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Comment COVID-19

Dow to expand hand sanitizer production at additional sites in North America, Europe and Latin America

By Mary Page Bailey |

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact around the world and needed medical, health and hygiene products are in short supply. After assessing the company’s capability to manufacture hand sanitizer at its facilities around the world, Dow (Midland, Mich.; www.dow.com) announced that its manufacturing sites in Auburn, Michigan; South Charleston, West Virginia; Seneffe, Belgium; and Hortolândia, Brazil possess the necessary raw material handling, mixing and packaging capabilities and will produce hand sanitizer. These locations join Dow’s site in Stade, Germany, and many other global industrial manufacturing plants, which are already producing hand sanitizer and other essential supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dow does not typically produce hand sanitizer, but a large portion of the required raw materials are readily available at Company sites. In addition, Dow’s asset flexibility allows for a meaningful volume of sanitizer to be produced with little to no impact to normal operations.

Dow collaborated with officials in each of the locations to understand their needs and requirements. In the U.S., the Company worked with officials in Michigan and West Virginia, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the Department of Homeland Security. These agencies provided useful, timely guidance as Dow completed the permitting, licensing and raw material procurement processes.

Dow’s Auburn site has the capacity to produce approximately 15,000 pounds (7 metric tons) of hand sanitizer per week, which equates to nearly 30,000 eight-ounce bottles. Similar or greater volumes are expected to be produced at the other Dow locations. When all of these locations are at full production, Dow’s collective output is expected to reach more than 440,000 pounds (200 metric tons), or the equivalent of more than 880,000 eight-ounce bottles. Production of hand sanitizer will occur for approximately four weeks in the four Dow sites announced today, after which time Dow will assess extending production based on raw material availability and market need.

All of the hand sanitizer that will be produced has been allocated with the majority for donation to health systems and government agencies for distribution. Hand sanitizer will also be distributed to Dow production sites to help protect employees who are on the frontline and ensuring Dow’s manufacturing facilities continue to run safely. First deliveries are expected to begin this week.

Hand sanitizer will be donated to the following entities:

  • State of Michigan
  • THRIVE (Transforming Health Regionally in a Vibrant Economy), a co-led initiative between the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, for distribution to area hospitals and first responders in the Great Lakes Bay Region
  • State of West Virginia
  • City of Charleston and South Charleston, West Virginia
  • Federal Government of Belgium
  • Public hospitals in the cities of Campinas, Hortolândia and Jundiaí, Brazil

“We are proud to put our global assets to work to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. The combined efforts of our five sites around the world enables us to produce and donate a tremendous amount of this much needed product to help protect human health and safety,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow’s chief executive officer. “This effort has been made possible through the swift efforts of Team Dow, in collaboration with raw material suppliers, state and federal regulatory officials and volunteers. We intend to continue producing hand sanitizer as long as raw materials are available and supply is short.”

“We’ve seen an incredible amount of strength and courage of Michiganders during this time of uncertainty, whether it’s from communities donating food, money, and resources to those that need it or from businesses using their technology to manufacture personal protective equipment,” said Michigan Governor Whitmer. “This action from Dow and its hardworking employees will help us protect more Michigan families and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state. I’m proud to work with Dow and every business that steps up during this time to protect Michigan families.”

Dow’s existing production capabilities are critical to supplying many of the most vital hygiene and medical products and technologies to help address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as disinfectants, sanitizers, cleansers, plastics used in the production of disposable personal protection equipment for medical professionals, memory foams for hospital beds, and more.

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