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Friends of the Earth's new Factory Watch Web site, which displays details of factory pollution throughout the UK, has been described as "alarmist, predictable and unnecessary" by...the very companies branded as heavy polluters. Ian Wilmore, media director at Friends of the Earth, rejected accusations that Factory Watch was nothing more than propaganda. He said: "We have been very careful to link everything to clear scientific data, via hyperlink, to show where we have drawn our conclusions from." The site allows visitors to input their postcode and see the "carcinogenic" pollution level of the nearest large factory, according to an Environment Agency table, compiled in 1996. Companies such as Associated Octel, rated the worst polluter on that list, and ICI, rated the second worst, are keen to point out that this is old news, already available to the public and that pollution levels have come down dramatically since then. ICI spokesman Geoff Paddock said: "This is typical of Friends of the Earth -- the perpetuation of the myth that we are doing things secretively." ®

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