Plastic pallet pooling company iGPS LLC challenged the claims of a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that its pallets leech flame retardant during the hyrdocooling process.

Orlando, Fla.-based Intelligent Global Pooling Systems challenged the Environmental Working Group’s late-June letter to the Food and Drug Administration regarding its use of decabromodiphenyl ether as “misleading, inaccurate and highly suspect.”

The letter said that “based on an EWG review of publicly available information, it appears likely that deca-treated pallets are being used in ways that could contaminate food with deca (bromodiphenyl) without the necessary premarket approval.”

A statement issued by iGPS in response called into question the Environmental Working Group’s motivation, calling the letter “remarkably similar to language used by competitors of iGPS,” and frequently refers to competitor Chep Equipment Pooling Systems, Orlando.

As for the decabromine issue, iGPS counters that independent studies show that the possible contamination of the flame retardant falls well below the levels the FDA regards as meaningful.

“iGPS selected decabromine as its fire retardant because it is the most effective and most widely used fire retardant in the world, present throughout our homes and offices in textiles, furniture, carpeting, electrical wiring, and electronic devices,” the statement said. “Tests conducted by independent laboratories have confirmed that no transfer of decabromine takes place to food carried on the iGPS pallet — or even to the food’s packaging.”

Chep, in response, said that it does not comment on competitors, but does have an official statement on decabromine. 

“As stated previously by our parent company, Brambles, Chep has chosen not to use decabromine in our plastic pallets due to well-publicized health concerns,” said Derek Hannum, director of marketing. “The announcement from Environmental Working Group is the latest in a series of reports and press releases outlining concerns about the proliferation of decabromine in the environment and the potential for serious health risks.”