Dow Corning

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Dow Corning Corp.
Type Joint Venture
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1943
Headquarters Midland, Michigan
Key people Robert Hansen, CEO & President
Products Speciality Chemicals, silicon derived polymers
Revenue $6.12 billion(2012)[1]
Employees 12,000

Dow Corning is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, USA. Dow Corning specializes in silicone and silicon-based technology, offering more than 7,000 products and services. Dow Corning is an equally owned joint venture of Dow Chemical and Corning.


Products developed over the years include silicone sealants, adhesives, silicone mold-making rubbers, lubricants, release agents for cookware, sound-absorbing silicone, leather treatment, skin care lotion, preceramic polymers for high temperature applications, liquid silicone drycleaning solvent, High purity silicon wafers for use in semi-conductors and solar panels, as well as silicone waxes.


In 1942, moisture in aircraft engines and the formation of corona discharge from aircraft electrical systems at high altitudes made high-altitude flight all but impossible. Dr. Shailer Bass developed Dow Corning's first product, a simple silicone grease (Dow Corning #4 Compound) that solved the problem. Dow Corning was formally established in 1943 specifically to explore the potential of silicones. Dr. E.C. Sullivan was named president and Dr. William R. Collings was named general manager in 1943. Dr. Collings later became president from 1954 until 1962.

A large, majority-owned subsidiary of Dow Corning Corporation is the Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation. Founded in the 1960s before the computer revolution, it is still one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-purity polycrystalline silicon which is sold in varying purity grades for use in both semiconductor silicon wafer manufacture and photovoltaics applications as solar cells.

Breast implant controversy[edit]

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, class-action lawsuits[2] claimed that Dow Corning's silicone breast implants caused systemic health problems. The claims first centered around breast cancer, and then migrated to a range of autoimmune diseases, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and various neurological problems. This led to numerous lawsuits beginning in 1984 and culminating in a 1998 multibillion dollar class action settlement. As a result, Dow Corning was in bankruptcy protection for nine years, ending in June 2004.

A number of large, independent reviews of the scientific literature, including the U.S. Institute of Medicine, have subsequently found that silicone breast implants do not appear to cause breast cancers or any identifiable systemic disease.[3][4][5]

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