What happens when we work together to advance solutions that preserve our planet and ensure human safety?
A sustainable future for all.
While chemical products provide many benefits to society, they must also be managed responsibly to minimize any adverse effects on humans and the environment. Dow employees take this responsibility very seriously and work hard to ensure that Dow's products are designed, stored, transported, used, disposed of or recycled in a manner that shows high regard for human health, safety and environmental stewardship. Dow's product safety organization includes over 200 experts in global chemical and end-use regulations, product stewardship, toxicology (human and environmental), risk assessment, and hazard communication. This organization ensures that Dow's materials are compliant with regulations and safe to use in their intended applications. This is the basis of how we bring materials safely to the market through innovation and collaboration.
Ever wondered how Dow brings new innovations to the marketplace and what steps take place to ensure its safety? Watch Dow's Product Safety Story.
As Dow creates a new product or considers a new use for an existing product, our product safety experts assess what data is needed to thoroughly evaluate the health and environmental profile of the new product or use. If the new product or use is approved, this information is communicated to the product users via safety datasheets, regulatory datasheets, food contact statements and in some cases, product handling guides. See the examples below on how Dow evaluates and communicates human and environmental safety information.
As a Responsible Care® company, Dow has implemented a Global Product Stewardship Management Standard across our global operations. At the heart of this standard is identifying the inherent hazards of our chemistries and assessing risks in their intended applications through the Business Risk Review process. This review process brings together internal stakeholders from our businesses, product safety and legal teams to thoroughly review all new and existing product opportunities. Our business teams understand how our products will be used, manufactured, and delivered. Experts in human and environmental health evaluate the available safety information such as toxicology studies, read-across approaches and predictive models to ensure that appropriate data is available to understand the potential hazards. Risk assessors ensure that we evaluate the risks involved and advise appropriate risk management measures.
How does Dow use the power of data to advance product safety while reducing animal testing and shortening the time-to-market for much-needed product innovations? By getting better at predicting safety as we develop new molecules. The transition toward new, non-animal methods is important. Dow is an industry leader in developing tools and demonstrating how they can be applied to make safety decisions and reduce animal use. These efforts are led by a team of dedicated scientists in our Predictive Toxicology group who have the goal of ensuring product safety without the use of animal testing. They do this by applying computer modelling, cell-based (in vitro) systems, grouping/read-across methods (where a similar substance is used to develop safety information) or exposure- and risk-based evaluations. Our efforts were recognized by multiple organizations, including LAUNCH, under the Smarter Chemistry Innovation Challenge Award.
A key part of product stewardship is communicating important information on hazard and risk management to our customers. This is a well-established process in developed countries, but less advanced in developing and emerging countries. In 2017, Dow launched a product stewardship academy in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to elevate product safety practices in these countries and to support the responsible expansion of Dow businesses in the region. This academy was launched as part of the 2025 Sustainability Goal "Safe Materials for a Sustainable Planet." It is delivered by local product safety specialists and supported by the local Dow business teams.
In 2018, Dow received an ACC Responsible Care® Product Safety Award for our development of the Product Stewardship Academy.
Dow is committed to responding to the increasing customer and market requests for product transparency as part of our open and transparent chemistry initiative to build confidence in product safety. Safety data sheets (SDSs) are one way we communicate information to end-users on the hazards associated with Dow's products. New information and changing regulatory requirements are continuously reviewed, resulting in regular updates of our SDS and labels. The most significant international regulatory development has been the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), created by the United Nations. Regulatory Data Sheets (RDS) and food contact letters are additional ways in which Dow transparently provides global regulatory compliances for our products to end-users.
Dow's strategy for building a more sustainable world focuses on three priority areas: circular economy, climate protection, and safer materials. Our "Sustainable Chemistry Index" (SCI) has been used to evaluate how each Dow business is improving year over year as we grow our portfolio of innovative and sustainable materials. Assessing our product portfolio for the sustainability of our materials is a priority for Dow. Our focus is to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners.
Dow prides itself on being an innovation company. This has been recognized by multiple organizations globally, from R&D 100, Edison Awards for Breakthrough Technologies (Dow wins a total of six 2021 Edison Awards for breakthrough technologies), ACC Responsible Care Awards (Dow wins 20 ACC Responsible Care® awards for exemplary environmental, health and safety performance) to a listing in the Fortune's 2019 "Change the World" list.
Dow believes in having the highest quality scientific knowledge to inform decisions on product safety. Achieving this goal requires diverse approaches and perspectives that are facilitated by collaborations with customers, academic researchers, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each collaboration represents different stakeholder perspectives and ensures that Dow listens, engages and acts to increase confidence and advances the science around product safety. The following examples demonstrate Dow's partnership with groups that are critical in advancing science-based safety assessment.
Cell-based or "test tube" test methods provide an opportunity to reduce animal use while also providing more specific scientific data to inform safety assessments. To advance these methods for modeling chemical bioaccumulation in fish, a collaborative international study was performed between academia, government and industry organizations, including Dow.
Dow and other member companies and institutes partnered with the Johns Hopkins University CAAT on a study to evaluate and better standardize good read-across practice (GRAP) guidelines, summarizing insights and learnings from relevant European REACH examples, so that they could be leveraged more broadly and consistently across industry and government practices. These collaborative efforts are critical for building shared stakeholder acceptance of new approaches. Continuing work at a 2019 European Environmental Mutagen and Genomics Society workshop session provided key read-across framework components and biology-based improvements.
Dow has a strong commitment to ensuring the safety and regulatory compliance of our products and a vision of ending the use of animals in product safety research. That is why we are taking a leading role in developing non-animal testing approaches that leverage the best science and technology for human and environmental safety assessments. Collaborating with animal rights NGOs provides a compelling voice to support alternatives. Dow has worked collaboratively with some of the preeminent animal rights organizations, like PETA and PCRM, to co-organize scientific workshops that advance the use of non-animal models in product safety evaluations. Some of the more recent workshops have focused on alternative approaches to acute inhalation toxicity testing, establishing the regulatory data requirements and approaches to an animal metric that will allow us to move away from animal testing. All this is evidence of our commitment to the 3R's — reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals in testing — while continuing to meet our commitment to product safety.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a consumer products company dedicated to product safety and developing alternatives to animal testing. Dow and P&G have been collaborating on genetic profiling methods in cell-based systems to inform product safety. Collaborations such as this are critical for advancing the science toward the shared goal of eliminating animal testing.
Kao is a cosmetics company with a strong commitment to developing non-animal safety evaluation approaches. Dow and Kao collaborated to advance a non-animal method that can determine the potential for a product to cause skin allergy. The collaboration involved scientific discussions, data sharing and experimentation to show that the new method had improved performance due to strong prediction accuracy and ability to classify potency.
Dow and the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment (SKLECRA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Beijing on January 18th, 2018. Under the terms of the agreement, we are working together to help build a solid scientific and technological foundation to boost China's environmental quality while raising the bar for theory and practice in environmental and chemical product governance.
Dow works with government scientists to evaluate how emerging science can improve our understanding of toxicity and safety. One recent example involved working collaboratively with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to share knowledge on the interpretation of thyroid hormone data for safety assessment purposes. Working together globally on long-range research initiatives brings key scientific minds together to understand complex situations. These collaborations are critical to advance our understanding of biology and toxicity to be used in product safety evaluations.