Source: Civil Eats – Anna Lappé
Community members in another Midland—Midland, Texas—filed suit earlier this year against Dow and three other companies for contaminating groundwater there with hexavalent chromium. Barred from use in the European Union because of its toxicity, hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen. The EPA’s own hazard report notes that exposure, including through contaminated drinking water, “may produce effects on the liver, kidney, [and] gastrointestinal and immune systems.”
Dow also continues to drag its heels and fight regulators in order to continue production of some of its most toxic and water polluting products.
In 2000, for instance, the EPA announced it was phasing out approval of Dow’s insecticide, and potent neurotoxin, Dursban for new home construction in the United States because the product is linked to serious illnesses and even death in children. Five years later, the chemical was still in use in U.S. homes. And in 2003, Dow settled a $2 million lawsuit with the state of New York, the largest penalty ever in a pesticide-related case, for repeatedly violating an agreement about proper advertising of Dursban and making misleading safety claims.
Dow is also a leading manufacturer of Bisphenol-A (or BPA), used in numerous consumer products such as baby bottles, children’s toys, and the linings of food cans. It’s a particularly dangerous chemical, with proven toxicity even in low doses, especially in utero. The National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program has found the chemical may increase the risk of certain cancers and alter brain development. The chemical, a synthetic estrogen, has also been linked to reproductive and hormonal problems. New research is showing that a vast majority of Americans is exposed to low concentrations of BPA not only through consumer products, but from surface water, too.