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Dave Dempsey, 01/23/07, Letter to the editor, Response to Saginaw News Editorial

Dioxin's harm already done Tuesday, January 23, 2007 Editor, The News:

The Jan. 18 editorial on dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River says "first, do no harm," and essentially recommends further study and inaction on these highly toxic materials.

As someone who has followed the cleanup in this area -- or lack of same -- for the last 25 years, I assure The News that dioxins are a real problem that need a real solution. The News overlooks the damage done to the river and Saginaw River and Bay, and their fish and wildlife by years of dioxin discharges. The public trust as well as public health has been undermined and it is time for action to restore both. In communities across this country dioxin is being cleaned up to protect resources and people and revitalize local economies.

The editorial attempts to assuage fears as though historical dioxin is less toxic than a more recent release. Nothing could be further from the truth. Citing numbers greater than 90 parts per trillion found in the Saginaw River, The Saginaw News suggest the state and Dow should proceed with caution so as to not disperse sediments. These sediments have been migrating for decades. In fact, the numbers in the Saginaw River are as high 16,000 ppt, as reported by DEQ and published in your newspaper.

Dow Chemical's dioxin is finding its way to Lake Huron and into the native fish and wildlife every day, as it has for decades; thus the fish advisories for women and children.

Dioxin is one of the most potent toxic substances ever discovered. The Saginaw Bay has been an Area of Concern for decades. It will continue to be for decades to come if the thinking of The Saginaw News editorial board prevails.

Dave Dempsey

St. Paul, Minn.

Play ball

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