MIDLAND, Mich. (Feb. 4)—Dow Chemical Co. has idled about 100 million of the 500 million pounds of polymeric methyl diphenyl diisocyanate produced at its La Porte, Texas, site indefinitely because of higher costs and reduced profitability. "The entire chemical business is going through tough times right now," a company spokesman said. "The urethanes industry was (negatively) impacted in both 2001 and 2002. We had slim margins before; now it's a very critical situation." A recent escalation in energy costs combined with unfavorable feedstock costs were the prime reasons Dow Chemical idled some capacity at the La Porte facility, said Stephanie Barbour, business director for the company's Polyurethanes Rigids and CASE business.