Dow Chemical has now merged with DuPont, to create DowDuPont Inc, the world’s largest chemical company.
This is despite concerns being raised over apparent attempts, by both companies, to conceal vast liabilities connected with their respective contamination legacies.
After announcing the merger, both companies withheld critical information from shareholders regarding Bhopal liabilities pending against Dow subsidiary Union Carbide.
DowDuPont and Dow’s Bhopal Legacy
Just as Dow Chemical’s $9 billion purchase of Union Carbide made it responsible for Bhopal, so the merger of Dow and DuPont places the new DowDupont directly in the centre of the single most iconic corporate social responsibility issue of the 20th century.
For over three decades, Bhopal’s survivors – some of the poorest people on earth – have struggled against all odds to make one of the world’s richest corporations provide proper healthcare, a clean environment and adequate recompense for their unending pain.
The legacy of Bhopal has continued to have a material impact upon Dow Chemical’s reputation and business. Dow is named in civil, environmental and criminal actions in India. In one case, Dow faces claims totalling $8.1 billion. In another, Dow’s Corporate Secretary is summoned to manslaughter proceedings (but doesn’t show up). Dow & DuPont have chosen to share none of this with shareholders and investors, yet soon DowDuPont will be party to these same actions.
DowDuPont and DuPont’s Contamination Legacy
In the case of DuPont, C8 (or PFOA), a toxin used in the manufacture of Teflon remains a major issue despite DuPont recently making a $670.7 million offer to settle C8 lawsuits connected with contamination emanating from its Washington Works plant in Wood County, Ohio. This settlement, if agreed, would include three cases previously tried in a federal court which each received awards running in to the millions of dollars. This makes the $670m proposed settlement look an extremely paltry amount given the 3,500 cases in the class action seeking damages.
Elsewhere, there are known to be serious issues with C-8 contamination around the US, as well as in the Netherlands, Korea, Australia and other countries. In fact, C8 contaminates every continent and country on the globe, and has been detected in the Pacific Ocean and other bodies of water, where the largest concentrations are in the top surface levels.
Worse still, recently emerging stories suggest that, once DuPont finished using C-8, it moved on to another toxic chemical, known as GenX, and continued dumping it in rivers: CLICK Little data exists on the health effects of GenX, but scientists who have reviewed the few studies available say it may pose many of the same risks as C8: CLICK
After the Dow Dupont merger, the new company will be split into three and there is real concern as to where the Bhopal and C8 liabilities will lie. In so far as Dow and Bhopal is concerned, Dow has contrived to maintain a corporate veil between itself and Union Carbide and there has been no statement as to what form Union Carbide may take, nor where it may sit among the three new entities post-merger. This would only suggest further complication before Union Carbide is finally held to account for its actions.
Letter to EU Outlining Concerns Over Concealed Liabilities: CLICK