MIDLAND, Mich.—Dow Chemical Co. received the 2014 Da Vinci Award in the prosthetics/orthrotics/controls category, recognizing the Jaipur Foot Initiative, the company's corporate citizenship program in India.
Dow India began working with NGO Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti in 2005 to develop a new polyurethane limb. BMVSS is the world's largest limb-fitment organization. It provides free prostatic limbs, polio calipers, wheelchairs, tricycles and crutches free to people with disabilities, according to Dow.
The firm said the foot is more durable, flexible and offers greater mobility—being 20 percent lighter, considerably quicker and 25 percent cheaper produce than its handmade vulcanized rubber predecessor.
“The unique properties of polyurethane make it one of the most versatile materials in the world,” said Mark Bassett, Dow's global business director for polyurethanes.
Dow said more than 36,000 amputees have been rehabilitated thanks to Dow's direct support. Dow India employees also volunteer at BMVSS locations.
Dow reported annual sales of more than $57 billion in 2013. The firm employs about 53,000 worldwide with more than 6,000 products manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries.