Dow's 'Vision of Zero'

Means zero responsiblilty and zero answers

Feature story - 23 January, 2003
After a very successful international call-in day to Dow Chemical, it is clear that Dow does not care what the public thinks. Dow shut down its public lines and refused to answer questions from thousands of concerned callers.

Skulls of the victims of the disaster used to investigate the effects of the gas leak on the brain

Dow shut down its 'ethics' line because it could not handle the high volume of calls. It replaced human operators with a pre-recorded message directing people to a website. The site offered for answers on Bhopal was, of course, the industry version of the events it likes to describe as an 'incident'. can only be described as a smarmy public relations site full of misinformation. If Dow thinks the world's worst industrial disaster is only an incident then it obviously is not living in the real world. Maybe it thinks expensive lawyers and public relations can hide the truth from the public?

Zero answers

Here is some of the issues Dow refused answer questions on:

- Why did Dow pay up for Union Carbide liabilities on asbestos in the US but refuse to even consider doing the same for Bhopal?

- Why, despite Union Carbide's lease agreement stating it must hand the chemical factory back clean, did it abandon the site strewn with toxic waste?

- Why is Dow now suing the survivors in Bhopal?

Your reaction

Dow received calls from concerned people as far a field as Germany, Canada and New Zealand. Here are some quotes from people who called Dow yesterday:

"This makes me so upset. Not only do they poison nearly 4000 people, but went on to sue the survivors. All they are doing is hanging up on people, and referring them to email. Ya know why? Email is easier to ignore." DinaNCW

"I just called the Dow "Ethic line". As you surely already know, they recorded a message saying that for questions and comments about Bhopal people can go to I talked to a woman then, who just repeated the same sentence, and when I said that providing "infos" on a website was not fair, and I asked about the suit against the survivors, she replied that the only answer she or anyone else at that phone number were allowed to give was: go to the website, write to the email address." Paola

"I wanted to know why Dow wasn't cleaning up the site and had even suggested that any cleanup be paid for out of the funds raised for the victims. The woman said she was going to hang up and did so after telling me to "have a nice day" Julie

"I then asked why it was only available for Dow employees when death, disfigurement and disability had been inflicted upon the inhabitants of Bhopal. I will follow up with a letter to the Houston address given in the recorded message." greta

No answers means more questions

Another call shows the effect of Dow's dodging valid concerns from the public has on perceptions of a company:

"Just called the North America number (800-447-4369) at 11:45 (PST). Like many of you I got the standard line about and I can voice my concerns in writing to the information center.

So naturally I will write but I won't be sending anything to the above address; I think I will send a copy of my letter to all the 'top brass' at DOW." Mike Johnson