Friday, March 12, 2010


The audacity of the Dow Chemical Company is quite amazing.  Here is a company responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Bhopal, and the contamination of water sources around the world and what do they decide to do?

They're going to sponsor a series of events to "help solve the water crisis" all over the world.

On Dec. 3, 1984, a tank storing methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic chemical, exploded at a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide and Dow Chemical.

Shana Ortman, the U.S. coordinator of the Bhopal campaign recently told students at the University of Texas, "It's still today the world's worst unnatural disaster," Ortman said. "In the years since, the disaster has awakened the public and a movement has started and is fighting for justice. In the years since, 25,000 people have died [due to unclean water], and 120,000 people are chronically ill."

The people in Bhopal are aware that the water is poisonous, but they have no other alternative, Ortman said.

"There has been a higher rate of birth defects — boys tend to be smaller than normal, and girls tend to have menstrual problems," she said. "There has been a lot of mental illness that has not been addressed at all by the [Indian] government or either [Dow Chemical or Union Carbide]."

Despite "massive organizing" in India and support from organizations like the ICJB, the area's water remains contaminated and none of the responsible parties have attempted to clean the toxic water or chemical plant, she said.

But Dow says, what the hey, what do we care...get over it already...

I don't think so!

The following is from an email I received from  the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

Don’t let Dow Chemical Hijack Live Earth!

                 EARTH dies.
Read between the lines.
   This April 18, Live Earth, a series of events “to help solve the water crisis,” will be held in locations all over the worldIt is the ultimate irony that these events’ main sponsor is Dow Chemical, a corporate criminal responsible for the continued contamination of drinking water for 30,000 people in Bhopal, India and for causing severe water crises by poisoning the sources of water for people all over the world…

  • In Bhopal, India roughly 30,000 people are still drinking water contaminated with heavy metals and organochlorines, resulting in an epidemic of health problems and birth defects while Dow refuses to take responsibility.
  • In the North America, Dow is responsible for dangerous dioxin contamination around its global headquarters in Midland, Michigan, vinyl chloride contamination in Louisiana, dioxin & furan contamination in Western Canada.
  • Dow toxins are poisoning people and ecosystems in Vietnam, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil, and Central America.
Where else has Dow poisoned with its toxic waste?  

 Join us to expose Live Earth as Dow’s greenwashing front!  Stand in solidarity with the people of Bhopal against this corporate propaganda!  Here’s how you can get involved…
Live Earth will consist of 6 km runs/walks (the average distance many women and children walk every day to secure water), concerts, and water education activities around the world.  We want to expose Dow’s lies by spreading the word about Dow’s crimes in Bhopal and beyond to those participating in Live Earth events, and we need your help!
Find a LiveEarth event near you at

1) Sign the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal’s (ICJB) petition against Dow’s sponsorship of Live Earth. 
2) Use our stencils to make t-shirts, signs, banners, tags, headbands, etc.  Attend a Live Earth event near you wearing a Bhopal t-shirt an anti-Dow t-shirt under another t-shirt. When the run starts, take off your first layer and make your statement. 
3) Hand out fliers about water contamination in Bhopal and Dow’s history of environmental violence.
4) Document your actions!  Send your pictures and videos to ICJB at to share with the international community of Bhopal supporters.
5) Truly help solve the water crisis by donating to ICJB, a grassroots organization composed of survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster and environmentalists worldwide working to ameliorate the crisis in Bhopal and prevent future industrial contamination.
6) Act on your own ideas on scuttling Dow’s greenwashing attempts through LiveEarth. Send us your ideas too, at or on Facebook!/group.php?gid=348498538304&ref=ts 
Access all these tools and more at !

Shana Blustein Ortman
US Coordinator, International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
49 Powell Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94102

415-746-0306 - cell
415-981-6205 ext. 355 - office
skype: sbortman 

Please note my new hours - 10am-3:30pm Mon-Thurs

Please Donate to the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal -


Anonymous said...

"exploded at a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide and Dow Chemical"

This is patent nonsense. Dow Chemical had absolutely no stake in the Bhopal plant, it was 100% owned by Union Carbide. Dow *did* buy Union Carbide 16 years after this incident, but they were in no way involved with the disaster at Bhopal. Truth in your facts should be a prerequisite for fist-shaking rage.

Oread Daily said...

Oh well, Dow is just partially responsible for the continued lack of clean up of the contaminated water. From Amnesty International, "Efforts by survivors' organizations to use the US and Indian court systems to see justice done and gain adequate redress have so far been unsuccessful. The transnational corporations involved – UCC and Dow Chemicals (which took over UCC in 2001) – have publicly stated that they have no responsibility for the leak and its consequences or for the pollution from the plant. UCC continues to refuse to appear before the court in Bhopal to face trial and the Indian Supreme Court-endorsed final settlement has left survivors living in penury."

In June 2009, according to the Michigan Messenger, "... 27 members of the U.S. Congress, including U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked Dow to clean up soil and groundwater contamination around its Bhopal plant and address the needs of people affected by the pollution."

According to the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, 120,000-150,000 people are chronically ill as a result of the accident and ongoing contamination."

On the other hand, I didn't mention Dow's complicity in Agent Orange.

However, I won't argue with your critique. I did write, "On Dec. 3, 1984, a tank storing methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic chemical, exploded at a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide and Dow Chemical." That was incorrect.

Truth is I thought I did check, because I didn't remember Dow being involved. I guess I misread something or just didn't check close enough.

So yes, Dow had nothing to do with the initial problem at Bhopal.