February: After 20 months of investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., and Union Carbide Corp. of Danbury, Conn., are given the go-ahead to merge. The move forms the world's largest polyethylene maker.
March: The Bill Moyers documentary Trade Secrets airs on public television. The documentary alleges that workers in the vinyl chloride monomer industry had contracted cancer and were dying from exposure to chemicals on the job, and that the industry had tried to cover it up.
April: Coca-Cola Co. issues a memo to its North American bottlers saying it plans to use 10 percent recycled content in its PET bottles by 2005. That's four times more than Coke used in 2000, but it falls short of environmentalists' and some shareholders' goals of 25 percent with a commitment to get soft-drink container recycling rates up to 80 percent.
May: Tom Murdough steps down as Step2 Co. president. Toy designer John Sinchok is named the toy maker's new president. Murdough remains chairman and chief executive officer.
July: HPM Corp. closes its Mount Gilead, Ohio, plant for the week of July 2. The struggling machinery maker blames poor business conditions. HPM, which once employed 500, is down to 100 workers at the time of the temporary shutdown. But, by the end of the month things are looking up. HPM's woes are alleviated when Hobart, Ind.-based Taylor's Industrial Services LLC buys its assets, and announces operations will remain in Mount Gilead.
December: The Segway Human Transporter from Segway LLC of Manchester, N.H., makes its debut, marking the commercial premiere of GE Plastics' Sollx film, an in-mold decoration process that provides a high-gloss surface.