Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Ecology center fights back against effort to "stifle public debate"

18. August 2006 • Chuck Warpehoski
Email this article

The Ann Arbor News reports that the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center is fighting back against a lawsuit by Morton Grove Pharmaceutical.

From what I hear, they think they have a very good case. They certainly have their message down. They are criticizing pharmeceutical use of lindane, which has been banned in 52 countries and California.

I don’t know how the courts will rule, but how can you beat Ecology Center Executive Director Mike Garfield’s quote, ” “It makes no sense that lindane can’t be used on pets or plants or persons serving in the military, but it can still be used on children.”



  1. Here’s something funny. Go to the ecology center website and search for “lindane.” The hits are all critical of the product, but the Google Adwords are all advertisements for it.


       —Chuck    Aug. 18 '06 - 02:40AM    #
  2. Yea, that is a problem with google ads. many of my union websites pull in anti union adwords… oh well… till we think of something more creative…

    The Ecology Center is an amazing group of people, glad you put this up Chuck!


       —Mark    Aug. 18 '06 - 05:16AM    #
  3. “It makes no sense that lindane can’t be used on pets or plants or persons serving in the military, but it can still be used on children.”

    It makes perfect sense. Kids are way more durable than hamsters or African violets or even soldiers. Kids fall out of windows all the time and survive. Kids eat paste and dog shit. I say, test everything on kids. After all, pets and plants cost a lot of money, and soldiers take a long time to train, but you can make another kid in like nine months for free.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 18 '06 - 01:35PM    #
  4. “you can make another kid in like nine months for free.”

    Yet another reason to Choose Life.


       —Daniel Adams    Aug. 18 '06 - 03:15PM    #
  5. This looks like a classic SLAPP suit to me.


       —David Cahill    Aug. 18 '06 - 03:39PM    #
  6. Parking Dude you’re not being funny except to yourself here. And if you don’t think what these corporados are trying to do to the good people of the Ecology Center, you are out to lunch.

    Didn’t something like this happen last year here when a developer threatened private citizens with a lawsuit just because they testified at a council meeting against his development? I kept waiting for the mayor or Roger Frasor to publicly blast these slimeballs for trying to intimidate people, but I didn’t see a word of criticism. This kind of thing deserves the harshest attack, from everyone in any position of power, in all cases. We don’t have much of a democracy left if the people who represent us don’t stand up for those who are being bashed and trashed by companies that fall to this level.


       —AK    Aug. 18 '06 - 05:30PM    #
  7. AK:

    I thought PSD’s post was pretty funny. Relax.

    I dunno about other democracies, but law and order in this democracy is preserved in part because everyone (even “corporados”) can use the court system to settle a dispute. How is it that you’re so sure that this lawsuit is just about intimidation?


       —Daniel Adams    Aug. 18 '06 - 06:20PM    #
  8. Daniel, you like humor I don’t like. That’s normal. Difference is not something that calls for either of us to “relax.”

    I can’t be sure about anything. Much less this lawsuit. But I sure don’t see the legitimate basis for this lawsuit. Now that could be the legendarily weak coverage in the paper, or accepting too much of the Ecology Center’s view.

    But SLAP suits are common, and they are vile. This case has the common signs.

    In case my bias is blinding me here, would you please tell me the valid basis for the Morton case, if it is not just to intimidate critics?


       —AK    Aug. 18 '06 - 06:34PM    #
  9. AK wrote ” ... a developer threatened private citizens with a lawsuit just because they testified at a council meeting against his development?”

    You’re thinking of the New Life Church, who wanted to build an addition of an auditorium onto their space along Washtenaw Ave. so that they could hold worship services there instead of renting space in the Modern Language Building on UM campus. They subpoenaed communications among and by private citizens, mostly neighbors of the proposed addition, who had spoken at a Planning Commission hearing (I think is was PC, not CC) against approval. The lawsuit itself was based on religious discrimination. Soon after it hit the papers, the lawsuit along with subpoenaes were withdrawn, the addition was approved in some form or other, and construction was started, and is now very nearly done if not already.

    In the case of lidane, it seems to me that the appropriate audience for the Ecology Center’s message would have been the FDA, which has approved lidane for the secondary use that Morton Grove Pharm. manufactures it for, as opposed to the parents whose kids have lice that can’t be killed with primary methods (whatever that might be). Mike Garfield’s quote targets the latter and, as best I’ve gathered in five minutes of cursory scanning, blurs at least a little bit the probably useful distinction between agricultural use and pharmacological use of a product in a way that makes any parent who might be contemplating purchase of the product less likely to buy it to treat their child’s hard-to-kill lice, despite the fact that the FDA has explicitly approved it for this use. My guess is that Morton Grove Pharm. would like the Ecology Center to have mentioned this FDA appproval as a part of any discussion of their particular product. I sort of wonder, though, if a possible failure on the Ecology Center’s part to mention the FDA approval every single time they discussed MGP’s product really resulted in loss of sales in excess of $75K. How rampant is headlice that can’t be killed with conventional means?


       —HD    Aug. 18 '06 - 06:54PM    #
  10. AK:

    Your crabbed sense of humor wasn’t what prompted me to tell you to relax.

    First, PSD wasn’t the only person who thought he was being funny; I laughed too. More importantly, your remarkably harsh condemnation (“This kind of thing deserves the harshest attack, from everyone in any position of power, in all cases.”) is wildly inappropriate given how little you seem to know about the lawsuit.

    I don’t have easy access to the information that would allow me to answer your question regarding the motivation of the suit and the legal arguments upon which it is based. But even if I did, I’m not going to engage in the sort of analysis required to make an informed call on this simply because you can’t be bothered to educate yourself before denouncing something as a threat to American democracy.

    Ironically, it is just such uninformed, self-righteous commentary which has, in my humble opinion, poisoned cable and radio news and crippled debate in this country.


       —Daniel Adams    Aug. 18 '06 - 07:14PM    #
  11. This lawsuit is just to intimidate, and I applaud the Ecology Center for fighting back. Morton Grove is the one who has misleading information on their website. They sold the rights to Lindane to a PEDIATRIC company called Alliant.

    Morton Grove has ONE quote from way back that lindane is effective and safe if used as directed. They don’t mentioned the hundreds of medical literature about the toxicity of lindane and the very many articles on pubmed that says lindane is the LEAST effective treatment.

    The FDA blackboxed lindane to be used with caution on anyone under 110 pounds, and as the majority who get headlice are 3 to 10 years old, well lindane should not be used on them.

    Morton Grove is running scared. They are losing business, spending over $150,000 on lobbyists in two states to oppose a lindane bill. And now with the EPA banning lindane, and the attention in the media, many more people thankfully will be educated about lindanes extreme toxicity and will know enough not to use it on their children.

    There are non toxic products sold over the counter and the best treatment for headlice is a lice comb.

    Lindane on the average costs $150.00 for one treatment. The price of over the counter treatments are around $10.00. A lice comb even less.


       —Pam    Sep. 6 '06 - 10:40PM    #