The 1984 gas release from the plant in Bhopal, India was a terrible tragedy. It is important to recognize that The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC) never owned or operated the plant; it was owned and operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL). Union Carbide Corporation (which itself was a separate company from UCIL) did not become a subsidiary of TDCC until more than 16 years after the tragedy, and 12 years after the $470 million Bhopal settlement agreement - paid by Union Carbide Corporation and UCIL - was approved by the Indian Supreme Court. The plant site today is under the control of the Madhya Pradesh state government. [For facts about the tragedy and Union Carbide Corporation's perspective on it, visit Union Carbide’s website.].
Statement of The Dow Chemical Company Regarding the Bhopal Tragedy
On December 3, 1984, one of the most tragic incidents in the history of the chemical industry occurred in Bhopal, India. Those who were in the industry at that time will never forget that day, and the following days, when so many people died, and others were injured as a result of exposure to gas released from a plant owned and operated by Union Carbide India Limited.
Although The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC) never owned or operated the plant and was not connected to the event, the company along with the rest of the chemical industry learned from the tragedy and do all we can to ensure that similar incidents never happen again.
To that end, the chemical industry learned and grew because of Bhopal, creating the Responsible Care® program with its strengthened focus on process safety standards, emergency preparedness, and community awareness. TDCC has led the industry in the implementation of Responsible Care to drive global industry performance improvements, and we are committed to the full implementation of Responsible Care everywhere we do business. In addition, the industry works with governmental regulators to ensure that these industry best practices are implemented through regulations to protect workers and communities.
The former Bhopal plant was owned and operated by Union Carbide India, Ltd. (UCIL), an Indian company, with shared stock ownership by Union Carbide Corporation, the Indian government, and private investors. Union Carbide sold its shares in UCIL in 1994, and UCIL was renamed Eveready Industries India, Ltd., which remains a significant Indian company today.
See Union Carbide’s website for the history and additional information from Union Carbide Corporation on Bhopal.
For more information on Responsible Care, see www.responsiblecare.com or ICCA - International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) (icca-chem.org).
Responsible Care® is a registered service mark of the American Chemistry Council, Inc.