February 2, 2004

TRW and Lone Tree Council Update

Attention! Meeting Change

TRW and Lone Tree will meet on the 4th Monday of the month from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Thomas Twp Library behind the fire station on Miller Rd. It was decided this location was more convenient for residents in the floodplain. Next meeting date is February 23rd.

A special thanks to the folks at GreenPoint for accommodating TRW and LTC meetings for the past two years.

Website Up and Running

The TRW website is operational again at www.trwnews.net. Please check it frequently for updates on media stories, the law suit and an assortment of other related issues surrounding Dow Chemical's dioxin contamination of your backyard and everyone's watershed.

Dow Chemical Impacted Communities Around the Globe

Dow Chemical the company that keeps on giving. Vietnam, Bhopal, Plaquemine LA, Australia, New Zealand, Midland Michigan. No matter where Dow goes they leave communities contaminated, people sick and homeland's compromised. In the US alone, Dow is listed as a responsible party at dozens of Superfund sites

In The Near Future

Watch for Lone Tree Council's website......coming soon!

Power Point presentation on Dow Impacted communities is in the works

Knock Knock. Who's there? Dow

Special thanks to all of you folks who took time to share information about your phone calls or letters from Dow Chemical. We appreciate it immensely!

A few comments from recipients of Dow's communications:

"How come every time the state does a study, Dow does one"?

"The letter started out with the usual blah, blah, blah........."

"Someone from Dow called, I think they wanted to bond"

Dow Granted Extension

Dow has been granted another extension by the state to get their Scopes of Work corrected? This time the chemical giant, their army of lawyers and world class scientists have until the 17 of February to figure it out. A FOIA request revealed several "draft documents" Dow submitted to DEQ that still fall short of dealing with exposure and protection of public health. It's very apparent Dow doesn't want to post signs or deal with areas already identified as highly contaminated. Cleanup isn't in Dow's vocabulary.

Dow Cannot Say Dioxin?

In their "draft documents" as referenced above, Dow never mentions the word dioxin. That nasty chemical which contaminated our parks, waterways and backyards is fondly called a , "Potential Constituent of Interest." One has to ask how willing Dow is to cleanup up that Potential Constituent of Interest.

Permits to Discharge Waste into Michigan Waters is Still Free For Dow Chemical and Every Other Corporation.

Water Discharge Permits - The bills are still stuck in conference committee thanks to Senator McManus and Representative Koetje.

SB 252 - Water Pollution Discharge Fees - - The MDEQ budget bill authorizes $3.0 million in fees. The House substitute includes approximately $3 million in fees. However, the bill has been weakened by a provision that prevents the department from promulgating any new rules to protect water resources, exempts agricultural operations as does nothing to insure more enforcement or pollution prevention.

The Senate named Sens.McManus, Birkholz and Brater to the conference committee. The House named Reps. Koetje, Howell and Tobocman.

SB 560 - Groundwater Discharge Fees - The Senate noncurred with the House changes sending the bill to conference committee.

The Senate bill included $1.38 million in new groundwater discharge fees. The Governor had proposed $3.58 million in fees. These new fees will keep this program under funded with chronic non-compliance remaining a problem. The House amended the bill to provide exemptions to small businesses, non profits, agricultural facilities resulting in the bill only raising $330,000. The bill now goes to the Senate for further action.

The Dow Chemical Company by ( Stephen Lester, CHEJ)

Dow Chemical Company produced the herbicides 2,4,5-T and Agent Orange, the defoliant that was sprayed on the jungles of Vietnam. Both herbicides are contaminated with dioxin during the manufacturing process.

In 1965, Dow conducted a series of experiments to evaluate the toxicity of dioxin on inmates at Holmesburg prison in Pennsylvania. Under the direction of Dow researchers, pure dioxin was applied to the skin of prisoners. According to Dow, these men developed chloracne but no other health problems. But no health records are available to confirm these findings, and no follow-up was done on the prisoners, even after several went to the EPA after they were released seeking help because they were sick. EPA did not help them (Casten, 1995).

In 1976, Dow began studies to evaluate whether animals exposed to dioxin would develop cancer. Dow chose very low exposure levels, perhaps anticipating that the studies would show no toxic effects at low levels. Much to their surprise, they found cancer at very low levels, the lowest being 210 parts per trillion (Kociba, 1978).

Around the same time, evidence was found of increased miscarriages in areas of the Pacific Northwest that were sprayed with the herbicide 2,4,5-T (USEPA, 1979). Based on these findings, the EPA proposed a ban on the herbicide (Smith, 1979). Dow brought their scientists to Washington and created enough pressure that by 1979 EPA had decided to only "suspend' most used of 2,4,5-T. This enabled Dow to continue to produce this poison until 1983, when all uses of the herbicide were finally banned.

In mid-1978, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources found dioxin in fish in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers. Dow discharged wastewater into these rivers from its plant in Midland.

Dow responded in a most unusual way. In November 1978, after an intense four and one half month effort that cost the company $1,8 million, Dow released a report called the "Trace Chemistries of Fire," (Rawls, 1979) which introduced the idea that dioxin was present everywhere and that its source was combustion and any and all forms burning (Dow, 1978). Dow released the report at a press conference rather than in the scientific literature, which is the standard procedure with scientific studies. The report concluded that dioxin in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers came not from Dow, but from "normal combustion processes that occur everywhere." A Dow scientist stated at the time that, "We now think dioxin have been with us since the advent of fire" (Rawls, 1979).

Subsequent studies have proven the "combustion theory" claims to be more public relations myth than scientific fact. Measurements of dioxin in lake sediments show that dioxin levels dramatically increased after 1940, (Czuczwa, 1984, 1985, 1986) when chemical companies such as Dow began to make products contaminated with dioxin.

Other studies reveal that prehistoric humans, who burned wood for fuel, did not have significant quantities of dioxin in their bodies. Tissues from 2,000-year-old Chilean Indian mummies did not have dioxin (Ligon, 1989). EPA states in its reassessment that dioxin can be formed through natural combustion sources, but this contribution to levels in the environment "probably is insignificant" (USEPA, 1994a).

Despite the persistent efforts of industry to detoxify dioxin, the weight of evidence from scientific literature today confirms its pervasive toxic effects. Faced with the toxic truth about the dioxin they create, industry has two choices: either stop producing dioxin, or continue to deliberately poison the public policy debate with lies and conflicting information. History tells us they will continue the lies until we make them own up to the truth