Dioxin results mailed

Kathie Marchlewski, Midland Daily News 02/23/2005

Nearly 300 Midland and Saginaw County residents have, or will have within days, a letter in their mailboxes detailing the levels of dioxins in their blood. Partial results from a first phase of the University of Michigan-led dioxin exposure study have been mailed to local participants.

Mike Krecek, Midland County Department of Public Health director, said he hasn't yet seen how the study results compare to national background levels, but is encouraging the community to attend an informational meeting Thursday, March 10, 6 p.m. at Freeland Elementary School, 710 Powley Drive, Freeland.

At the meeting Dr. David Garabrant, who is leading the study, will answer questions about results. He won't, however, be able to say how the levels might affect heath. The goal of the study is only to find out whether people who live in Midland and Saginaw counties have higher levels of dioxins in their bodies than other Michigan residents, based on the contamination and industry that exists here.

Complete study results won't be available until 2006.

As local people's dioxin test results become known, Krecek and Saginaw County Medical Director Neill Varner said people not included in the study might be interested in knowing their personal results.

"We don't recommend that at this time," Krecek said. Testing can be done only at specialized labs and typically costs $1,000 or more per test. Results could be difficult to interpret.

"The preferred approach would be to wait for the U of M study to be completed," Krecek said. "This should provide community information that we all can use."

Saginaw and Midland County departments of public health are contacting dioxin testing labs to inquire about testing availability for people who are interested. Contact information for those labs is expected to be available at the March 10 meeting.

Information about the University of Michigan study is available at www.umdioxin.org or by phone at (888) 689-0006.

©Midland Daily News 2005

 


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