Dow Chemical Pittsburg Plant

Dow Chemical’s Pittsburg plant is located about an hour east of San Francisco, CA. The plant was purchased from the Great Western Electrochemical Company on January 1, 1939. This marked the first major expansion for Dow outside of the company’s Michigan headquarters. At the time, Great Western was one of the most prominent businesses along the West Coast, anticipating the growth of the area’s forest, agriculture, drilling and mining industries.

The plant has fully integrated itself into Contra Coast County’s economy and has produced many high-paying jobs in the area. The facility houses nine manufacturing plants on 513 acres of land.

Dow’s Pittsburg plant manufactures more than twelve specialty and basic chemical products.  Some of the chemicals manufactured at the plant are used in products including sunscreen, certain types of paint, cosmetics, insecticides, and products related to control pests such as termites. In addition, the plant manufactures agricultural products used by farmers to rid their crops of weeds. Some of these products are also used to stop the spread of fungus. Other products are used as commercial insecticides. The plant manufactures chemicals used both to preserve foods and those found in a variety of pharmaceutical products.

Today, the facility continues to be a major employer in the area, with 324 employees as of 2007, and an operations annual payroll of $29 million. Despite their 472 acres of wetland preserves the age of the plant indicates that it could have once been a site for asbestos insulation.  Asbestos was often used to insulate machinery and plumbing throughout factories such as this one.  Asbestos is a leading cause of certain cancers, namely, mesothelioma. Potentially, this plant exposed former employees to dangerous levels of asbestos. The material’s frequent use, coupled with prolonged exposure has led to the high rate of mesothelioma development among former employees.

Dow Pittsburg Site