Dioxin Update

Lone Tree Council and TRW

February 13th  2007 # 83





 DEQ Dow Community Meeting


Great turnout for last Thursday meeting from a number of communities in the watershed; Midland, Saginaw, Freeland, Zilwaukee, Bay City and Flint. The Dow contractors gave a very detailed analytical presentation of their sampling along the upper T-river and floodplain. Dow and DEQ reinforced that plans are under way to cleanup those high concentrations by August.  Oxymoronic position but I am cynically optimistic. MDEQ has not signed off the Geo-Morph processes yet but likely will in the near future……….EPA needs to give it their blessing too before it can be applied to the remaining river miles.


What we didn’t hear from Dow or DEQ, yet again, is what numbers ( part per trillion) is considered high enough that it warrants removal. A threshold.


We also did not hear any discussion about real time removal of contaminants when permissible. ( Walleye spawning season, weather events could contraindicate real time removal). We hope DEQ or EPA  insists on it and Dow doesn't resist.


One young mother from Midland stood up and talked about her son’s cancer, Ewings Sarcoma. She said his doctor at the UM told her there were five kids in Midland with this cancer………a high number for a community that size. As I recall women in Midland for two decades had some the highest incidents of soft tissue sarcomas in the nation. This mother admonished Dow and DEQ to look at the problem.


An enthusiastic young man from Freeland commented that it was huge problem that Dow and DEQ could not agree on the public health problems surrounding this contamination. He asked Dow if any studies on health effects had been done and once again Dow pulled out their famous healthy workers study and once again, Dow’s Dr. Carson did not tell the truth. Dr. Carson stated that Dow employees, according to their studies, enjoy very good health. But he didn’t tell the public the truth until a member of the audience called Dr. Carson out on his glaring omission! Dow employees had higher incidents of prostate and stomach cancer.  Only when pressed did Dr. Carson admit that in 1998 Dow Chemical did amend their workers study in a report to EPA to show higher incidents of these cancers. Dow has no shame when it comes to defending the company line..........dozens of Dow employees sat passively as this lie was passed onto the audience in attendance.  

 In attendance at the Feb 8th meeting  was the Michigan Director of Clean Water Action who along with a Sierra Club member inquired about what definitive plans long and or short term were in place to address the migration of dioxins to Lake Huron. Dow sat silent but DEQ did give a brief over view of the sediment trap studies being undertaken by Dow for use perhaps sometime in the future……..nothing for sure.  What the hell it's just one of the GREAT LAKES!


A few Midland residents stood up and commented that the UM Exposure Investigation showed no dioxin uptake by residents living amid Dow's contamination. DEQ responded that this was not a correct interpretation of the study, that indeed, residents living along the floodplain did have higher levels of dioxin.



 Environmental cleanup is a jobs creator

Below is an article from TMC online about General Electric’s plan to hire local businesses for people and services in their long-term cleanup of the Hudson River’s PCB contamination.

GE seeks businesses to help with dredging

February 2006


GE's willingness to employ local people and businesses during the dredging project has for years been a subject of debate, with local business and political leaders criticizing Hudson River bed from Fort Edward to Troy. GE capacitor plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls dispersed the contamination over a more-than-40-year period from the 1930s to 1977.

Phil Tucker, the local business representative for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 9, was pleased to get word of GE's announcement Tuesday.

"That's a big turnaround," he said.

Tucker was heavily involved with the Local Jobs for Local People Coalition that three years ago held a rally at the Glens Falls Civic Center to urge GE to hire locally for the project.
At that time, GE just kind of closed the door to us," he said. "There is definitely local interest in doing the work here. We were concerned that GE would be tight-lipped and then we'd see out-of-state contracts and out-of-state license plates."

Todd Shimkus, executive director of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he knew about GE's plans to launch the Web site for "a little while" because the company had contacted him about sharing the site with chamber members. He said the chamber will market the opportunity to its members and help businesses with no Internet access apply.



GE will perform the first phase and transitional work for the second phase for the $700 million project, which aims to remove PCBs from a 40-mile stretch of the river.







 In the last Dioxin Update I included some numbers in Reaches (sampling areas) that were incorrect. Would appear my eyes drifted over to the next column. You can view these documents on the TRW web site.


The 23,000 ppt in Reach N is correct. (Page 253)


The 100,000 ppt is correct in Reach 0 (Page 303)


In Reach K the 61,000 ppt I stated was from the wrong column. Reach K does have dioxin levels of 40,000 ppt, 44,000 ppt and 80,000 ppt (Page 116)


In Reach M I sited 54,000 ppt in error.  Reach M's highest concentrations were 43,000 ppt ( page 240)



Much appreciate the errors being pointed out.



Stay warm and a special thanks to those of you who have chosen to share this update with your personal lists. Appreciate it much!




The next update is coming on the heels of this one. It will be committed to the dioxin slurry pit on the Saginaw River that each and every tax payer of Saginaw County is being strapped with for decades to come.


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.