Dow's Toxic History

SUBHEAD: Dow AgroScience brings horrific environmental record to Kauai's West Side fields.

By Linda Pascatore on 30 June 2010 for Island Breath -

Image above: Photograph titled "Better Living Through Chemistry" by Vincent. From (  

Dow Agro Science has come to Kauai's west side to grow seed corn on Gay and Robinson's former cane fields. Dow AgroScience produces genetically modified corn, and the parent company makes chemicals and pesticides. Dow has a terrible environmental record. The following links are reprinted from The Truth about Dow ( and documents some of the worst incidents in the company's history:
Issues and Campaigns 

Bhopal, India
The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy marked the world’s worst industrial disaster and was caused by Union Carbide. After acquiring Union Carbide and twenty years later, Dow still has not provided the means for Bhopalis to recuperate their lands, health or economic status. Environmental contamination still plagues the area causing waterborne and air illnesses that will affect the generations to come.

Agent Orange and Vietnam
Dow’s chemicals greatly affected both the Vietnamese vegetation and health of the population when the U.S. deployed its Agent Orange throughout South Vietnam. Full of dioxin, miscarriages, stillbirths and birth defects plague the Vietnamese people exposed to the toxins in Agent Orange.

DBCP, Nemagon and Central America
Laboring long hours in the field, banana workers from Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines faced chronic exposure to the toxic pesticide dibromochloropropane (DBCP) pioneered by Dow Chemical in the 1950s. Although banned in the U.S., it continued to be exported to many countries causing banana workers to become sterilized, develop cancer or skin diseases and children being born with severe birth defects.

Genetically Modified Foods
Dow AgroSciences manufactures genetically engineered corn and cotton and promotes use of its technologies that alter crops, insects and seed production and use. Little concern is given for the human and environmental hazards and the negative socioeconomic impacts produced by GE crops. Higher cancer rates, allergens, dependence on herbicides and antibiotic resistance are all stemming from the production of chemically altered foods.

Chemical Security and Environmental Justice
Dow is a major shipper and receiver of chlorine and other ultra hazardous cargoes (especially “TIH”, poison gases Toxic by Inhalation). These toxic substances ride hundreds of miles before they reach their destination, passing through cities and in close proximity to residents. One railcar can produce a deadly cloud 15 miles long by 4 miles wide, killing 100,000 in ½ hour. If not in careful watch, these toxic gases and poisons can be released and contaminate our environment leading to health risks and fatalities.

Bisphenol A
Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA, is a chemical product manufactured by Dow. It is commonly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Exposure can lead to harmful health effects, including endocrine disruption, prostate cancer, altered brain development and behavior, and insulin resistance.

Shareholder Activism

Shareholders of Dow Chemical have been misled by managerial statements concerning the company’s potential environmental and personal injury liabilities. Inadequacies that are highly relevant to the financial interests of investors have been hidden for many years. Misleading statements include those regarding the 1984 Bhopal explosion, dioxin contamination in Midland, Michigan, and key omissions in company SEC filings regarding potential liabilities related to the company’s manufacture of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange.

Dow Chemical and its subsidiaries have produced some of the world’s most notorious pesticides, chemicals that have significant environmental health implications for communities worldwide. A number of these pesticides have been shown to cause serious harm; however, Dow continues to produce and market hazardous pesticides in the US and abroad.

Dow’s global headquarters is located in Midland, Michigan, where it has been producing toxic chemicals since 1897. Higher levels of pollution and dioxins are found in the areas located in Midland and along the Tittabawassee River, affecting the health and lives of the residents nearby.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Message from DOW GMO 6/29/10


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