of the key players in this story has been Dow Chemical. It is a
major manufacturer of chlorine, producing 40 million tons of chlorine
each year, much of which is used to make plastics, solvents, pesticides
and other chemicals. In 1965 a Dow researcher warned in an internal
company document that dioxin "is extremely toxic" but Dow has always
publicly claimed it is not (Casten 1992, p. 13). It is of vital
importance to Dow that the dangers of dioxin are minimised and tough
regulation of the chlorine industry is avoided. Dow uses lobbying
firms and trade associations such as the Chemical Manufacturers
Association, the National Association of Manufactures and the US
Chamber of Commerce, to influence politicians to vote against increased
regulation of the chlorine industry.
of these is armed with lawyers and lobbyists who daily stroll
the corridors of Congress, the EPA and the White House, influencing
public policy in ways unimaginable, and inaccessible, to ordinary
citizens. Each of these has a public relations budget, and staff
to write op eds, testify before Congress or the EPA, appear on
news shows as 'experts', speak to civic groups. (Weinberg 1995)
Chemical, alone, spent over a million dollars over the last ten
years on donations to politicians running for national office and
in the 1992 election Dow, together with other chlorine producers,
donated more than $1.4 million to people running for Congress. In
1995, Dow provided the services of one of its lobbyists, free of
charge, to the House of Representatives Commerce Committee, which
has attacked the EPA and environmental protection laws (Weinberg
executives are given public speaking training so they can take part
in various forums as effective and persuasive speakers. In recognition
that scientists have more credibility than other company employees,
Dow's "Visible Scientist Program" gives Dow scientists special training
to be able to "communicate through talk shows, citizens groups,
and newspaper editorial-board briefings about such issues as hazardous-waste
management and chemical plant safety" (Nelson-Horchler 1990).
also supports and finances corporate front groups such as the Alliance
to Keep Americans Working, the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy,
Council on Science & Health and Citizens
for a Sound Economy (Megalli & Friedman 1991).
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Liane Clorfene, 1992, 'Dioxin Charade Poisons the Press', Extra!
(January/February), pp. 12-13.
Corporate Hall of Shame (information
on Dow's lobbying and front groups strategies)
Mark and Andy Friedman, 1991, Masks of Deception: Corporate Front
Groups in America. (Essential Information).
Joani, 1990, 'We were wrong'; acts of contrition brighten a company's
tarnished image', Industry Week, Vol. 239, No. 8, pp. 20-25.
Jack, 1995, Dow
Brand Dioxin: Dow Makes You Poison Great Things,
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