Dioxin Update

Lone Tree Council and TRW

August 22,  2007 #98



Petitioned Health Consultation on the Saginaw River  


It's been awhile but we did hear the our petitioned health consultation to ATSDR ( Agency for Toxics Substance and Disease Registry) may be completed by Michigan Department of Community Health and submitted to the agency for their comments by summers end. The petitioners, 20 plus residents, two physicians and several environmental groups petitioned ATSDR and MDCH for a public health assessment for the following reasons:


·       ATSDR and Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) already deemed the Tittabawassee River floodplain community merited a health assessment because of high levels of dioxin –furans in the Tittabawassee River and floodplain. 
·       The contaminated sediments and soils of the Tittabawassee River and floodplain are the source of dioxin to the Saginaw River.
·       US Environmental Protection Agency, US Army Corp of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sampling have all revealed sediments of the Saginaw River to have high concentrations of dioxin.  The highest concentration found to date is 16,000 ppt., although levels of 11,000 ppt, 8,000ppt, 6000ppt and 3,000ppt have been measured throughout the Saginaw River. 
·       During the late summer of 2005 Michigan Department of Community Health and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality posted fish advisories the entire length of the Saginaw River because of dioxin contamination. 
·       Dow Chemical’s RCRA Corrective Action license lists the Saginaw River as an area subject to response and cleanup activities because of the high levels of dioxin.
·       There are great number of subsistence anglers (men and women) along the Saginaw River. Many of these residents are people of colors who may also be indigent and who rely on the fish from these contaminated waters to nourish their families.  Several reports have documented the continued consumption of fish by area residents. 


In June 2006 ATSDR agreed there was enough information available to pursue our request for a health consultation. MDCH, in a cooperative agreement with ATSDR, has the lead on this endeavor. We all appreciate their commitment!



Summary of DEQ/DOW meeting August 9th


1. HOT SPOT presentations gave an extensive overview of removal activities in the various reaches. Most  impressive. Remains a reason to celebrate. Thanks to MDN and WSGW for always showing up to cover these meetings and for their commitment to keep the public informed.  This link www.epaosc.net/tittabawasseeDioxinReachD will take you to the August 16th update of activity on reach D.


2. CITY of MIDLAND  is keeping secreted away with the law firm of Miller Canfield data on soil sampling/locations in the city. That this is permitted and tolerated is astounding. That is is happening however is not surprising. Apparently if the contamination is not made public it really cannot exist and everything is really pleasant and perfect in Midland, MI.


3. U of M STUDY  The regulatory agencies have yet to receive the requested data from Dr. Garabrant's U of M Exposure Investigation. This is the data requested 18 months ago. Dr. Franz Blau from the UM doesn't know when the study would be finalized and acknowledged the study data has not gone through the rigors of peer reviewed journals. (Which has not stopped Dow from marketing it to every elected/public official  who will listen to them) The regulatory agencies  have pretty much declined to comment on the use of the UM EI until such time as they have all the data in hand. DEQ pointed out the UM EI gives  a great deal of "averages" which do cover highly exposed/vulnerable populations........which would be the region's children, fish consumers, pregnant women.


4. SAGINAW RIVER NEW HIGH of 32,000 ppt was found in the 6th street turning basin in a bed load sample- meaning the dioxin was at the sediment surface and mobile. Concentrations varied between non-detect and 32,000 ppt.


5. SEDIMENT TRAP STUDIES final report is due in March of 2008. These traps may well become an integral part of finally capturing the dioxins that have been moving out into Lake Huron for decades. Like the above mentioned bed load.  EPA 10/04 document :


"The Saginaw River is a significant source of dioxin to the Great Lakes.  The floodplain soils as well as the sediments within the watershed are highly contaminated with dioxins and furans.  Much, if not all of this contamination is thought to have originated in Midland.  Throughout much of the twentieth century, hydraulic forces within the watershed have dispersed these contaminants downstream throughout the Tittabawassee and Saginaw River Watershed.  Currently dioxin and furan contaminated sediments can be found extending into Lake Huron. "



6. SAMPLING OF THE MIDDLE TITTABAWASSEE RIVER will take place throughout the summer. Thousands of samples will be taken looking for dioxin/furans and whole list of other nasty chemicals. This sampling will go to the State Street bridge.


7. DOW IS GAINING ACCESS to properties along the Tittabawassee River in Midland County  for sampling.


8. MDEQ USE OF 90 PPT IS  SUPPORTED BY EPA : For years Dow has misrepresented EPA's position on Michigan's use of 90 ppt as well as EPA's guidelines for dioxin in soils. LONE TREE COUNCIL asked for clarification from EPA. Here are the highlights from EPA's ( Mr. Greg Rudloff )  response which LTC shared with the audience:


"With respect to the Dow RCRA corrective action site, site-specific circumstances warrant a different level, and a more stringent state level applies."

"A site-specific human health risk assessment that includes these additional exposure pathways will likely result in a different dioxin clean-up level for the Dow RCRA corrective action site."

"Since MDEQ is both authorized for the RCRA program and is the lead agency for this project, the state’s standard is applicable.  U.S. EPA will generally use the authorized state’s cleanup standard for projects within that state."

 "In addition, U.S. EPA believes that MDEQ’s default dioxin cleanup criteria of 90 ppt is entirely consistent with U.S. EPA's residential cleanup level when both levels are normalized to the same target risk goal. "

 "Therefore, MDEQ’s derivation of 90 ppt cleanup criteria is consistent with the way that U.S. EPA derives cleanup criteria when the values are normalized to the same target risk."


A journal, TOXICOLOGY states dioxins most potent in humans


Volume 225, Issues 2-3, 15 August 2006




Comparison of the 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)-induced CYP1A1 gene expression profile in lymphocytes from mice, rats, and humans: Most potent induction in humans.  




Searched for this article after coming across a reference to it in the EPA's June 7th comments about Dow Chemical's not using current scientific information and picking and choosing research that supports their position.


Dioxin in Georgetown MA being cleaned

Georgetown Massachusetts has soil contaminated with 4 ppt to 100 ppt of dioxin in a junkyard and the state’s DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and the Conservation Commission are insistent it be cleaned up to protect the environment and water supply. Our concentrations sediments and soils exceed 80,000 ppt and have been flushed down river into yards, parks, farm fields and out to Lake Huron for decades.

As stated before, all over this country, across all social-economic lines communities are cleaning up their dioxin while in mid-Michigan we are still debating. Why is that?  

Here is a snip and link to the Cambridge MA story.

No place to dump West Street's toxic dirt

 By Sally Applegate/Correspondent

GateHouse News Service

Wed Aug 15, 2007, 04:45 PM EDT

Georgetown, Mass.



The vote was unanimous. Last Thursday Georgetown’s Conservation Commission voted to fine West Street developer Richard Morello $300 a day, retroactive to July 31, for his failure to remove dioxin-contaminated soil from the former Tidd junkyard on West Street.



Test results on the dirt excavated for removal from the West Street site have shown an average dioxin concentration of four parts per trillion, and so far no private landfill owners have been willing to accept it as fill.


Luker said that in order to cap the West Street site — burying and covering the contaminated soil — the applicant would have to demonstrate there is no threat to Georgetown’s wetlands or water supply.


“We’re definitely trying to work with this client to clean up this site and protect the environment and the town’s drinking water supply,” said Przyjemski.



Next Update coming along soon!


Best Regards,

Michelle Hurd Riddick

Lone Tree Council

Source: Lone Tree Council / TRW

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 source organization's web site link is listed above. The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.