Dow Chemical’s Official Sponsorship of 2012 Olympics Stirs Controversy

February 1, 2012

As the global community gears up for the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer, at least one country is struggling with the decision to participate amid news that Dow Chemical will be one of the Games’ main sponsors.

In 1984, Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) was responsible for a horrific gas leak at a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, that resulted in the death of over 20,000 people. Cancer, birth defects, deformities, and resource contamination continue in to this day. Most of the survivors of the Bhopal disaster have received little or no compensation from Dow Chemical. In 2004, Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla won the Goldman Prize for their tireless campaign to bring justice to those survivors.

Today the struggle continues as Bee and other Bhopal survivor activist groups fight to have Dow Chemical removed from the official Olympic sponsor list. Their efforts are gaining traction and officials are hearing their call. It was announced last month that Meredith Alexandar resigned from her position as Chairperson on the Ethics Committee of the London Olympics, a monitoring body for the Games, over Dow’s involvement.

“By speaking the truth so boldly Meredith has nailed Dow Chemical’s lies – which the London Olympic Committee and its Chairman, Lord Coe, believed and propagated till recently. We hope this will make LOCOG dump Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the London Games,” Bee said in response to the news.