Dow Chemical – Report on Certain Toxic Chemicals From Dow Chemical Products Widely Detected in Humans (2004 – 2005)
· The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently reported on the testing of 9,282 people nationwide. The study found that 93% of the US population has levels of chlorpyrifos metabolites in their bodies. The average tested child aged 6-11 was found to have exposure to the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos at four times the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable for long term exposure. One market analysis concluded that Dow Chemical was likely to have contributed at least 80% of the chlorpyrifos exposure in the U.S. Although all residential uses of chlorpyrifos were phased out beginning in 2000, agricultural and industrial uses are still allowed.
In the opinion of the proponents, such test results will aid the correlation of exposure to disease, and increase the likelihood of liability suits against chemical producers, including our company.
· Dow’s Midland, Michigan facility releases dioxin to air, land and water. The surrounding city and floodplain are contaminated with dioxin. Levels detected downriver are up to 80 times the state’s residential cleanup standard, and blood testing has detected dioxin levels above average in some residents. State advisories warn residents to limit exposure to contaminated soil and consumption of fish and wild game. A class action lawsuit representing up to 2000 residents asserts property damages and seeks medical monitoring.
· The herbicide Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxin, exposing soldiers and residents in Vietnam. US and Vietnamese veterans and their families are suing Dow for compensation. A 2003 Supreme Court decision may allow thousands of new US veterans’ suits to proceed.
· Emerging public policies may alter markets for certain Dow product lines. The European Union proposes requiring manufacturers that sell chemicals to provide data on hazards and uses, and to require approval of certain “very high concern” chemicals, including persistent and bioaccumulative toxins (PBT), carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins. The Stockholm Treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement both encourage elimination of PBT products and precursors.
In the proponents’ opinion, management’s disclosures obscure rather than clarify important policy issues confronting Dow because they fail to:
• Analyze implications for the company of the human blood testing trend, including the CDC tests showing pervasive exposures to chlorpyrifos;
• Describe how public policies may restrict markets for each category of Dow product lines, including under the Stockholm POPs treaty, emerging state programs, and the proposed European REACH program;
• List Dow products anticipated under the proposed European “REACH” program to require specific authorization or be restricted; and,
• Provide a plan and timeline for phase-out of each product involving a
PBT chemical or byproduct, or an explanation of why alternatives cannot be substituted, explaining how the company will respond to rising regulatory and market pressures to eliminate these substances.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board publish by October 2005, at
reasonable cost and excluding proprietary information, a report filling the
gaps in transparency discussed above.