September 14, 2004 (517) 241-2112

State of Michigan Issues Health Advisories For Consuming Wild Game From Tittabawassee River Flood Plain

Today, four state agencies announced their response and concerns regarding a recent Dow Chemical Company draft report on wild game. The study evaluated dioxin levels in wild game living in the Tittabawassee River floodplain, downstream from the community of Midland.

The Michigan Departments of Agriculture, Community Health, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources said today samples of wild game taken from the floodplain show high levels of dioxin and dioxin like compounds in muscle meats, skin, and other consumable portions of animals.

State of Michigan health assessors have reviewed the wild game data for the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River downstream of Midland. The results conclude that eating deer, turkey, or squirrel that contain dioxin at the levels found in the Dow wild game study could result in adverse health effects.

Levels of dioxins in the wild game harvested in the floodplain downstream of Midland for the study were up to 7 times higher than samples taken upstream of Midland in deer muscle meat, 118 times higher in deer liver, 66 times higher in turkey, and 40 times higher in squirrel.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is advising that hunters and their families follow these recommendations:




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Only deer, turkey and squirrel harvested from the Tittabawassee River flood plain have been tested for dioxins. Other wild game may also contain dioxins at levels that are a concern and other downstream areas may be affected. Additional studies are being considered. Until additional information is available, follow this general advice on wild game to reduce potential dioxin exposure:

As a reminder, Fish Consumption Advisories remain in effect for sport caught fish from the Tittabawassee River south of Midland, based on levels of dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls. The updated 2004 Fish Consumption Advisory is now available on the front page of the Department of Community Health’s web site (see address below.)

Additional information regarding wild game advisories for the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River, including a map of the area covered by these advisories, may be found at and