Dioxin study findings explained at meeting
By Tony Lascari, Midland Daily News
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 10:32 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Mon Apr 18, 2011.
One of the lead researchers in the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure
Study explained the study's key finding at a Midland Area
Chamber of Commerce event.
David Garabrant said living in the Midland and Saginaw area before 1980 is associated with having higher levels of a dioxin known as
TCDD in your blood than a control group in Jackson and Calhoun counties, but living in this region since 1980 has no effect on dioxin
levels in blood.
The information he presented was included in a report released in January. He said once researchers controlled for having lived in the
region prior to 1980, other things, such as increased dioxin levels in soil or dust, did not have an effect on dioxin levels in people's blood.
Garabrant hopes the study will be used by the state and federal governments as they consider what to do about the contamination.
That is not likely, as the EPA has raised concerns about the relevancy of the study since it did not include children and only included 23
properties considered highly contaminated when using a weighted toxic equivalency calculation called the TEQ.
At the time blood was collected in 2005, testing was not possible on children, Garabrant said. He said when you look at specific dioxins
and dioxin-like compounds that are found at high levels in the local region, rather than the TEQ level, there are actually hundreds of
properties that have what are considered high levels of contamination.
Indirect exposure from eating animals raised on contaminated soil could increase blood levels, Garabrant said. He said people should
follow state fish consumption advisories, not eat livestock or animal products raised on contaminated property, wash fruits and vegetables
to remove dirt and not shift river sediments for gardens or other purposes unless the area is known to be uncontaminated.
The study was funded through an unrestricted grant from The Dow Chemical Co., which is responsible for dioxin contamination near its
site in Midland and in the Tittabawassee River.
Mike Krecek, director of the Midland County Department of Public Health, said he's been following the study closely. Krecek said he
hopes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the EPA will carefully consider its relevance to their work in
restoring the waterway.
"I think the results speak for themselves," he said.
Dioxin has been a long-discussed topic in the area, with environmental groups voicing concerns over possible health affects and many in
the business community hoping the situation will be resolved so the community can move on.
Last month the region was featured in a report on disease clusters by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Disease
Clusters Alliance. It said a 2008 study by Dajun Dai and Tonny J. Oyana showed a cluster of breast cancer in Midland, Saginaw and Bay
counties between 1985 and 2002. Some, including Dow, have called into question the methodology of the study.
The local environmental group The Lone Tree Council recently called on U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee to sign a letter urging the EPA to finalize
and release its long-delayed study on dioxin as soon as possible. The EPA had pledged to release the reassessment by the end of 2010 but
missed the deadline. The letter, written by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, was addressed to EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson. Kildee added his support.
"This much-needed assessment should not languish at the EPA as long as this dangerous chemical lasts in our food chain," Markey said in
a news release. "The EPA should release its report without further delay."
Dioxin study findings explained at meeting -
The Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group continues to meet monthly to share information and make
recommendations to the EPA related to the local Superfund site and its cleanup. Pollution at the site includes dioxin and furans released
by Dow, as well as other contamination.
Its next meeting -- from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at Saginaw Valley State University's Curtiss Hall -- is open to the public.
For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site www.trwnews.net 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.