Susan -

Thank you for presenting the overview of Dow's Scopes of Work (SOWs)
and soliciting input from Community Advisory Panel (CAP) members at the
September 3 meeting. We believe it was helpful for Dow to have the
opportunity to interact directly with CAP members so they could raise
some of the issues and questions that they would like to have addressed.
In retrospect, I wish that we had provided for more time to allow CAP
members to engage in interactive discussion. In followup to the
meeting, we have produced a transcription of the meeting input from the
flip chart sheets (attached), as produced by Sarah Opperman. In
response to a request from Sarah Opperman, the original flip chart
sheets will be returned to Dow the next time we meet.

To assist the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in
the review of the SOWs, we will be using input from the meeting
discussion, our notes, the flip chart sheets, and more importantly, the
fully developed information that will result from further discussion and
clarification of those ideas.

After you left the CAP meeting following your presentation, the MDEQ
and Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) provided
clarification on some of the issues and questions raised by CAP members.
Following for your information and for CAP members, copied with this e
mail, is a summary of these issues:

Purpose of hand wash stations: A question was raised about the ability
of the hand wash stations placed in the parks to remove dioxin that had
adhered to the skin. Although hand washing may not remove dioxin or
furan molecules that have started to be absorbed through the skin, it
will remove most of the dioxin associated with soil that is adhered to
the skin and decrease the amount that may be ingested while eating. The
body will take up more dioxin that is ingested than it will through the
skin. Most of the parks have picnic areas but have no place to wash
hands prior to eating. Without hand washing prior to eating, some
dioxin contaminated soils could be ingested through food handling. In
addition, washing children's hands and/or play toys that have contacted
the soil can decrease their exposure through normal hand-to-mouth
behavior. The hand wash stations are not going to eliminate exposure to
dioxin-contaminated soils but may help to reduce some exposure if the
public is adequately informed of their intended use.

Fish sampling and ecological risk assessment: The MDEQ and some CAP
members learned just prior to the meeting about the press release and
newspaper articles regarding Dow awarding funding to Michigan State
University (MSU) for ecological risk assessment. This led to questions
about fish testing and the overlap between the MDEQ and Dow's ecological
risk assessments.

MDEQ staff explained that a number of whole fish samples from the
Tittabawassee River have been analyzed for dioxin and furan content for
ecological risk assessment purposes. It was noted that while the whole
fish samples could not be used directly for human health risk assessment
purposes, they are appropriate for ecological risk assessment purposes.
These fish contained elevated levels of dioxin. An ecological risk
assessment that is currently being conducted by the MDEQ using the
existing fish, soil, sediment, duck egg, and chicken egg data shows that
the elevated levels of dioxin in sediment and soil are accumulating in
animals. The MDEQ's report on this ecological risk assessment will be
complete this fall. The data on which this ecological risk assessment
is based were requested by, and have been shared with, Dow. The MDEQ
has described to Dow how Dow could build upon the results of the MDEQ
ecological risk assessment as part of the SOW process such that this
could satisfy the obligation under the SOW to conduct ecological risk
assessment. While we believe that Dow and its contractor, MSU, could
contribute significantly to the refinement of the aquatic and
terrestrial risk assessments, the work plan submitted by MSU on behalf
of Dow is, as you are aware, not yet approvable. The MDEQ is working
with Dow to develop an approvable work plan for ecological risk
assessment. As previously communicated to Dow, any work not conducted
under an approved work plan is done at the risk of not being deemed
acceptable by the MDEQ for SOW purposes.

Of particular concern with regard to the press release was the
statement in the Midland Daily News that "The latest effort is intended
to gain an understanding of food-chain relationships that will determine
if dioxin is being absorbed in wildlife." As noted above, there is
already substantial information that documents that dioxin is being
absorbed by wildlife. The focus of the risk assessment activities must
be to determine the extent of damage and to target remedial actions for
the greatest effect.

During our discussion, an additional interim measure suggestion was
raised regarding people who live in cities (e.g., downtown Saginaw) who
consume fish such as carp and catfish. A potential interim response
activity that was identified is focused education for the fishing
population--more than is done currently through the fish advisory

Exposure study: Questions were raised regarding the large vs. the
small study. An exposure investigation will determine which people have
elevated exposures through blood sampling. The MDCH reiterated that the
25 person study is a first step to a larger study of several hundred.
The larger study would include a comparison community that does not have
a known point source. The smaller 25 person study is similar to what
Dow has proposed for Riverside. The MDCH is pursuing mechanisms for
funding other than Dow because both the MDCH and the federal Agency for
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are unable to directly
accept funds from companies. A large study will cost several million
dollars. The study protocols will be shared when available and will
also have external peer review through the ATSDR. The 25 person pilot
study will be funded through the ATSDR/Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (blood sampling) and the MDEQ (for collocated environmental
media sampling). Soil sampling is intended to be completed this fall,
with blood sampling to follow this winter.

Relationship of exposure study and health study to corrective action
obligations: Although an exposure investigation and health study may
provide very useful information about public health, it is not intended
to provide the type of information necessary to develop cleanup criteria
for dioxin. The regulations require that cleanup criteria be developed
to protect public health, safety, welfare, and the environment. This
includes protecting for the most sensitive toxic effect from reasonable
maximum exposure conditions. Although an exposure study may help
identify some critical exposure pathways and exposure ranges for the
individuals included in the study, it will not provide sufficient
information on the reasonable maximum exposures. The regulations also
require that criteria for substances that pose a carcinogenic risk be
developed using the 95 percent upper bound on a calculated cancer risk
of 1 additional cancer above the background cancer rate per 100,000
individuals. A health study, even if it included several hundred
exposed individuals, could not detect that level of cancer risk. The
most sensitive noncancer effects of dioxin appear to occur during early
childhood development and are effects that are not frequently measured
(reproductive organ effects) or are difficult to measure (learning,
behavior, and immune system effects). It is unlikely that even a very
well-conducted exposure and health study could provide adequate
information to protect for these sensitive effects. Clarification was
provided to stress the importance of clearly separating any exposure
investigation/health assessment activities being conducted by the MDCH
from corrective action obligations being performed by Dow in accordance
with the hazardous waste operating license.

Agricultural guidance: The MDEQ has been coordinating with Michigan
Department of Agriculture (MDA) staff and guidance has been developed
for farmers on their exposure to contaminated soils during planting and
harvesting activities. This document entitled "Food, Farming and
Gardening Guidelines for Minimizing Dioxin Exposure" is available on the
following Web site:
It was also mentioned that limited testing of crops by the MDA has
shown nondetectable levels of dioxin.

One item that we did not get a chance to discuss, but was raised by two
CAP members, is in regard to the level of dioxin exposure from food
consumption vs. soil. Frequently it is heard that the vast majority of
dioxin exposure in people comes from the diet, with many citations of
the diet contributing 95 percent or more of total dioxin exposure. This
statement may not be true for dioxin-contaminated areas. The 95 percent
is based on national average dioxin exposure where there is no point
source of these chemicals and the soil concentration is assumed to be 10
parts per trillion (ppt). It is not known exactly how much contaminated
soil is contributing to exposures in the Midland and downriver areas
where soil concentrations range up to 7,000 ppt. Estimates of the
contribution from contaminated soils in Midland ranged from 9.4 to 35
percent of the total dioxin exposure at soil concentrations of 185 ppt
and 348 ppt as determined by Dow in a multipathway risk assessment
submitted to support permitting of the new incinerator. These estimates
assumed average soil ingestion rates and varying levels of local fish
consumption. An exposure investigation may help determine if elevated
soil concentrations are contributing to elevated exposures (blood
levels) and may help identify other potential local sources of elevated
exposure (e.g., eating locally caught fish).

At this time we have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 9, to
further discuss the SOWs, and a meeting is scheduled for Friday,
September 12, to discuss Dow's ecological risk assessment work plan.
Also, we are still finalizing arrangements for the two public meetings
later this month--one to be held in Midland and one to be held in the
Freeland area. Cheryl Howe will continue to work with Sarah Opperman in
setting up the public meetings on the SOWs in order to establish the
format and coordinate a press release about the meetings. At this time,
it looks like these meetings will be held during the week of September
22. These will be MDEQ-sponsored public meetings, and while we have
asked Dow to make presentations on the SOWs and appreciate your
willingness to do this, the MDEQ will be moderating these public

Thank you again for your participation in these important public
information efforts as we move forward through the corrective action

George Bruchmann, Chief
Waste & Hazardous Materials Division
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
tel.: 517.373.9523; fax: 517.373.4797;