BREAKING: Dow Chemical CEO reveals only 95% of stuff is made of actual stuff

In an interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, CEO of Dow Chemical Andrew Liveris revealed that only 95% products available in the marketplace are actually made of chemicals.

Ryssdal: What do you do when the first thing that most people think of when Dow Chemical comes to mind is “oh man, whatever they make is probably toxic. It’s chemicals, it’s hydrocarbons — holy geez, I don’t want any of that stuff.”

Liveris: Yeah, it’s a branding topic. So we’ve got to go out there and really re-educate humanity, because at the end of the day, 95 percent of all products out there have chemistry in them. Whether we like it or not, modern humanity, but even emerging humanity needs chemistry to get clean water and affordable housing and medicines. Chemistry’s ubiquitous. We at Dow already have 80 percent of all the products we make on the web, in terms of product safety analyses. You can actually just access them. So you know what it is and what it does and what it doesn’t do. And full transparency from this industry, full transparency to the ultimate consumer is an absolute requirement. It’s the right to operate. We are for smart regulations. [emphasis added; excerpt from here]

“This flies in the face of everything we know about materials,” says chemist Dr. Eve Wher.    “Materials are thought to be composed to 100% chemicals.”  Dr. Wher thinks the chemistry community will have several questions for Liveris.  “What is the other 5% made of? When will Dow release the data indicating 5% of materials aren’t made of chemicals? How long has Dow known that 5% of materials are not made of chemicals?”

Physicist Dr. Matt Er thinks it won’t just be chemists that will have questions for the CEO of Dow Chemical.  “What Liveris casually mentioned in this interview could shake the foundation of science,” exclaimed Dr. Er.  “An implication of Liveris’ statement is that 5% of stuff isn’t actually made of anything.”  Dr. Er explains, “Products have mass, so they must be made of something.  That something is supposed to be chemicals.”

While both Dr. Wher and Dr. Er expressed skepticism at Liveris’ assertion that 5% of products aren’t made of chemicals, Dow seems fairly confident.  As revealed in the Marketplace interview, Dow is effectively dropping the word “Chemical” from its brand.




Editorial Materials & MethodsmA huge amount of sarcasm was used to write this post.  The author would like to thank @funkyNMR for alerting her to Liveris’ Marketplace interview.

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