This website is intended primarily to be an informational resource for those who have experienced adverse health issues or the contamination of their water source with the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is the active ingredient in many insecticidal products made by Dow such as Dursban, Lorsban, Equity, Empire, Reldan, Pageant, and Tenure. It has also been used in hundreds of other third-party products which have been sold in hardware stores, garden centers and groceries. This site collectively brings chlorpyrifos research and information together from many credible sources.
Chlorpyrifos was the most widely used insecticide in the World for many years during the 1990s. After years of use, the EPA somewhat suddenly removed chlorpyrifos (Dursban) from the residential and the specialty markets (lawn, ornamental, garden centers, etc.) in the U.S. marketplace. This came about with no apparent fight by Dow and no major revelations from the EPA of safety concerns other than Dursban was too widely used. Openly there never has there been a specific problem associated with chlorpyrifos, one that was so serious that would have caused the removal of Dursban by the EPA. The answer as to why it was removed maybe due to the EPA's discovery of the strategies that Dow uses to market all their products. That strategy will be apparent after understanding the information compiled and presented here. The information also raises serious questions about how well the EPA actually oversees their responsibilities in assuring the public's safety.
The EPA came to understand that the information Dow supplied to support the registration of chlorpyrifos was intentionally faulty. The EPA also discovered that Dow was intentionally hiding a large number (tens of thousands) of adverse incidents involving Dow's chlorpyrifos products. Hiding negative information about Dow or about Dow products is the method by which Dow conducts business. This marketing practice has been described by two terms. The first one is an openly used internal Dow term which describes their own marketing tactics. That is marketing "Under the Radar of Regulatory". The second term is what many outside the company, who have an above-average knowledge of how Dow operates, use to describe Dow marketing. That term is "Poisoning For Profits" which covers Dow's lack of ethics and integrity in selling products which Dow knows has hidden risks.
Just how far will Dow go to hide the truth? Here is one of many examples of Dow's business practice of hiding the truth. According to a report from Wikipedia.org, the internet encyclopedia, someone on a Dow Chemical computer deleted details of the company's development of birth defect inducing Agent Orange herbicide. They also edited information about the continuing controversy surrounding the Bhopal disaster in India. Union Carbide, a firm that Dow bought, was responsible for the death of as many as 22,000 Indians in Bhopal. After buying Union Carbide at what many see as very deflated "fire sale" price to buyout a significant competitor, Dow has attempted to deny responsibility for the Bhopal disaster. It seems that Dow did not like the information published publicly in Wikipedia so there was an attempt to "cleanse" the information.
According to Chris Huntley, Dow's head of media relations, "We can't say exactly what happened on Dow computers". "There is a possibility that people see things that they think are wrong and make changes to them. As far as an action by our organization, we've never done anything like that."
The actions documented in the content of this website show that Dow certainly does routinely attempt to hide and change information to cover up Dow issues and make Dow's products appear to be safer and more useful than they really are. They have used this scheme with chlorpyrifos to the extent that their actions have impacted over 80% of the U.S. population and millions, if not billions, of people around the world.
The insecticide chlorpyrifos is sold by Dow under trade names such as Dursban*, Lorsban*, Tenure*, Empire*, Reldan*, Equity*, and Pageant*. Formulators also have been marketing chlorpyrifos from Dow in over 800 consumer-use products in grocery stores, hardware stores, and lawn and garden centers. In the last ten years, other manufacturers have also been manufacturing and marketing their own brands of chlorpyrifos products. Chlorpyrifos has been the number one most widely used insecticide in the world. Chlorpyrifos has had an enormous impact on nearly everyone's life whether that has been realized or not. As some have concluded, "Unless you have lived in a cave for the last thirty years, you have been exposed to chlorpyrifos uncountable times including consuming it on much of your food". Chlorpyrifos has had wide spread global usage and impacted more people than almost any other comparable product.
We often see quotes by outsiders stating that the number of lawsuits involving chlorpyrifos to be somewhere around 300. This is completely erroneous information. The exact number of complaints that have become lawsuits is held very confidentially by Dow. The correct number is conservatively estimated to be in the thousands. After all, consider that the 300 lawsuits quoted by some is not much more than the 249 lawsuits that the EPA discovered Dow hadn't even reported in 1995. That discovery we will detail later. If the actual number of lawsuits was only several hundred then you would also expect Dow to boast of the very low number of cases for such a widely used product but Dow doesn't reveal the actual number. Dow litigation lawyers relish in their success in causing anyone who sues Dow to pay more in legal fees than they receive in any settlement. Dow plays the U.S. legal system very well in discouraging lawsuits and that's exactly their goal. Their lawyers have conducted presentations boasting of their success in this accomplishment to Dow sales people and to Dow customers. Why would they do this for Dow customers? Simply to allay fears customers have of being pulled into chlorpyrifos lawsuits. Many chlorpyrifos customers have dropped their entire use of chlorpyrifos because of that justified concern.
It is completely apparent that the people at Dow have been using an elaborate scheme to achieve a simple goal, to make chlorpyrifos appear to be a safer and a less problem-prone product than it really is so they can keep the product on the market and sell more of it. They have intentionally been hiding issues with the product and hiding thousands of complaints caused by chlorpyrifos. They have done this to keep chlorpyrifos from receiving additional attention from regulators or as Dow marketing strategists amusingly joke about it, "keep chlorpyrifos under the radar of regulatory". It is apparent that the elements of this scheme have been carried out throughout much of the company.
Is there proof of this scheme? Yes, there have already been two major legal actions that were taken by the EPA and the State of New York against Dow over these exact unethical and criminal practices used with chlorpyrifos which made national U.S. news. These actions started in 1995 when the EPA caught Dow hiding hundreds of health related lawsuits involving chlorpyrifos. The EPA found additional unreported adverse incidents in subsequent years because Dow continued to not report adverse incidents. This showed that Dow habitually disregarded the EPA and this federally required reporting. We'll go into more detail on this event on the Background Info page. The second major action was the State of New York's lawsuit against Dow in 2003 over Dow's practices of hiding information and misrepresenting the safety of chlorpyrifos, and also other Dow products. We'll go into more detail on this event below.
There is information presented in the materials of this site that show Dow has continued these same marketing schemes even after the "slap on the wrist" monetary penalties in which no one responsible was ever prosecuted. Unfortunately these actions also became just single news events to the public and haven't been collectively understood. It's when all the facts are reviewed, as we have attempted to do in the materials of this website, that the larger picture of Dow's unethical business practices just start to be realized.
In the case of the NY Attorney General suit, Dow settled out of court for two million dollars. The lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of New York was filed because Dow had been fraudulently misrepresenting the safety of chlorpyrifos and other Dow products. In fact Dow had earlier, in 1994, signed an agreement with the New York Attorney General to stop their practice of using misleading product safety claims. But Dow continued this practice despite the signed agreement. Rather than expose their marketing strategies under courtroom examination and put themselves in jeopardy of criminal prosecution, Dow took the easy way out and settled out of court for two million dollars. If Dow had believed they were wrongfully accused then they would have fought the claim but there was so much to hide they knew they couldn't win. The decision by Dow Managers to use corporate money to stay out of jail was a "no brainer" for Dow's Management.
To nearly anyone, Dow's settlement is clearly an admission of their scheme and of their guilt. Their actions go well beyond irresponsible, they are criminal, immoral, and reprehensible. A two million dollar fine is unfortunately a petty penalty for a company like Dow. It was less than a slap on the wrist for Dow who was making billions of dollars selling chlorpyrifos. Dow knew that without their fraudulent claims of safety and hiding serious problems with chlorpyrifos that they wouldn't sell nearly as much. The most important consideration in evaluating the impact of the Dow vs. the State of New York's settlement is that those at Dow who managed chlorpyrifos were not prosecuted. They merely were in most cases, promoted by Dow to manage other products. Products which could have an even greater direct impact on our health. In fact, some went on to manage new Dow products like Profume, a gas fumigant used to treat food commodities. Looking beyond the news of the settlement shows that New York's settlement was in no way a win for safer food, a safer environment or protection of our health.
From the information compiled you also will come to understand that Dow Managers use the EPA's lack of expertise in business and in pesticide product usage to manipulate the EPA in achieving Dow's goals. It will be shown that this business tactic by Dow is not confined solely to their marketing of chlorpyrifos but it extends to Dow's way of doing business in general. Dow willingly uses this strategy even when they know their strategy is clearly going to harm people and the environment. These same Dow tactics have been documented many times in the past. Just one example of the many is PBS's documentation of Dow's marketing of vinyl chloride. In that case Dow's criminal practice of hiding product problems resulted the death of their own workers. This marketing strategy is ingrained at Dow. It's how they conduct business.
Dow uses their strategy of hiding the negative aspects of their products at all costs in their marketing of chlorpyrifos. With chlorpyrifos though the impact has been on hundreds of millions of people because it has been shown that just in the U.S. alone over 80% of the U.S. population has or has had chlorpyrifos in their bodies. In a Minnesota study over 90% of tested children had chlorpyrifos metabolites in their bodies. In 1997, the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs Health Effects Division reported that chlorpyrifos was one of the leading causes of acute insecticide poisoning incidents in the U.S.. The agency, according to the report, suspects chlorpyrifos in 17,771 reported incidents to the U.S. Poison Control Centers during the three year period from 1993 to 1996. Usage of chlorpyrifos in just U.S. structural pest control alone has resulted in tens of thousands of reported adverse effect complaints that include headaches, nausea, odor, pet deaths (especially cats), fish kills, and water contaminations.
As you will learn, the reference above to the number of 17,771 incidents cited was actually a gross under-reporting of all complaints because of Dow strategies and procedures intended to reduce the reporting of adverse complaints. Those 17,771 complaints were reported complaints that were received directly by the Poison Control Centers in the U.S.. There is clear evidence that most complaints that Dow received directly have never been reported which is against federal law. For instance, in 1995 Dow was caught not reporting several hundred incidents which Dow had directly received but failed to report. The type of complaints that Dow was caught hiding indicate that there were many thousands of additional complaints that Dow also would have received but had also failed to report. Dow brazenly continued their practice of not reporting complaints even after the first discovery by the EPA and the resulting fine of nearly one million dollars. Additional new discoveries of unreported complaints led to additional fines. In another example of hiding complaints, Dow managers told employees that if they referred a complainant to the Poison Control Center then they no longer needed to report that complaint internally within Dow. And there have been more procedures and practices put in place to effectively eliminate Dow's complaint reporting.
Why has Dow not been reporting adverse incidents? What are they hiding? Why has the EPA not done more to correct Dow's habitual criminal behavior? How can any information provided by Dow be deemed to be credible? After reviewing the presented materials you will understand the answers to these questions. Also as you will learn, Dow personnel clearly will not stop at even criminal acts to achieve their goals. Regulators and the New York Attorney General have fined Dow millions of dollars for concealing problems with Dow products. The facts are that Dow has been falsifying federally required reports, withholding toxicology information, and fraudulently misrepresenting the safety of their products in literature and advertising.
We will attempt to bring additional information and the issues together to help you gain a better understanding of the people at Dow and how they have deceived so many with their marketing of chlorpyrifos and other Dow products.
Dow provides on their website a list of Dow "values" that we believe you will also find to be simply plain lies after understanding the many issues brought forth in the content of this website. Dow's stated values are those that Dow knows you want to hear but they are not in any way Dow's values.
For example, Dow states, "Our mission will be accomplished by living according to values that speak to the economic, social, and environmental responsibilities of business and society". One of the values they list is, "Integrity - We believe our promise is our most vital product – our word is our bond. The relationships that are critical to our success depend entirely on maintaining the highest ethical and moral standards around the world. As a vital measure of integrity, we will ensure the health and safety of our communities, and protect the environment in all we do".
There is no resemblance of any integrity
in the behavior and acts Dow personnel have shown in the issues
brought forth in the
materials of this website and Dow has taken no actions against the
Dow employees responsible for the deceptive practices and the criminal
acts other than to promote them to the highest levels of Dow
management. Clearly, these behaviors are rewarded and expected of
Dow employees. As you will see, it is the way of doing business at Dow.
Are you one of their customers?
Critical Water Issues
Critically importantly for your well being, if you have experienced a well contamination be sure to read the "Well Water" page for the latest information concerning Dow's chlorpyrifos decontamination procedure for well water using a chlorination process. Dow has used this procedure as a "quick fix" to hide well contaminations and prolong chlorpyrifos's product life cycle. Dow has done this at the expense of the health of all those who have used the contaminated well water. Most well contaminations have occurred in residential structures so entire families have been affected. Dow has fully known for over twenty years that this procedure that they created and that they told users was "EPA approved", causes the conversion of chlorpyrifos to a chemical that is 3,000 times more toxic than chlorpyrifos itself. It is so toxic it would have the skull and crossbones of a hazardous poison category pesticide. That chemical has NO level of tolerance in drinking water but Dow has been and still tells well owners that their water is safe to drink and to use while Dow knows this material is in their water.
If you have experienced a well contamination, your family has been drinking and bathing in this material which causes severe long-term health effects. Understand that this is not an accusation, it is fact. Dow has again been doing this to simply extend the sales life of products containing chlorpyrifos by reducing the publicized instances of problems that chlorpyrifos causes. Dow's strategy has been simply to make those problems go away.
Should you wish to share your experience, have a question, or want to be notified of new information, please go here.
*Dursban, Lorsban, Equity, Empire, Reldan, Pageant, and Tenure are registered trademarks of Dow AgroSciences.