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David Linhardt, 03/03/065, Letter to the Editor, Saginaw News

Selective reporting

 
Friday, March 03, 2006

Editor, The News:

In his Feb. 21 letter, Dow Chemical's James J. Collins failed to inform readers that, in 1998, Dow informed the state Department of Environmental Quality that it had misclassified a total of 224 dioxin employees as to TCDD (dioxin) exposure. Six of the company's cancer mortality studies that used the incorrect assignments may therefore be invalid.

The company has not published revisions of the six studies to correct any possible errors. Collins' statement of no increased health effects in its workers ignores that the company previously has reported statistically significant elevations in certain cancers to the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality. Some of this information was presented in a 1997 study given to the Department of Environmental Quality but not published.

The writer also failed to inform that Dow's dioxin workers without chloracne have a cancer mortality that is more than twice that of those with chloracne. It is doubtful that chloracne reduces cancer mortality. This unusual finding may be the result of the company's revisions to the number of employees diagnosed with chloracne -- from 325 in 1989 to 245 in 2003.

Collins referenced the company's most recent study that was published in 2003. However, the company has not made the 2003 study or the 1997 study available on its Web site. Without easy Internet access to all of the company's cancer studies, readers must rely on the company's selective summaries.

David Linhardt

Cary, N.C.

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