"Consistent with our commitment to the principles of Responsible Care®, we support the development of responsible, science-based laws, regulations, standards, practices and procedures that safeguard the community, workplace and environment."
The Dow Chemical Company
ƒ 2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI, 48674
Tel. (989) 636-1000
Company Web Site:
Andrew N. Liveris
COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS: (this is just a small glimpse)
*1897 company founded by Herbert Dow. Names company after himself.
*1903 Midland residents threaten to sue Dow because of smelly gases, which they claim induce vomiting.
*1914-1918 produces mustard gas for the American government to be used in World War I.
*1916 begins making phenol. Fisherman downstream from the Dow plant complain the fish taste bad. Dow begins storing waste in holding ponds, instead of dumping it into the Tittabawassee River. The dam holding the waste brakes, sending the waste into the river. The city of Saignaw forced to turn off their water supply and wait until the waste flows down into Lake Huron. Dow workers pull boat loads of dead fish from the river following the dumping so that local newspapers can not see the hundreds of dead fish floating downstream.
*1917 Michigan wins an injunction against Dow for its mismanagement of waste.
*1931 Dow's Midland, Michigan facility has 600 acres of waste ponds for 200,000 gallons of waste. By 1935, the waste grows to 2 million gallons a day.
*1930s Dow pumps brine waste into the ground. Some ends up in the groundwater.
*1940s Dow workers eat local fish from the rivers. The fish is served twice a day to Dow employees as taste tests.
*1942 opens facilities in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada to produce styrene for use in styrene-butadiene synthetic rubber and a chlorine plant which dumps about 60 pounds of mercury waste a day into the St. Clair River. Studies show that occupational styrene exposure causes long-lasting colour vision deficits. Styrene is often detected in the blood of non occupationally exposed populations as well. Styrene is toxic to the nasal epithelium of rats and mice, and hepatoxic and pneumotoxic in mice.
*1950s Dow is a major producer of perchloroethylene (or PERC) used in most dry cleaning businesses. Perc is found to be toxic to the liver and kidneys, and dry cleaned clothes hung in a closet emit the chemical at levels exceeding NY guidelines for indoor air by 190 times. By the 1980s perc is found in people.
*1951, Dow Chemical hires Otto Ambros, a Nazi war criminal and chemist convicted at Nuremberg for slavery and mass murder. During World War II Ambros is a director of I.G. Farben, that owned a company that produced the gas Zyklon B, the gas used in concentration camps to kill millions of Jews. Ambros was one of the decision makers who agreed Zyklon B should be used in the concentration camps. He chose Auschwitz as the site of an I.G. Farben factory. Ambros was also hired by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps. While Ambros worked as a consultant, the chemical corps, using Auschwitz documents as a guide, conducted secret experiments at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland on 7,000 American soldiers as had been conducted by I.G. Farben in their labs during World War II. (read "Secret Agenda" by Linda Hunt for further interest)
*1951-1975 Dow operates Rocky Flats (northwest Denver, Colorado), a former nuclear weapons manufacturing plant that stores 14.2 tons of plutonium, known as one of the deadliest substances on earth. Plant makes plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs. During Dow's operation of the plant more than 200 fires happened, contaminating over 300 workers. Toxic barrels were left in hallways, loading docks and fields where they leaked into the soil and groundwater. Dow officials later acknowledged that they routinely released plutonium illegally. 50,000 Coloradans joined a 550 million dollar lawsuit against Dow. In 1990, 10,000 retired workers and 50,000 property owners sued Dow for health problems relating to Rocky Flats.
*1952 Massive brine spill at Midland, Michigan plant. 350,000 to 500,000 gallons spilled on 5 acres. Residents contradicted reports saying the spill was about 1 million gallons over 12 acres. Local residents began to see their cows lose hair and their tires erode. In 1983 Dow admits it doesn't know where the brine wastes were underground or in what direction it was moving.
*1954 Dow invents chlorothene (or TCE), a solvent, later found to be linked to cancer, and ozone depletion. In 2004, TCE found to be 60 times more toxic than previously claimed. Most TCE used today is made by Dow and PPG Industries.
*1958 Dow, along with Shell, develops DBCP (dibromochloropropane) as a pesticide. Shell's brand was Nemagon, while Dow's was Fumazone. Reports from 1958, which were only circulated within the company, revealed DBCP to be absorbed through the skin and highly toxic when inhaled. Dow began producing and marketing the pesticide in 1957 and did not pull it off the market.
*1960s produces napalm (chemical explosive made from benzene, petrol and polystyrene) and Agent Orange (toxic defoliant linked to cancer and birth defects) for the American government to use during the Vietnam War. Main ingredients of Agent Orange were 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, two herbicides used in agriculture. The Army Chemical Corps received its data from V.K. Rowe, Dow's toxicologist, claiming the product was safe. Agent Orange exposure was later linked to cancers: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's, soft tissue sarcoma and leukemia. Effects still seen today.
*1960 bought Allied Laboratories, one of North America's biggest manufacturers and distributors of health products.
*1963 Dow buys Ivon Watkins Ltd. a New Zeland agricultural products company. Some of the company land in New Zeland is used to bury thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals. The company then builds a residential subdivision over the buried toxic chemical barrels. One resident digs up a 40 gallon drum while gardening in his backyard. The New Plymouth, New Zeland site becomes the last place on earth still producing 2,4,5-T. From 1964 to 1971 the number of birth defects in the area doubles. As of 2000, there are no legal requirements for pesticide applicators to record how much or what types of pesticides they use. Sprayed areas (with Agent Orange) in Vietnam record 69 out of 100,000 babies born with no brains, a similar occurrence recorded in New Plymouth, New Zeland.
*1965 in a letter to a Dow manager in Canada, Dow's toxicologist V.K. Rowe, writing about contamination of 2,4,5-trichlorophenol and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin states, "the material is exceptionally toxic ... I am particularly concerned here with consumers who are using the material on a daily, repeated basis." Dow continues to produce the chemicals.
*1969 Dow discharges into the Tittabawassee River kills about 2,000 fish. Dow fined 500 dollars.
*1970 Ontario and Michigan governments sue Dow for mercury pollution. The mercury contamination occurred because of Dow's mercury cell method for making chlorine.
*1970 Ohio sues Dow for mercury pollution in Lake Erie.
*1971 and 1972 Dow’s operation at Freeport, Texas sends more than 4.5 million gallons of wastewater per day in the Brazos River.
*1971 Brazos River (second biggest river going into the Gulf of Mexico) claimed dead by local newspaper after authorities announced the river to be "devoid of biological life." Dow was dumping magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate into the river.
*1972 tests herbicide Dursban (which replaced DDT) on New York prisoners. In 1998 the company tested Dursban at lab in Nebraska which targeted University of Nebraska students to participate in the study. Dursban uses chloryrifos, a toxic chemical substance. DowElanco was fined 890,000 US dollars, a record fine at the time, for withholding the information and documents pertaining to Dursban's safety. It was a huge seller until the EPA forced it off the market at the end of 2004.
*1972 launched Lorsban (an insecticide) that turned out to have safety and toxicity issues.
*1972 Dow releases chlorine at its Stade, Germany facility. Dow fails to speak to the public about the hazards.
*1973 Dow first company to receive a phone call from the dictator Pinochet’s military after the his forces assassinated democratically elected president Allende. The dictator asks Dow to come back to Chile, it does.
*1973 authors Rosner and Markowitz use material recovered by lawyer Baggett to show that the industry knew that vinyl chloride monomer caused cancer in animals – even at low levels of exposure. Vinyl chloride was the basis of hair spray, Saran Wrap, car upholstery, shower curtains, floor coverings and hundreds of other consumer goods. Twenty companies including Dow, Monsanto, Union Carbide, Goodyear and others launched a campaign to discredit the authors of «Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution.» The companies hired their own historian, Philip Scranton to critique the book. The dispute centers on access to information about cancer causing chemicals in consumer products. Today vinyl chloride is used to make PVC plastic products.
*1974 the ACS (American Chemical Society) finds that chemical companies had purposely withheld information linking vinyl chloride (of which Dow is a major producer) with angiosarcoma (liver cancer), nervous conditions, skin problems and softening of the finger bones.
*1976 explosion at Dow's King Lynn plant in England kills one and causes extensive damage. Leaks chemical zoalene, used in chicken feed as an additive.
*1976 catfish from the Tittabawassee River found to contain more than 200 parts per trillion dioxin. Dow helps the city of Midland withhold evidence of the dioxin contamination where it owns a 1,900 chemical manufacturing plants. The EPA is still pursuing. For the next 35 years the company stalls dioxin clean up in Midland where dioxin contamination is among the highest in America.
*1977 a university group invites Jane Fonda to speak on the Central Michigan University campus, 30 miles from Dow Chemical headquarters. Fonda was raising funds for “Campaign for Economic Democracy.” She donated her $3,500 fee to the campaign. During her speech she proclaimed,“We have a body of rulers whose names you don’t know and whose faces you don’t recognize, but who control your life. The firms have learned to manipulate the tax laws, to get away from paying their fair share, and the middle class must pay the burden."
One of companies she was referring to was Dow Chemical. According to Dow's biographer, Brandt, Paul Oreffice, then president of Dow Chemical, wrote to Dr. Harold Abel, president of CMU, the following: “while inviting Ms. Fonda to your campus is your prerogative, I consider it our prerogative and obligation to make certain our funds are never again used to support people intent upon the destruction of freedom. Therefore, effective immediately, support of any kind from the Dow Chemical Company to Central Michigan University has been stopped, and will not be resumed until we are convinced our dollars are not expended in supporting those who would destroy us.”
*1977 workers handling DBCP (of which Dow was a major producer) had no sperm count. One doctor, after having seen the sperm tests of the workers, thought they had had vasectomies. Animal studies showed that DBCP is also a potent carcinogen, producing the earliest tumors ever seen in lab animals.
*1978 Dow tanker carrying anhydrous hydrochloric acid breaks in Jacksonville, Florida. Leaks toxic hydrogen chloride gas. 34,000 people sent to hospital, 2,000 residents evacuated.
*1979 explosion at Dow’s Pittsburgh facility kills two workers and injures 45 others.
*1979 Dow tankers coming from Sarnia, Ontario carrying chlorine, on their way to Toronto, attached to other train tankers carrying caustic soda, toluene and styrene. The train derails causing a massive explosion which leads to the evacuation of 250,000 Mississauga residents. If the derailment had happened near Toronto, it was estimated that 1,000s would have died. These trains still make the same route today.
*1970s dioxins are established as a human carcinogen. Because dioxins are passed on transgenerationally (passed from mother to fetus), it is estimated that all American children today are born with dioxin contamination. The American Environmental Protection Agency estimated that a trillionth of a gram of dioxin in a cubic foot of air could be expected to result in 9 additional cases of cancer in every 100,000 people. Researchers have been unable to find safe levels of dioxins. Dow is thought to be the world's largest root source of dioxins.
*1977 Dow scientists find evidence of chromosome damage in their workers after starting medical tracking programs of their workers. Discover that 52 workers exposed to benzene and epichlorohydrin, even at low levels, displayed chromosome breakage.
*1978 Midland plant charged with violating the Clean Air Act.
*1980 investigators find 25 workers at Dow’s Freeport, Texas facility with brain tumors, 24 of which are fatal. Freeport produces chlorine, caustic soda, ethylene, chlor-alki, latex and hydrocarbon spreading over 5,000 acres with 75 individual production plants.
*1980 EPA Midwest draft report stats that "Dow Chemical has been the primary contributor to contamination of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and Lake Huron." The EPA's deputy administrator John Hernandez, gives a copy of the draft to Dow and tells the EPA's Chicago office to take account of Dow's comments. The final draft includes no references to Dow at all.
*1980 U.S. Justice Department sues Dow for their involvement at two Petro Processors waste dumps. The sites were so contaminated, one Louisiana official stated "it could be worse than Love Canal (New York site contaminated with dioxins). Dow moves from dumping toxic chemicals to using incinerators, which were approved by government. Up to 60 million pounds of hazardous waste was burned, releasing toxic carcinogens into the atmosphere.
*1980 Dow's cholesterol drug Lorelco found to cause fatal heart abnormalities.
*1980s PVC plastic, a life cycle polluter (toxic from beginning to end), consumes 40% of world's chlorine gas to be produced. Dow is the major manufacturer of ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride (known carcinogen), which are needed to make PVC plastics. These chemicals also generate a host of toxic chemicals when making PVC like dioxins, PCBs and furans. Dow knew about the toxicity of vinyl chloride and PVCs problems since the 1950s. A PVC plastic product of Dow's is Saran Wrap, which when burned, forms dioxins. Vinyl chloride linked to angiosarcoma, a rare liver cancer.
*1980s Dow found to have over twenty thousand secret life insurance on their workers, where they would collect death benefits when workers died. The practice is legal in most states.
*1980 On a row of eight houses, there are 5 cancer cases, including the death of a 9 year old girl to cancer. Half a mile away was a Dow site used to dump ethylbenzene tar wastes. Four of the residents with cancer had lived near the site for over 30 years.
*1981, a Philadelphia Inquirer story reveals that Dow paid a University of Pennsylvania dermatologist to test dioxin on prisoners at Holmerburg Prison in Philadelphia in 1964.
*1981 explosion at Dow's Freeport, Texas plant kills 5 workers, injures 7.
*1983 jury convicts Dow of failure to warn about toxicity of DBCP pesticide.
*1984 Michigan DNR finds 14 major spills from Dow's Midland facility pipelines and wells. Company charged with violating Mineral Well Act. DNR documents 68 brine spills, many that contaminated drinking water.
*1985 Dow begins ad campaign "Dow Does Great Things." Dow spent 40 million dollars for four years of ads.
*1985 Dow's Sarnia plant spills about 8,000 gallons of "perc" (toxic chemical used by dry cleaners) in the St. Clair river. Dow sucks up the "toxic blobs" from the spill, to incinerate. Protests from local residents in sue. Dow's incinerator had not been tested for dioxin or furan emissions.
*1986 Midland, Michigan Dow leak of 20,000 gallons of brine. As of 1993, Dow was still working on the "clean up."
*1986 Canadian survey finds 48% of the public felt the risks of the chemical industry outweighed the benefits.
*1986 explosion of ethylene glycol and oxygen happens at Dow's Midland, Michigan labs. 250 people evacuated.
*1986 Dow's Sarnia incinerator found to be burning 28 tonnes of toxic chemicals a day. The Canadian government approved the incinerator in 1972, without checking on dioxin emissions.
*1986 Dow's Sarnia plant leaked 13,000 pounds of chlorinated vapors, 7,700 pounds of which were vinyl chloride, into the atmosphere. It was Dow Sarnia's 6th toxic leak in 9 months.
*1986 farmers exposed to 2,4-D at least 20 days a year found to have six times the normal rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Farmers who personally mixed batches of the herbicide had rates of non-Hodgkin's cancer that were 8 times greater, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. The National Cancer Institute estimated that non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among farmers had been increasing 75% in past 20 years. The primary makers of the herbicide - Dow, BASF, New Farm Inc. and Agro-Gor release a statement saying " as long as instructions are followed, 2,4-D poses no unreasonable risk." A Dow representative states that 2,4-D had undergone 270 industry toxicity studies and showed the herbicide as safe. Problem was, Dow's studies were similar to Monsanto's studies of its herbicie Round Up. Both companies only tested one ingredient in the herbicide and failed to study the product as a whole. 2,4-D, for example is sold on the market in about 1,500 different formulations. An EPA statistician linked a number of cancers to the herbicide including - throat, pancreas, larynx, prostate, kidney, stomach, esophagus, brain and rectum cancers.
*1987 Dow found negligent of testing, making, selling and distribution of Bendectin (morning sickness drug) by a jury.
*1987 Greenpeace releases a report that lists consumer products contaminated with dioxins. The list includes - diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, toilet paper, office copy paper, coffee filters, paper plates. Dow thought to be the world's leading root source of dioxins.
*1986 Health department in New Jersey complains that chlorpyrifos had not been tested for its ability to cause cancer. Dow was a major manufacturer of chlorpyrifos based products like Dursban, Lorsban, Raid and about 800 other products. In 1991, the EPA, through the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, responsible for assessing pesticide safety, the EPA began to examine product chemistry, toxicology, environmental fate and ecological effects and health effects. In 1995 DowElanco charged for failing to report 288 claims of "adverse effects" of Dursban and other pesticides by the EPA. Fined a record 890,000 US dollars for withholding evidence.
*1989 forms DowElanco with Eli Lilly. DowElanco became one of the largest pesticide makers. Eli Lilly is the maker of cancer treatments Gemzar and Alimta used for ovarian, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
*1989 the National Academy of Sciences estimates that homeowners using ten times more chemicals per acre on their lawns than farmers.
*1989 first Toxic Release Inventory done on industrial pollution. Finds levels "starling and unacceptably high." The industry was releasing 22.5 billion pounds of 329 different toxic chemicals. The chemical industry was responsible for 55% of toxic releases. Dow hires a New York consulting firm about dropping the word "chemical" from their brand name. Dow Chemical stayed as is.
*1989 EPA fines Dow 1.1 million dollars for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. Dow had manufactured and sold polycarbonate without the EPA's authorization. Dow said their mistake was due to a "clerical error."
*1989 train carrying five Dow tankers derails near Freeland, Michigan. 3,000 people evacuated. 36 people treated at hospitals. Chlorosilane and acrylic acid burn and are released. Dow promises to clean up the area. One year later the area still had acrylic in the ground at levels 60,000 times over the "safe level". A study by the Federal Railroad Administration finds that 13% of train tankers in Michigan leak.
*1990 explosion at Dow's Russellvill, Arkansas plant. 100 workers evacuated.
*1990 accident at Dow's Freeport, Texas facility leads to evacuation of 1,900 school children. No one injured.
*1990s Two DowElanco pesticides (haloxyfop and nuarimol sold as Galant, Gallant, Verdict, Dowco 453 ME) fail to meet U.S. registration standards for health reasons. The pesticides are marketed and sold abroad instead and used on crop and animal feed (for example haloxyfop herbicides were used on Australian soy, chickpeas, rapeseed, lupines, fed to cattle; Argentine soy used to feed cattle, French, Italian, Spanish grapevines, palm oil plants in Indonesia.) These pesticides were later found in imported foods, meats and drinks sold in America.
*1990s Dow leading contributor to political campaigns of the chemical industry.
*1990s regularly sued or fined by federal and state agencies for non compliance.
*1990s spends tens of millions on public relations to show its concern of the environment. "Green initiatives" are announced over and over again.
*1990 opposes Oregon's Measure #6 (a by law that would have required that 60% of plastic resins used in packaging be from recyclers, not new plastic). With other plastic producers Dow formed "Oregon Committee for Recycling" that helped confuse voters. The law did not pass. Dow is one of the largest producers of polyethylene resin and polystrene used in packaging. Researchers have found more plastic than plankton in the North Pacific Ocean.
*1990 Dow's La Porte, Texas plant leaks phosgene (an extremely toxic chemical made from chlorine and used as a chemical weapon during WWI. It is used in making pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, plastic additives and artificial sweeteners).
*1991 estimates that 121,800 tons of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals dumped in the area of Plaquemine, Louisiana. A huge mass of toxic sludge - 275 million pounds - drifting to aquifers that were used as drinking water. Dow officials informed the local newspaper that the clean up could last forever.
*1992 explosion at Dow's Midland, Michigan plant injures worker, causes major damage.
*1992 phosgene leak at La Port, Texas plant.
*1993 explosion at Midland, Michigan's waste incinerator. Leak of nitroglycerin waste. Dow fined 68,000 dollars by the Michigan DNR.
*1993 Aptus incinerator of Coffeyville, Kansas becomes first incinerator in the U.S. to burn dioxins. Dow was Aptus largest customer, since it failed to obtain approval to burn its dioxin in Michigan.
*1993 becomes a member of Global Climate Coalition, industry group that lobbied against U.S. endorsement of the U.N. Global Warming Convention to reduce greenhouse gases.
*1993 explosion at Dow's Stade, Germany chlorine plant kills one worker and injures another.
*1994 hires PR firm Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin to gather intelligence on environmental and public health organizations involved in the chlorine issue. The PR firm's main objective was "to mobilize science against the precautionary principle....and take steps to discredit the precautionary principle."
*1994 train containing Dow's tankers full of epichlorohydrin derails at Lausanne, Switzerland. Spill reaches nearby canal system, 1,200 residents evacuated.
*1995 Greenpeace releases the "Dow Brand Dioxin" report. Finds Dow to be "likely the world's root source of dioxin." Also finds Dow to be "the world's largest producer of chlorine, world's largest producer of chlorinated pesticides with at least 27 pesticides known or suspected of dioxin contamination, largest producer of chemical feedstocks to make PVC plastics (who's life cycle is associated with more dioxin formation than any other product), and leading U.S. producer of chlorinated solvents."
*1995 release of 7,700 pounds of vinyl chloride, 4,420 pounds of hydrogen chloride, 70 pounds of benzene, 10,930 pounds of ethylene bichloride. Residents notified, streets closed.
*1995 Dow fined by Nevada jury, stating that Dow Chemical had a duty to ensure the safety of silicone breast implants made by Dow Corning. Dow Chemical had been a partner and founder of Dow Corning, the maker of silicone breast implants. The company also tested silicone compounds for possible use as riot-control gas.
*1997 Dow sued by San Francisco BayKeeper for unlawfully discharging chlorinated solvents into groundwater and the San Francisco Bay.
*1997 Louisiana court finds Dow negligent in testing silicone breast implants, for lying about the possible risks and conspiring with Dow Corning.
*1997 Dow's Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta facility has a chlorine spill. 38 workers treated for chlorine inhalation. The facility covers 2,100 acres, the largest petrol chemical facility in Canada making chlor-alkali, ethylene, polyethylene, ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol and PVC chemicals. The plant is Dow's largest producer of chlorine and PVC chemicals. In 2001, the plant was Canada's number 1 source of dioxins and furans. Most product made at the plant are transported to Vancouver, BC to be shipped to Asia.
*1997 phogene leak at Dow's Freeport, Texas facility. Two workers taken to hospital.
*1997 styrene leak from train tanker. Residents told to stay indoors.
*1998 explosion at Dow's Freeport, Texas plant. Two workers injured, OSHA fines Dow for safety violations for 10,000 dollars.
*1999 bought Union Carbide, who's Bhopal pesticide making facility exploded in 1984 killing over 5,000 citizens and adversely affecting more than 500,000.
*1999 Dupont-Dow plant of Beaumont, Texas ranked as one of worst emitters of volatile organic compounds.
*2000 Dupont-Dow Elastomers plant in LaPlace, Louisiana ranked one of worst and dirtiest facilities in the U.S. emitting about 540,000 pounds of recognized carcinogens.
*2000 EPA asks Dow to submit "worst case scenario" charts for it's facilities (if systems fail and chemicals are leaked). For 49 U.S. Dow plant locations it is estimated that about 10 million people are at risk.
*2001 Ivon Watkins-Dow executive reveals that because Agent Orange (helped supply Agent Orange to American army in Vietnam) did not meet international standards it was shipped secretly to South America or Mexico then shipped to its final destination. The defoliant was shipped unmixed, it's two main ingredients shipped separately.
*2001 Dupont-Dow LaPlace and Rubbertown plants emit 99.9% or 913,000 pounds of chloroprene in the U.S.
*2001 Dow's Freeport, Texas plant releases 708 grams of dioxins into local waterways.The EPA stated that Dow discharged 15 times the legal limit of 1,2-dichloroethane (probably carcinogen) into the Brazos River. Dow continued to violate pollution laws in 8 out of 8 quarters from April 2001 to March 2003. Dow was not fined for these incidents.
*2001 produces 177 high volume chemicals, 35 which are unique to Dow. Dow lobbied against Europe's REACH program. Dow pushed for the resolution on mandatory testing of all chemicals to be reduced to only chemicals that come in direct contact with humans, even though indirect chemicals still find their way into humans through the environment of food contamination.
*2001 Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission fines Dow 430,000 dollars for 29 unexplained emissions, unauthorized emissions and benzene emissions. Dow received 22 enforcement orders from 1986 to 2001.
*2001 Named in a lawsuit by 5,000 Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Pranama banana plantation workers for actively suppressing information about DBCP’s reproductive toxicity, a pesticide used in banana plantation.
*2001 Dow's Hampshire Chemical Co subsidiary in Deer Park, Texas (near Houston) leaks hydrogen cyanide. Workers were confined to their buildings and the poisonous gas was detected at the plant's edge.
*2001 Dow's American and Canadian facilities (Texas, Sarnia, Michigan, Louisiana, Fort Saskatchewan) records 1,337 toxic chemical leaks, spills and breaks.
*2002 Dow lobbied against important provisions of the Chemical Security Act (a response to possible terrorist threats to chemical plants after 9/11), which would have required safer methods to minimize and eliminate hazardous risks at chemical plants.
*2002 Dow's Port Marghera plant close to Venice, Italy catches fire. The plant makes polyurethane. 500,000 residents were asked to stay indoors. It was not known what chemicals were leaked.
*2002 2,000 residents of Myrtle Grove sue Dow for drinking water contamination. A Dow supervisor even admitted that workers dumped thousands of gallons of vinyl chloride, a toxic carcinogen, onto the ground at Dow's plant in Plaquemine. It had been standard practice for decades. Dow responded by stating, "to date, Dow, has found no evidence that it has violated federal or state regulations with regard to this matter."
*2002 explosion at Dow's St. Charles, Louisiana plant. Naphtha leaked (chemical liquid used to produce ethylene to make plastics). Dow stated that no chemicals were leaked during the explosion. No injuries were reported.
*2003 about 93% of Dow shareholders (over 580,000) voted to oppose reports on toxic chemicals. This would have allowed shareholders a right to know what type of toxic chemicals the company was working with.
*2003 Dow's Midland, Michigan plant reports release of toxic chemicals. A chemical cloud leaves plant area. The chemicals had been in reaction for 10 days without adequate monitoring. Dow received an Order of Violation from the Department of Environment.
*2003 Dow's Kanawha County, West Virginia plant reports a ethylene diamine leak. Roads are closed. Workers asked to stay indoors.
*2003 Dow Agroscience fined 2 million dollars for false advertising. The company had claimed that Dursban did not endanger human health and had no long term health effects.
*2003 works with Avidex Ltd. on a new treatment for lung and bladder cancer.
*2003 Grassroots Recycling Program charges that "Dow's toxic herbicide threatens taxpayer investments" in municipal composting programs.
*2003 Dowpharma helps drug companies develop diagnosis and treatment methods for cancer patients through their ChelaMed radiopharmaceutical services.
*2004 a report by Democrat congressman Henry Waxman reveals parts of the strategies used by American chemical producers such as Dupont and Dow Chemical to block the REACH proposals (European legislation making testing of chemicals before they come onto the consumer market the standard).
The EPA, the State Department, the Commerce Department and the US Trade Representative were fully involved in the lobbying efforts. The secretary of State at the time, Colin Powell, sent messages to 36 U.S. diplomatic posts outside of the E.U. to complain about REACH.
The main message was to make sure that REACH was portrayed as a "costly, burdensome and complex regulatory system."Greg Lebedev, head of the American Chemistry Council (of which Dow is a member, and its CEO Andrew Liveris was past president) stated about REACH "we arranged for multiple elements of our government - the Department of Commerce, the US Trade Representative, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of State - all to express the understandable reservations about this proposed rule and its trans-Atlantic implications. I only wish that we could exert so much influence every day."
*2005 Dowpharma and Cytogen collaborate to create a targeted oncology product designed to treat prostate and other cancers.
*2006 Death of a Dow employee linked to pulmonary toxicity after being exposed to chlorine gas on the job at the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport. The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office turned over the results to a local justice of the peace, about 10 months after the death of Gerald Hamilton. Hamilton was clearing a pipeline at the plant in November 2006 when less than a third of a gallon of chlorine was released into the air.
*2006 Dowpharma and VGX agree to develop cancer compound to target non-hodgkin's lymphoma. According to market studies drugs treating all stages of non-Hodgkins lymphoma could grow to(St. Louis, MO), a biotechnology company, form a licensing agreement to allow both companies access to patent portfolios for the development and commercialization of targeted imaging agents to facilitate more accurate diagnosis of cancer.
*2007 spends 25 million dollars renovating the H Hotel in Midland which is to be used by the H. H. Dow Learning Academy for Company Leaders.
*2008 Dow challenges Quebec government's ban on herbicide 2,4-D after studies link it to cancer. Dow is using NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement that makes no environmental or health protection provisions) to stop the ban.
*2008 senate investigators demand EPA administrator Stephen Johnson explain why Chicago region chief Mary Gade was forced out of her job after she insisted Dow Chemical clean up their dioxin contamination in Midland, Michigan.
*2008 Washington Governor Chris Gregoire picks former Dow Chemical scientist to track the state's pesticide exposure.
Want to know more?"Trespass Against Us: Dow Chemical & the Toxic Century" by Jack Doyle.
"Pandora's Poison" by Joe Thornton.
"Deceit and Denial" by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner.
PUBLIC RELATIONS/LOBBYING: (this is just a small glimpse)
*Dow Chemical engages in “viral marketing” (which is not illegal). Someone at Dow Chemical changed the company’s entry in the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, eliminating negative passages about environmental disasters involving the company. The modifications were uncovered by Virgil Griffith, a CIT grad student who created a scanner search tool that traces the comments and edits on Wikipedia back to their source IP address.
*Another example type of viral marketing occurred with the help of Denis T. Avery, Director of the Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, a rich and powerful US free-market, pro-globalization think tank funded, amongst others, by chemical companies, agribusiness and biotech companies.
The think tank helped initiate a spate of "organic scare" stories. Among them, "The Hidden Dangers in Organic Food" that Avery published in American Outlook, a quarterly Hudson Institute publication. The article claimed that "data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control, people who eat organic and 'natural' foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E coli bacteria."
Problem was, the US Centers for Disease Control denied ever having done the studies.But......the story was carried by the Hudson Institute's British counterpart the "European Science and Environment Forum", and the "Institute of Economic Affairs," and was broadcast on the BBC' show 'Counterblast' and the Wall Street Journal.
*1991 Dow Chemical contributes to ten front groups including the Alliance to Keep Americans Working, the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy, the American Council on Science and Health, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Council for Solid Waste Solutions.
The executive director of the American Council on Science and Health, for example, was portrayed in the mass media as an independent scientist. She went on to defend petrochemical companies, the nutritional values of fast foods, and the safety of saccharin, pesticides and growth hormones for dairy cows. She claims that the US government spends far too much on unproven health risks such as dioxin and pesticides because of the public’s "unfounded fears of man-made chemicals and their perception of these chemicals as carcinogens".
The American Council on Science and Health allows industry-funded experts to pose as independent scientists to promote corporate causes. Chemical industry front groups, with scientific sounding names, publish pamphlets that are ’peer reviewed’ by other industry scientists rather than in papers in established academic journals.
*Although one of the worst polluters of fresh water and responsible for several toxic sites, Dow launches the "Blue Planet Run" to promote clean drinking water. Continues to ignore its worldwide contamination.
*1999 Lancet, the world's most prestigious medical journal, publishes its latest dioxin findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Reports that Dr. Robert N. Hoovers, based on the current weight of the evidence of TCDD (the most potent dioxin), the chemical should be considered a human carcinogen.
Dr. Michael Kamrin, a professor from Michigan State University, is quoted as saying, "these data don't suggest to me that there is any health risk from dioxin (TCDD). I didn't think so before, and I don't think so now."
In 2003, Dr. Karim authored a paper titled "Traces of environmental Chemicals in the Human Body: Are They a Risk to Health?" The report was reviewed by Daland R. Juberg, of Dow Agrosciences, helping to pass the paper off as having been "peer-reviewed." The report concluded that current levels of environmental chemicals in the general population are well below those considered to be associated with adverse effects and thus do not pose a threat to public health.
Dr. Karim served on Governor Englers Michigan Environmental Science Board in 1999-2000 where he voted against raising Michigan's standards for protecting children's environmental health. He sits on the board of the Scientific and Policy Advisors for the American Council (ACSH - an industry-funded think tank, for which Dow was a strong donor).Dr. Karim is an Emeritus Professor at Michigan State University's Institute of Environmental Toxicology. According to a recent IET newsletter (2002), IET-affiliated faculty will provide scientific expertise to Dow on advisory committees as additional study projects are proposed.
In 2000, Michigan State University had received $4 million from Dow Chemical.*2000 Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Novartis, Zeneca, BASF and Aventis launch the "Council for Biotechnology Information." The Council will spend up to $250 million over 3-5 years to win public approval for genetically engineered foods under the slogan "Good Ideas Are Growing."
*2002 Dow creates brochures aimed at elementary school children titled "Chemistry: The Enabling Science."
*2003 Dow and their PR firm Burson-Marsteller (who helped PR the Bhopal chemical explosion and Dow's silicone breast lawsuits), try and shut down parody site by the Yes Men. The site is later moved to this location: http://www.dowethics.com/index.html.
*2006 launches multi-million dollar "branding and corporate reputation" (GolinHarris web site) campaign with "The Human Element" to "showcase "pressing economic, social and environmental concerns." (Dow Chemical web site). The campaign did nothing to clean up Dow's worldwide contamination, but according to GolinHarris's web site it resulted in
"90% of employees agree that a strong reputation is beneficial to achieving the company‘s goals. Seventy-nine percent of Dow’s 46,000 employees around the world are aware of the campaign and 69% feel very informed about it. Support of the reputation campaign may be best expressed by one of Dow’s employees who said: “It makes me proud to be an employee of Dow. It inspires me.”This "employee" obviously has not checked out the company highlights section of this web site.
*2006 Dow Chemical donates 2 million dollars to Penn State's chemical engineering department. It will help fund new research programs. Larry Duda, a Penn State professor began his career with Dow and continues to work for the company as a consultant.
*2007 Dow and BASF (German chemical company) donate money and property to universities. BASF to Columbia's School of Engineering & Applied Science to fund studies in "environmentally benign technologies using heterogeneous catalysts. And Dow's subsidiary Union Carbide donates property to West Virginia University for research campus focused on energy and chemical technology.
*Dow is a member of the "Global Climate Coalition," an association of 50 US trade associations and private companies representing oil, gas, coal, automobile and chemical interests. The group spent millions of dollars in its campaign to persuade the public and governments that global warming is not a real threat. Its tactics have included the distribution of a video to hundreds of journalists which claims that increased levels of carbon dioxide will increase crop production and help to feed the hungry people of the world.