For Immediate Release: Sunday, April 18th, 2010
Contacts: Aquene Freechild, 617-378-2579 Aquene@gmail.com
Jeanne Mirer, Esq., Agent Orange Relief, 313-515-2046
Akash Mehta, Kids for a Better Future, 917-710-3356
Children Stage "Die-In" Blockade of Finish Line at Dow Chem Run for Water
Protesters Decry Companies' Ongoing Contamination of Drinking Water Around the World
PHOTOS AND VIDEO AVAILABLE HERE
Prospect Park - On Sunday, April 18th, Children from Kids for A Better Future joined activists dressed as grim reapers and disaster victims in a finish line blockade of the Dow LiveEarth Run for Water.† Activists charge that Dow's sponsored the run as part of a cynical ongoing effort to paint itself as a green company, while continuing to produce toxic chemicals and refusing to clean up communities sickened by Dow's pollution and products in India, Vietnam and the US.¬† No arrests were made.
The blockade was one of several actions staged on Sunday by advocates demanding that Dow clean up its toxic messes around the world. Masked grim reapers bearing large Dow logos ran after screaming actors who staged impromptu die-ins mid-race, while white suited "Dow" hazmat teams looked on. Clean Water advocates handed out "BeauPal Water" to runners with the toxic chemicals found in drinking water in Bhopal, India listed as the ingredients. Children from Kids for A Better Future chanted, "Dow poisons children!" and "Dow poisons water!" and then lay down in front of the finish line. Vietnam Veterans held up photos of some of the young people suffering from the legacy of Agent Orange which remains fresh in Vietnam, as children continue to be born mangled by the persistent dioxin pollution.†
Dow Chemical, the LiveEarth Run for Water corporate sponsor, is responsible for clean-up of toxic messes in Michigan, Texas, Bhopal, India and Vietnam as well as other thousands of places where its toxic pesticides, vinyl chloride, and consumer products have been dumped. Protests from Bhopal advocates and Amnesty International led organizers to cancel the event entirely in London. The cities of Stockholm, Milan and Chennai†decided not to have events with Dow and the for-profit LiveEarth organization due to human rights and environmental concerns as well.
Longtime Brooklyn resident Kenny Bruno said, "This Dow water event is wrong. Prospect Park and the City are being used by Dow. Well-intentioned runners and musicians hoping to help people, are instead helping hide the toxic crimes of Dow." Marco Conner of the Council on International and Public Affairs said, "It's simple, Dow needs to stop running and start cleaning up." NYU Clinical Professor Brian Mooney added, "Dow needs to clean up - not spend tens of millions on public relations events. Tens of thousands of people are being poisoned today through Dow's poisons in their drinking water. I have met many† children permanently stunted and disabled by these poisons in Bhopal, India - this is unacceptable."
Earlier this year, students from the New School staged a die-in in Union Square on the 25th Anniversary of the Bhopal Chemical disaster spelling out "Dow" with black and white shrouds. Agent Orange and Bhopal advocates were forcibly removed from a Dow-sponsored New Yorker talk on Clean Water when they tried to ask questions at the event. A large number of event attendees walked out of the event after the questioners were silenced.
On December 2, 1984, twenty-seven tons of lethal gases leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, lead to the deaths of 22,000. Today at least 150,000 people are suffering from exposure-related health effects such as cancer, neurological and reproductive illness. Contamination from the factory contaminated the drinking water of 25,000 people, poisoning a second generation. Dow bought Union Carbide in 2001, but refuses to appear in Indian court or clean up the mess.
Dow Chemical Company has been aggressive in denying the toxicity of dioxin. The company's product line, which is heavily reliant on chlorinated chemical production, has resulted in communities contaminated with dioxin. Dow is a major producer of inputs for Polyvinyl Chloride, the poison plastic, and was a leading producer of dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange. Dioxin causes cancer, birth defects and endometriosis. it is passed from mother to child meaning a new generation of Agent Orange victims is being born in Vietnam today. Dow faces major liability for dioxin at its headquarters in Michigan where the company has contaminated more than 50 miles of river and surrounding land.
The protest was sponsored by the Brooklyn Greens; Center for Health, Environment & Justice; International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal; New York Whale & Dolphin Action League; Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, Wetlands Activism Collective/Global Justice for Animals & the Environment, and The Yes Men.
Click here for a media kit documenting Dow's contamination of water and efforts to oppose the Dow Live Earth Run for Water.
Dow Accountability Network
Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign
Center for Health, Environment & Justice
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal