» New Zealand

Dow Contaminates New Plymouth, New Zealand

In support of U.S. efforts during the Vietnam War, Dow’s Ivon Watkins plant in New Plymouth, New Zealand produced nearly 500,000 gallons of Agent Orange. Agent Orange is made from two chemicals: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Apart, they’re herbicides. Mixed together, they become the Agent Orange that decimated Vietnam’s vegetative landscape during the war. Recently, the U.S. government has upgraded dioxin to a “human carcinogen”—a major cause of cancer as well as birth defects and infertility.

Recently, an anonymous executive from the Ivon Watkins facility went on record to say that Dow owned a large piece of land near the plant known as the Experimental Farm. It was there that “we bulldozed pits and dumped thousands of tonnes of chemicals,” in the late 1970s and early 1980s

Groups have organized to demand cleanup, and to investigate the health effects that neighbors believe is linked to the contamination.

For more information:

Traces of chemicals 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D have been found in a pool of discoloured and smelly sea water at the foot of cliffs bordering Dow Agroscience's Waireka research station.
June 14, 2001

Working people win support in fight to expose dioxin danger in New Zealand. April 30, 2001