) on a grass roots effort to make lawmakers and the local media more aware of the role played by the composites industry in America’s economy.

Composites One say the effort kicked off on August 17 when US Representatives Donald A. Manzullo (R-IL 16) and Joe Walsh (R-IL 8) met with their representatives Marcy Offner, Marketing Manager; Rick Hess, Technical Sales Representative; and Shari Schlau, Distribution Centre Manager, at Composites One’s distribution centre in Woodstock, Illinois. The purpose of the visit was to gain a better understanding of the composites industry, which, according to Composites One, accounts for more than 13,000 jobs and $2 billion of economic activity in Illinois alone. Also present for the meeting was John Schweitzer, ACMA Senior Director of Government Affairs.

At the Composites One Woodstock facility the Congressmen were given a tour of the warehouse where they learned about the breadth of reach the composites industry has in manufacturing.

They say that Congressman Manzullo also visited Marble Works, a major supplier of solid surface products to the kitchen and bath industry. At this visit, Composites One President and COO Leon Garoufalis and ACMA Senior Director of Government Affairs John Schweitzer, along with Tom Wienckowski, President and CEO of South Elgin Company Marble Works, provided the Congressman a firsthand view of a composite application.

Composite One explained that for Congressman Manzullo, the visit served as a critical fact-finding mission into the challenges facing today’s composites industry. Of particular interest was the recent ruling by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in its 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC) which listed styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. “That ruling could eventually lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US,” said Congressman Manzullo, who co-chairs the bipartisan House Manufacturing Caucus, an effort focused on strengthening US manufacturing and helping employers put Americans back to work. The ACMA and several other organisations insist that HHS’ National Toxicology Program listed styrene in the RoC based on flawed science. The National Toxicology Program staff in its assessment provided to its peer reviewers only a few unrepresentative styrene studies suggesting a possible cancer connection, ignoring numerous other studies to the contrary, including those used by the European Union, which recently conducted a thorough review of large styrene health effects databases and concluded that there is no link to human cancer.

To further explore the matter, Congressman Manzullo has requested that a hearing be convened by the House Manufacturing Caucus, and asked for support from the House’s Subcommittee on Labour, Health & Human Services. “It’s very important that we visit companies like Composites One to find out how these issues impact their business, their employees and their customers,” he added.

For Composites One and Marble Works, the meeting was an ideal opportunity to increase the public’s understanding of composites. “The ACMA has done a tremendous job in supporting our industry and its members,” said Garoufalis. “Thanks to our meeting with Congressman Manzullo, we hope to expand upon that support and increase recognition so that the public understands the valuable role that composites play in everyday life.”

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