Lone Tree Council and TRW

Dioxin Update # 5

May 2004

Next meeting of the TRW is Monday June 28th Thomas Twp Library 6:30 PM


CITY OF MIDLAND PUBLIC MEETING ON MAY 26th Half truths, omissions, misinformation, command and control of questions and meeting agenda delievered the message that Dow and the City of Midland wanted to create. Dow is right and everyone else is wrong and the MDEQ is a monster. Granted, the City of Midland hosted this meeting but I had hoped some people or officials would find the constrained, restrictive and manipulated format objectionable. Hard to believe this is a the same company and city who call for openess and transparency. This was a very tightly controlled meeting Presenters: Steve Chester DEQ Sue Carrington Dow Chemical Ron Waybrant City of Midland Toxicology Consultant Mike Krecek Midland Co. Health Department Tom Phillips City of Midland Environmental & Regulatory Legal

All questions were submitted in advance pre-printed for the audience and given in advance to panelists
Each participant did a 15 minute presentation focused on answering the pre-submitted questions from Midland residents.
Questions taken on paper from the audience during the break were selected by Mayor Black with 70% directed to Director Chester who was not permitted to call on his science staff in the audience or the EPA representative who oversees Dow's license requirements.
No open microphones
"Reserved seating" for DEQ staffers and other guests of the panel members
Panelist were the "only spokesperson" for their respective organization-no one else was allowed to answer questions

This wasn't really a public meeting or an open meeting. It is a highly controlled and successful effort by Dow and the City of Midland to garner a specific outcome. The alleged intent of the meeting was to " allow Midland residents the opportunity to learn more about the effects of dioxin on their health and property in light of the MDEQ's proposed plan to test soils in the Midland area"this in a letter to the panelists dated May 20, 2004, from Karl Tomion, City Manager. Sitting within feet of Steve Chester were the geologists, toxicologists, and agency people (including EPA) responsible for the science and the license. Yet they were not permitted to answer questions, correct misinformation or expound in greater detail. The letter from the City Manager stated, "You are the only spokesperson for your organization." The vast majority of the audience were wearing buttons that said We Support Sound Science but no one objected to the exclusion of the science people in the agencies. The only science people permitted to speak were from Dow and the City of Midland. The City of Midland and Dow have a long and well documented history of fending off regulatory agency efforts to ascertain an accurate assessment of the extent of dioxin contamination in Midland. Indeed, transparency is not one of Midland's strong suits and unfortunately for the vast majority of Midland residents it's OK............... DOW SPINNING TO NEW HEIGHTS The following excerpt was taken from Dow's full page ad in the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland Newspapers: "According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), there is no known evidence of any health effects or illnesses that may have occurred in people as a result of
exposure to dioxins in the Tittabawassee River floodplain. In April 1985, the EPA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control concluded that since Midland community soils were below the federal standard of 1,000 ppt, they did not pose a health risk."

What Dow isn't telling you:
1. In the EPA report on Midland Soils by Milton Clark, Ph.D. (Oct. 11, 1985 page 17 paragraph 6) Dr. Clark stated the 1,000ppt should be abandoned because it was not protective of public health.
2. The ATSDR 1,000ppt is old science and does not incorporate recent studies and findings from the EPA dioxin reassessment.
3. The use of the 1,000ppt best accommodates, is more convenient and best supports the City of Midland's historical objection to soil testing. For Midland the picture is less grim at 1,000ppt. The ATSDR number does not matter.......... does not protect public health.......... is not relevant to Dow's legal obligations under their RCRA license
4. In April 1998, US EPA issued a directive (OSWER 9200.4-26) permitting more stringent state cleanup standards at RCRA sites. Dow's license is a RCRA license, replete with legal requirements for testing and remediation of Dow's offsite release of dioxin and other contaminants.
5. Since Dow and the City of Midland defer to ATSDR for their science perhaps the following information will be useful. In an article, "Public Health Assessment for Dioxins Exposure from soil," Chemosphere, 1995, the ATSDR authors ( H. Pohl et al) note, "recent studies suggest that noncancer end points may be more sensitive indicators of dioxin exposure," and derived a value of 40ppt for chronic exposure of children, which they called an environmental media evaluation guide or EMEG.
6. Let's look at some other states and regional dioxin standards. Arizona 38 ppt, Florida 70ppt, Massachusetts 40ppt, Oregon 39ppt, Region 9 EPA 39 ppt , Region 3 EPA 43 ppt
7. The ATSDR Health Consultation for the City of Midland states, " It is not known whether people exposed to low levels of dioxins will experience the same health effects seen in animal studies. However, based on the available information, dioxins are believed to have the potential to cause a wide range of adverse effects in humans, including cancer.

Stay tuned there's more to come. Enjoy the holiday weekend, travel safe and enjoy the company of friends and family.

For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawasse 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.