08/16/06 U of M Dioxin Exposure study results for Joe "Median"
The U of M public presentation last night was probably very useful to Dow and the one person whose dioxin blood level happened to be in the exact middle (the "median") of the other 945 people who had their blood tested. Statistics are a wonderful tool and can be used to present or skew data in ways that boggle the mind. For reasons unknown, the U of M choose to use the "Median" dioxin blood level for all of it's presentation. Unfortunately for the public, this tool effectively diverted attention from the real fact that 50% (472) of the people tested had levels higher than the studies median (which is 28% higher than those in the rest of the nation).
The presenter provide a little insight into his suspected reasons for 8 of the high outliers. Discounting the 8 as he did, the remaining 465 people had levels higher than poor "Joe Median". What do the 50% of people on the high end of the scale have in their bodies; 30% more, 50% more, 100% more, 1000%....? If I where Joe, having "28%" more of the most deadly toxin know to man would be a concern. Especially when Dr. Birnbaum of the EPA says they are observing adverse health effects on humans at "background" levels. The ATSDR/MDCH pilot exposure study performed a few years ago on floodplain residents used "percentiles" to explain the results. We submitted a question to Dr. Garabrant at the meeting asking why percentiles where not used in his presentation, however it was ignored. Mission accomplished Dr. Garabrant, the public was placated. Was this statistical slight of hand a first of many payments to Dow to recoup it's $15,000,000?
This was a preliminary report, the U of M say more analysis will follow. Visit the U of M dioxin study web site for additional details and maybe you can find the answer. Click here for local media coverage.
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.