By Demelza Davies
In September of 1982, seven people died of tainted Tylenol, a painkiller produced by Johnson & Johnson. In response to the tragic mistake by the company, Johnson & Johnson spent millions of dollars removing the product from all stores and researching the problem. During that time, they were open to the media about the issue and informed people to not use the product until the matter was resolved. Now, years later, Tylenol is still a recommended painkiller and Johnson & Johnson is as trustworthy as ever with their products. This incident is an example of good business ethics that should have been demonstrated by Ford Motor Company in its handling of toxic paint waste two years earlier.
Ford automobile company has franchises all over the country. Ford vehicles can be seen across the country in many shapes and sizes. Ford has the reputation of being the traditional American company that has benefited society. With its sturdy foundation and reputation, Ford made it look too easy to hide the error of its ways when a small area in Northern New Jersey gets attacked by the Ford automobile.
Unlike Johnson & Johnson, Ford did every manipulative and not to mention cheap thing they could think of to hide their pollution, when a franchise manufacturing plant in Mahwah, New Jersey closed in 1980. The company gave assurance to the people and the local government that everything including left over paint sludge, was cleaned up in an environmentally safe manner. Apparently, to Ford, cleaning is a motion of sweeping under the rug. But this is more than just a few dustbunnies. Toxic paint sludge currently resides among the rich soils of the Ringwood area of New Jersey, prohibiting the traditional lifestyles of the Ramapough people and their neighbors.
It has been over twenty years since the atrocity was committed by this "Good American Company." In response to the discovery, Ford did nothing but followed its three gold policies of ethics: Deny, Deny, Deny. They denied any affiliation with the mafia;, they denied knowing of the remaining sludge;, then they finally denied the ill people of Ringwood any medical care for sicknesses caused by the extra toxins in their air and soil.
Perhaps Ford served as an example for Johnson & Johnson, which is why they were so honest with their customers and worked hard to make everything right. However, Ford seems to be slow from learning from its mistakes and is still fighting it out in courts with the people of Ringwood. Apparently a few more have to die before Ford finally gets the picture.
For more information:
Tylonel Recall of 1982: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/23/your-money/23iht-mjj_ed3_.html?pagewanted=1
Toxic Legacy: http://www.northjersey.com/specialreports/toxiclegacy.html
Ramapough Indians: http://www.netstrider.com/documents/whites/