Dioxin standard under attack

Saturday, May 29, 2004


LANSING -- State lawmakers are calling for the Department of Environmental Quality to relax its standard on the industrial pollutant known as dioxin.

State Sen. Tony Stamas and Rep. John A. Moolenaar, both Midland Republicans, have introduced bills insisting that state regulators use the federal dioxin standard of 1,000 parts per trillion.

They say the state level of 90 parts per trillion is not based on sound science.

"It is important to protect the public health of our families using good sound science and sound judgment," Moolenaar said.

"Enforcing the federal guidelines, with a health study guiding our efforts, is responsible and in the best interest of mid-Michigan.

"Implementing such an aggressive DEQ rule without the research to back it up has the potential to devastate our economy and the quality of life residents now enjoy."

DEQ officials defended the state standard in a meeting of 1,600 Midland residents this week. They said the level is based on seven years of scientific study.

Director Steve Chester told residents that the standard could drop as low as 12 parts per trillion based on new research included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's draft dioxin reassessment.

"Even if there was some legislation to raise the residential level to 1,000 parts per trillion, the EPA more than likely will come out with a level lower than that," said department spokeswoman Patricia Spitzley.

"If Midland residents are looking for finality and closure (on the dioxin issue), this doesn't provide that." t

Jeremiah Stettler is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9685.

© 2004 Saginaw News.


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