Dow West Virginia Operations

Under the umbrella of the Dow West Virginia Operations based in South Charleston, West Virginia are three separate facilities.  These facilities include: the South Charleston Manufacturing Site, the South Charleston Technology Park, and a guest operations site that is owned and operated by Bayer CropScience.  Together these facilities and plants produce over 500 different chemicals and plastics, as well as serving as a base for research and development, engineering, and chemical redistribution centers.   The Institute Site was originally built in 1943 in order to aide government production of synthetic rubber as a war effort.  The plant was then purchased from the government in 1947 by Union Carbide so that they could produce more commodity-type products.  Throughout the years the plant has evolved from the production of the aforementioned commodity chemicals to specialty chemicals.

The specific specialty chemicals and products that are now produced include cleaners and detergents, nail polish remover, hairspray, paint, antifreeze, sinus tablets and other pharmaceuticals, contact lens products, and shampoo. The South Charleston Technology Park became an open campus in 2003 and remains a large research facility, focusing on new chemical development and acting as a center for data processing.

Because these facilities that make up the West Virginia Operations have been in business since the 1940s coupled with the nature of chemical research, a number of safety issues are constantly addressed with respect to worker safety. It is likely that these facilities utilized asbestos as a type of fire retardant. If inhaled, asbestos can reside in the lungs. This can lead to a number of ailments years and even decades later. Such ailments include mesothelioma and asbestosis. Today, standard government warnings and asbestos removal and encapsulating practices have been put into place. However, it is the former employees of chemical plants such as West Virginia Operations that may be at risk.