Dow study: Game meat safe to eat

Kathie Marchlewski , Midland Daily News

07/09/2004

Meat from wild game wandering the Tittabawassee River flood plain is as safe to eat as that bought from the grocery store, according to a study by The Dow Chemical Co. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality isn't so sure.

"We haven't looked at all the data yet, but it looks as though downstream the levels are two to 112-times higher than what's found upstream. That's something to be concerned about," said DEQ spokesman Bob McCann.

As a response to hunters' concerns that deer, turkey and squirrel harvested from the contaminated area could contain high levels of dioxin, Dow launched the study in the fall of last year and released results today. The DEQ reviewed a report on levels Thursday.

The average levels of the manufacturing byproduct came in lower than USDA averages for the nation's food supply, and lower than the state's fish consumption advisory level of 10 ppt.

"It's information that should be reassuring to sportsmen," said Dr. Michael Carson, Dow's Midland regional medical director. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, beef, poultry, pork and fish sold in grocery stores across the nation have levels of dioxin ranging from .04 to 2 parts per trillion. Deer and squirrels taken south of the Dow plant in the Tittabawassee River area have levels ranging from .35 to 6.5 ppt. North of Midland, the animals averaged .07 ppt and turkeys .18.

To conduct the study, Dow tested 38 white-tailed deer, 24 wild turkeys and 32 foxes from three areas: One north of Midland with background levels of dioxin, and two areas, near Smith's Crossing and Imerman Park, which are known to have high levels.

Muscle tissues were taken from all of the animals for testing performed by Agriquality Limited laboratories and Alta laboratories. Samples also were split with the DEQ, which has not yet released its results. The USDA was involved in collection of the animals and the DEQ contributed to the study's design.

McCann said the department is concerned with the results because the entire animals were not tested. Averages are based on muscle meat only. Deer liver and turkey skin samples that were tested were not included in the average levels presented by Dow.

Liver samples at Imerman Park had an average of 64 ppt and turkey with skin had 10.2 ppt -- levels higher than USDA and state standards. He also questioned Dow's comparison of the meat to the fish advisory levels, calling it "strange."

Dow spokesperson Anne Ainsworth said the testing focused on the meat hunters and their families would eat -- which is muscle.

"We were doing this in response to the concerns of hunters and other sports people about eating wild game. The majority of testing was done with the meat that would typically be consumed. We were pleased to learn consuming game is comparable to consuming other protein from the national food supply."

©Midland Daily News 2004


Source:

For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawasse River Watch web site www.trwnews.net. for complete coverage of the Tittabawassee River Dow Chemical dioxin contamination saga.. The source organization's web site link is listed above. The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.