Dow are also the creators of Agent Orange, used to devastating effect in Vietnam.

Protesters and many Indian athletes are angry that Dow is being allowed to use the Olympics to bolster its image.

Demonstrations are taking place in Bhopal over the next couple of days, to coincide with the 27th anniversary of the disaster. Effigies of Olympic chairman Sebastian Coe were burned and an image of Dow as a five-headed snake was held aloft.

Bhopal protest over Dow CHemical sponsorship of London 2012

Indian athletes have asked the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to take action.

Protesters say that in accepting Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the London Olympic Games, Coe and has abandoned any moral responsibility.

If LOCOG ( London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games ) does not reject Dow Chemical’s sponsorship, activists say that children with congenital disabilities caused by the Bhopal disaster and Vietnamese children hurt by Dow’s Agent Orange will perform at an alternative ‘Bhopal Olympics’.

Dow’s name is expected to be prominently displayed on 336 25m high vertical panels at the Olympic stadium.

There have also been calls for India to boycott the 2012 Games over the controversial sponsorship.

Bhopal survivors

In 2001 Dow took over Union Carbide,  the company that operated the Bhopal pesticide plant at which leak of chemical gases killed thousands of people and devastated the environment.

Union Carbide paid  £288m in compensation but human rights groups claim the sum is  inadequate and are calling on Dow to pay survivors adequate compensation clean up the site.