A Dumper’s Guide to Tricks of the Trade

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Dumpers have proven themselves to be a highly imaginative lot. Here are a few of the tricks they have devised to circumvent regulatory agencies at home and suspicious importers abroad.

THE NAME CHANGE: When a product is withdrawn from the American market, receiving a lot of bad publicity in the process, the astute dumper simply changes its name.

THE LAST MINUTE PULLOUT: When it looks as if a chemical being tested by the Environmental Protection Agency won’t pass, the manufacturer will withdraw the application for registration and then label the chemical “for export only.” That way, the manufacturer doesn’t have to notify the importing country that the chemical is banned in the U.S.

DUMP THE WHOLE FACTORY: Many companies, particularly pesticide manufacturers, will simply close down their American plants and begin manufacturing a hazardous product in a country close to a good market.

THE FORMULA CHANGE: A favorite with drug and pesticide companies. Changing a formula slightly by adding or subtracting an inert ingredient prevents detection by spectrometers and other scanning devices keyed to certain molecular structures.

THE SKIP: Brazil — a prime drug market with its large population and virulent tropical diseases — has a law that says no one may import a drug that is not approved for use in the country of origin. A real challenge for the wily dumper. How does he do it?

Guatemala has no such law; in fact, Guatemala spends very little each year regulating drugs. So, the drug is first shipped to Guatemala, which becomes the export nation.

THE INGREDIENT DUMP: Your product winds up being banned. Don’t dump it. Some wise-ass reporter from Mother Jones will find a bill of lading and expose you. Export the ingredients separately — perhaps via different routes — to a small recombining facility or assembly plant you have set up where you’re dumping it, or in a country along the way. Reassemble them and dump the product.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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