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Richard Maltby  May 19, 2005 Saginaw News

Dioxin levels

To the editor:
With regards to state Rep. John Moolenaar’s and Sen. Mike Goschka’s legislative proposal to require that on-site testing show dioxin levels in excess of the state’s residential contact criteria of 90 parts per trillion before a "facility" designation is applied to properties, will there be any real attempt by the Michigan lawmakers and government to clean up area pollution? The actions being undertaken by the government, The Dow Chemical Co., and Michigan lawmakers are, unfortunately, quite similar to those at Minamata, at Seveso and at Chernobyl.

As British writer Edward Goldsmith said in his essay, "Can pollution be controlled?" "To justify its inaction, our government will make use of every subterfuge to con the public into believing that pollution is under control. Thus,

• It will persuade successive committees of learned experts to fix unduly high permissible levels for the different pollutants in our environment;
• Measurements will continue to be conducted and interpreted in such a way as to allay public fears;
• Additive and synergistic effects and the effect of decay products and impurities will continue to be disregarded;
• The accent will remain on short-term toxicological effects, while long-term carcinogenic and mutagenic effects will continued to be played down;
• The absence of hard "scientific evidence" to prove the harmfulness of particular chemicals will remain an obvious excuse for inaction – and as little money as possible will be spent on obtaining this evidence;
• Lack of funds and the adverse effect on our standard of living of spending too much money on pollution controls will be another excuse;
• When action is taken it will be, as today, largely for cosmetic purposes."

It is unfortunate that the government, The Dow Chemical Co. and Michigan lawmakers are more concerned with ameliorating the feelings of the victimized than cleaning up the dioxin contamination.

Richard A. Maltby


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