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Kathy Henry, 01/18/07, Letter to the editor, Saginaw News

Action level

Editor, The News:

I was surprised actions by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, did not make our local news.

The agency is dropping the 1,000 parts per trillion dioxin "action" level number in a new revision of its policy guideline because of the way it has been misused.

Politicians and health officials repeatedly have misused this action level as a level we should use as the dioxin "clean-up" number in our area. That would be of great benefit to Dow Chemical Co.

In part because of local efforts, the agency felt the need to clarify what the 1,000 ppt actually represents. It is not a "clean-up" number. It was an action number. In other words, do something.

In the future, the 1,000 ppt will be referred to as the Superfund Dioxin Cleanup policy criteria. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will continue to use the 50 ppt screening level as the minimum risk level that would indicate further investigation is warranted. This is based on sound science.

Now we have levels of 87,000 ppt and climbing. This is a major public health threat. Are local leaders and the state of Michigan going to continue to bury their heads in the sand for Dow?

Kathy Henry


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