Tittabawassee River Watch EditorialBack to editorial page
John Taylor 2/20/03
Editor, the Saginaw News:
A letter was sent to residents along the Tittabawassee River and presumably others in the flood plain. It is a letter requesting open dialogue. I am a resident and also chairman of a group called the Tittabawasse River Watch.
The letter states that Dow intends to aggressively address the high degree of dioxin contamination recently revealed here. As a person who has been involved with the Department of Environmental Quality, the state Department of Community Health, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and Dow over the past year, I can speak with a certain amount of experience.
First, Dow has been aggressively addressing this situation for years, only it has been for the benefit of Dow and the detriment of the public. It was only revealed to us about a year ago.
Second, the company has made this same statement countless times and never bothered to contact us about it until after the consent order was defeated. If the consent order had passed, it would, in effect, have given Dow immunity from responsibility for this contamination and raised the cleanup standards from 90 parts per trillion to 831ppt.
This was all being attempted with state leaders at the time and Dow in collusion to accomplish this goal.
The contamination is severe enough to warrant the closing of all public parks along the river to limit the public form contact.
Contrary to what some have said, humans do not have to consume large amounts of soil to become poised by dioxin. You can ingest it from breathing house dust, through contact with skin and ingesting contaminated food products such as fish, eggs, and meat.
If Dow were serious about their professed concern for the public's welfare, then it would untie with the departments of health and environmental quality in an attempt to educate the public about he true nature of dioxin. In a manner that would reach the vast majority of the public and not just the affected residents. This is deadly serious.
This is the most toxic substance known to man. To treat it so lightly is insane. There have been residents writing letters expressing concern about losing their rights to fish. After these people learn what this stuff can do and if they still wish to catch and consume fish here, then enjoy.
For those who have been placated enough to believe that the only way you can become ill from dioxin is to consume several pounds of contaminated soil, we are concerned about you as well as ourselves. You do not have to be a resident along this river or in the flood plain. All you have to do is enjoy those parks or the rivers in any number of ways, and you may well be at risk of contamination.
If you re concerned for the welfare of your children and families as we are, then I would urge you to contact our web site a www.trwnews.org.
These is a wealth of information plus names and numbers of people who can provide more information.
Tittabawassee River Watch
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