Dow Provides Grant to University of Michigan for Regional Control Study

Midland, MI - January 30, 2004

The Dow Chemical Company has provided an $180,000 grant to health researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) to design a study to determine the typical blood level of
dioxin for residents in Midland and Saginaw Counties.

The study will help develop an understanding of whether residents who live along the Tittabawassee River and in Midland have higher dioxin levels in their blood compared with a similar group of residents living outside of those areas.

Dr. David Garabrant, professor of Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology in the Department of Environmental Health Science at the UM School of Public Health, will lead a team of UM health scientists in identifying approximately 350 volunteers to be included in the regional control study.

"The only way to determine if people have elevated blood serum dioxin levels because of where they live is to test their blood levels and compare it to a similar population," said Dr. Garabrant. "Everyone has some level of dioxin in their blood, so we want to understand what is typical in the local community, which then can be used to compare with the results of residents who live along the Tittabawassee River or near Dow's Midland plant."

Under the initial scoping grant, Dr Garabrant and his team will be working to identify volunteers who live in the region and who compare in age, gender, and other lifestyle factors to the residents who live along the Tittabawassee River or in Midland near Dow's Michigan Operations.

Once the study is designed, Dow intends to provide another, larger grant to the University to conduct this study, which will analyze blood samples from the regional volunteers. The research team hopes to begin sampling in July, with initial results expected in September 2004.

"In the actual control study, participants would complete a lifestyle questionnaire and provide soil, household dust, and blood samples for dioxin analysis." Dr. Garabrant added.

"Dr. Garabrant's study will complement a pilot exposure investigation of Tittabawassee River residents announced by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), and be important in interpreting that study as well as any additional human exposure studies that may be conducted in the future," added
Susan Carrington, vice president and director of Dow's Michigan Dioxin Initiative.

The University of Michigan has a nationally recognized school of public health. Dr. Garabrant is a board certified physician in internal medicine, preventive medicine and occupational medicine. He earned degrees in chemical engineering (BS) and medicine (MD) from Tufts University and master's degrees in physiology (MS) and public health (MPH) from the Harvard University School of Public Health. Dr. Garabrant is an internationally recognized expert in public health, and has conducted numerous similar studies during his 20-year career.

For Editorial Information:

Anne Ainsworth
The Dow Chemical Company

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