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Protests grow over Dow Olympics sponsorship

Victims of the 1984 Bhopal pesticide plant explosion are working with British Members of Parliament, Amnesty International and others to expose and oppose sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics by Dow Chemical Company. Dow has been denying liability for cleanup of the Bhopal site and reparations for victims and their survivors ever since it bought the plant’s former owner, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), in 2001.

 “The company's name will be emblazoned on the £7m artwork 'wrap' around the main stadium, guaranteeing months of exposure,” according to the UK Independent. Dow and UCC are defendants in a litigation case in India for clean-up of the Bhopal pesticide factory site.

Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action told the Mumbai Mirror: “The Bhopal Medical Appeal reports that “British MP Keith Vaz raised the issue of Dow sponsorship of the London Olympics in an Early Day Motion October 10 in the House of Commons. His motion has already got support from 14 MPs.”  

On Oct. 24, The Independent reported that Amnesty was demanding that the London Olympics organizing committee “reveal how the deal with Dow … complies with London 2012's ethical code,” given that the company has “’failed to address one of the worst corporate-related human rights disasters of the 20th century.’"

More than 10 independent scientific studies show dangerous levels of chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride in water supplies. Earlier this month, The Independent witnessed children as young as eight filling sacks with contaminated soil from the factory landfill to use for building material in their homes.

Dow denies responsibility for “UCC’s Bhopal liabilities and claims the $470m paid by UCC in 1991 to disaster victims (now contested in the Supreme Court) was final. This is in stark contrast to the way it paid off UCC's asbestos-related liabilities in the US, which dated back to the early 1970s.”  

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Pesticide Action Network

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