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Dow to Increase Hand Sanitizer Output at Several Sites

March 30, 2020
Dow said it is increasing production of hand sanitizer at five sites across its global footprint to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Image courtesy of Dow
Dow said it is increasing production of hand sanitizer at five sites across its global footprint to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Image courtesy of Dow

American chemicals and materials firm Dow is working to increase production of hand sanitizer across five manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, and Latin America as demand for the products skyrockets during the COVID-19 crisis.

Manufacturing plants in Auburn, MI, South Charleston, WV, Seneffe, Belgium, and Hortolândia, Brazil were selected to produce hand sanitizer because of their existing raw material handling, mixing, and packaging assets, the company said in a release Monday. Dow previously announced that its plant in Stade, Germany will manufacture hand sanitizer that will be donated to German healthcare workers. 

“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,” Dow Chief Executive Officer Jim Fitterling said in a statement. “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.”

Dow does not traditionally manufacture hand sanitizer, but said the company has the flexibility to start producing the products without major impacts to its existing operations. The Michigan plant is capable of producing 15,000 lb/week of hand sanitizer, or about 30,000 8 oz. bottles. Combined, the five sites are expected to manufacture about 440,000 lb. 

Production of hand sanitizers will take place at the Dow facilities over the next month. At the end of the four-week period, the company said it plans to assess the need for continued production. 

Hand sanitizer produced at the five facilities will go to health systems and government agencies, including the State of Michigan, the Federal Government of Belgium, and public hospitals in several Brazilian cities. Some of the products will also be sent to other Dow facilities for use by employees. 

Last week, Powder & Bulk Solids reported that four workers – two employees and two contractors – at a Dow petrochemical plant in Louisiana tested positive for COVID-19. The workers entered quarantine and some changes were made at the site to protect workers, like restrictions on visitors, serving to-go box lunches at the plant’s cafeteria, and monitoring workers’ temperatures as they enter the facility.

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