Study: Dioxin low in animals

Friday, July 09, 2004


MIDLAND -- Dow Chemical Co. is touting results of a wild game study as proof dioxin exposure near the Tittabawassee River isn't as serious as many environmentalists contend.

The company today released findings they say reveal dioxin levels found in deer, squirrels and turkeys are comparable with meats, poultry and fish found in supermarkets.

Dow paid about $500,000 to ENTRIX Environmental Consultants of Okemos to conduct the tests, Dow officials said.

The chemical company said that while the government's dioxin standard for grocery store meats ranges from 0.04 to 2 parts-per-trillion, wild game south of Midland from the Tittabawassee River area had a 0.35 to 6.5 parts per trillion average range.

"These results are important because they provide actual knowledge about dioxin and furan levels and possible exposure," said Susan Carrington, director of Dow's Dioxin Initiative.

"Together with the human exposure study being conducted by the University of Michigan and the bioavailability study, we will now have real data on which to base decisions, not theories or assumptions."

Besides paying ENTRIX, Dow has backed a $10 million U-M study this month to determine dioxin amounts in residents' blood.

A team of 60 interviewers, dust gatherers, soil samplers and phlebotomists are to start roaming neighborhoods of Saginaw and Midland counties later this month.

Terry Miller, chairman of the Lone Tree Council, is skeptical of Dow's research.

"I'm very, very leery of accepting something they paid for," said Miller, who heads the mid-Michigan nature watchdog group.

"There's been no peer review of this study, so I find it pretty irresponsible to suggest that there is no problem.

"It seems the time and money they put into doing this they could invest in ensuring that no further exposure takes place."

Miller said that based on Dow's own findings, the dioxin levels of the wild game studied are "more elevated than" what the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows.

"Of course, they're going to put their own spin on it," he said.

Dow spokeswoman Anne Ainsworth said residents and hunters should view the results as "reassuring."

Tittabawassee River floodplain residents have filed suit claiming Dow ruined their property values and health with dioxin.

Saginaw County Chief Circuit Judge Leopold P. Borrello was to decide whether to grant the suit class-action status, but last month the state Supreme Court postponed all local hearings until it decides if ongoing medical care for riverside residents is an acceptable claim under state law. t

Paul Wyche covers business for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9674.

© 2004 Saginaw News


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