U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contaminant specialist critical of preliminary MSU dioxin wildlife study results
 Published: Monday, June 20, 2011, 4:30 PM
 By Lindsay Knake | The Saginaw News

KOCHVILLE TWP. — A U.S. Fish and Wildlife official is critical of a Michigan State University study about how dioxin has affected wildlife in the Tittabawassee River.

MSU Professor Matthew Zwiernik will present information from the university’s Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory five-year wildlife study to Monday’s Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group meeting.

Lisa Williams, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contaminants specialist, noted the MSU study did not look at several animal species that live in the river, such as fish and mollusks.

“There may be more species that are more sensitive (to dioxin),” she said.

From early results and presentations she has seen, the study documented increased exposures to dioxin downstream from Dow Chemical Co.’s Midland plant, but the researchers have not compared that data to exposure levels prior to 2003.

Dioxin is a chemical byproduct of combustion found in sediment along the river system downstream of Midland and is linked to past emissions by Dow and other industries.

The wildlife study looked at animal reproduction, Williams said, but did not study immune function, visual acuity and cardiac malfunction, all known issues caused by dioxin.

Comparing different habitats may also cause complications, she said.

“There is uncertainty in any sort of field study,” Williams said. “Unless the habitats are exactly the same, there’s always some uncertainty whether dioxin is causing issues or habitat is negating the effects.”

The MSU researchers have not yet released the full results and analysis, she said. They did a tremendous about of work in a complicated ecosystem, she said.

The meeting is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Saginaw Valley State University’s Alumni Lounge in Curtiss Hall, 7400 Bay in Kochville Township.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.


http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/06/us_fish_and_wildlife_service_c.html 
 


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