iGPS Attacks Wood Pallet Companies for Bogus Claims; Launches Counterattack

April 1, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla.Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS Co.), a provider of plastic pallets with embedded RFID tags, launched an attack on CHEP and the

ORLANDO, Fla.—Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS Co.), a provider of plastic pallets with embedded RFID tags, launched an attack on CHEP and the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) and dared them to compare their wood pallets with iGPS’ plastic pallets in a side-by-side, independent, random examination.

The attack from iGPS may be a reaction to an alert—illustrated with a skull and crossbones—posted on the home page of the NWPCA. The alert calls plastic pallets a “risky choice” because some manufacturers have added deca-bromine, a fire retardant, to their pallets. Read the alert here.

On April 14, the NWCPA issued a news release calling plastic pallets a “toxic platform.”

“Desperate to thwart the growing use of iGPS pallets by leading companies in food and other industries, unscrupulous members of the wood pallet monopoly, including CHEP, are purposefully disseminating false information about iGPS’ all-plastic pallets,” stated Bob Moore, CEO of iGPS, in a statement released yesterday, April 22. “In their effort to defend antiquated, dangerous and flammable wood pallets, they scurrilously have attacked the fire retardant in our pallets—deca-bromine—one of the most effective, widely used and extensively tested fire retardants available.

“So, for the second time, iGPS challenges CHEP to co-sponsor an independent, side-by-side comparison of our respective products, examining every aspect of the pallets, including fire safety, food safety, worker safety, environmental impact and operational performance,” Moore continued. “We are confident the outcome of this comparison will confirm the results of independent studies and the experience of leading companies that continue to switch to iGPS.

“In addition to the performance and safety of a pallet, businesses need to know how well a pallet provider serves its customers. Therefore, we also challenge CHEP to an independent survey of our respective customers covering all aspects of customer satisfaction, including: value received, vendor responsiveness, vendor innovation, quality of pallets received and truckloads rejected due to broken pallets.”

iGPS said environmental protection authorities for the European Union (EU) conducted a 10-year investigation into deca-bromine’s potential impact on human health and the environment. EU scientists concluded there was no need for risk-reduction measures related to the fire retardant, according to iGPS.

“We cannot help but think the bogus issue of deca-bromine is designed to divert attention from the very real issues involving wood and so-called composite wood pallets,” Moore concluded. According to iGPS, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program classify wood dust as a carcinogen. Wood dust also poses an explosive fire hazard, said the plastic pallet provider. “So-called composite block pallets, which incorporate composite wood material in key areas, utilize adhesives containing formaldehyde, a material that is categorized as either a probable or known human carcinogen,” according to iGPS.

The following day, April 23, iGPS released another statement in which it characterized “the NWPCA’s charge that iGPS’ pallet is unsuitable for hydro-cooled produce as false and yet another attempt to thwart innovation and maintain CHEP’s virtual monopoly of wood rental pallets.”

In a document published on April 23, NWPCA quotes out of context a Jan. 23 letter from the U.S. FDA to “thwart the growing preference for iGPS plastic pallets,” said Moore. “Were NWPCA to read the entire FDA letter, it would find that its understanding is entirely inaccurate and misleading,” he continued. “A simple reading of the FDA letter reveals it does not apply to iGPS’ pallets. Further, a quick review of readily available science reveals that the solubility of deca-brome (less than 0.1 parts per billion) is so infinitesimal that it falls substantially lower than the levels the FDA cites in its letter as relevant.”

Moore reiterated his challenge for a second time. “We are confident we would prevail in each and every aspect of the challenge,” he said.

For more background on this heated controversy, read MHM’s cover story in the April issue.