Lone Tree Council and TRW

Dioxin Update

April 19th, 2005 #40


Dr. Birnbaum's Presentation April 13th

Have had dozens of requests for Dr. Birnbaum's Power Point. If you want an electronic copy, please e-mail me (Michelle) at michdave@aol.com or you can view it on the TRW website. We hope to have digital copies available soon.

Dr. Birnbaum's presentation, time and expertise are most appreciated. We can only hope that her comments on the toxicity of dioxin across all species will lay to rest, once and for all Dow's position that it only causes chloracne.

So what did we learn about dioxin?:

Would also like to extend thanks to members of the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland Health Departments for attending the afternoon meeting with Dr. Birnbaum at the Saginaw County Health Department. Several people who were not in public health asked to come to the meeting at the Sag. Co. Health Depart. and I had to refuse them. Time and focus did not permit a large group of people attending. The evening meeting was well attended open and transparent. No one was stopped from speaking or handing out material or coming to the microphone. It remains our position that only through an honest discussion about science, dioxin and Dow's dioxin contamination of our watershed that will we come to an agreeable resolution for all parties. We hope to announce our next guest in our Speakers Series, Dioxin in the Saginaw Bay Watershed in the near future. Stay tuned! Is the use of Toxic Equivalency Factors theoretical ? This question was submitted to Dr. Birnbaum who said no and defended the use of TEF to determine the toxicity of a mixture of chemical compounds that make up the various dioxin compounds. She stated TEF's were not theoretical nor was the application of them by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for cleanup criteria. The use of TEF's is used widely across the country. This from Inside EPA November 2, 2004:

"The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences released a study Oct. 20 that found the pattern of cancer responses in a test group
exposed to a mixture of dioxins, PCBs and furans could be predicted based on the pattern of responses by three groups exposed to each chemical in the mixture. The researchers conclude that EPA reliance on "toxic equivalency factors" (TEFs) in evaluating mixtures of dioxin, PCBs and furans is valid. "These data support the use of the TEF approach for dioxin cancer risk assessments," according to the study."

Calling something theoretical like the use of TEF's or hypothetical like the use of the state's 90ppt standard is a baseless attempt to discredit science because you don't agree with it or you don't like the end results of its application, i.e. cleanup, decrease property values, park impairment.... MDEQ's use of TEF and 90ppt is intended to be protective of public health to avoid cancers. As Dr. Birnbaum said (earlier in the day) " you are not going to see dead bodies". Dioxin Degradation In Sunlight We keep hearing from Dow and that dioxin breaks down in sunlight. In fact we found out from the Michigan Farm Bureau that Dow shared this idea with them a few months ago. Two points need to be made: 1. Dioxin break down must be very,very, very slow (if at all) because one cannot claim sunlight breaks dioxin down and then state that Dow's dioxin is historical. After all how long should we have to wait for this poison to breakdown? 2. The high concentrations of dioxin found in the farm field at Greenpoint were taken off the very tip of a row of soil that had been sitting for months exposed to sunlight. According to the ATSDR Toxicological profile for chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (Section 5.3.2 )TRANSFORMATION AND DEGRADATION :

The loss of 2,3,7,8-TCDD in contaminated soil has been studied under natural conditions in experimental plots at the Dioxin Research Facility, Times Beach, Missouri (Yanders et al. 1989). The 2,3,7,8-TCDD concentration profiles of sample cores taken at Times Beach in 1988 were virtually the same as those in cores taken in 1984. The authors concluded that the loss of 2,3,7,8-TCDD due to photolysis at Times Beach was minimal in the 4 years covered by the study (Yanders et al. 1989). Estimates of the half-life of TCDD on the soil surface range from 9 to 15 years, whereas the half-life in subsurface soil may range from 25 to 100 years (Paustenbach et al. 1992).

DEQ Dow Focus Group Meetings Lone Tree Comments on the Framework

Submitted April 7th 2005 to DEQ ( C. Howe) Horizons Conference Center


Why did the State and Dow go behind closed doors to the exclusion of everyone else?

We were told Dow’s consultants do not like the DEQ CAP. Is this influencing your decision to not reconvene the DEQ CAP?

Why was the framework not brought to the public and the DEQ CAP before it was signed? The Lt. Governor stated in his November 4th Press Release that he would do this. Why didn’t it happen?

We have been told the Framework is a better alternative than going to court with Dow. We have been told that Dow threatened to sue the state. On what grounds?

Pursuant to Dow’s License, Dow is required to submit Scopes of Work and a detailed Compliance Schedule. Where are they in the Framework?

How does the Framework address the EPA’s RCRA Corrective Action Environmental Indicator goal of

" no significant human exposures"?

Director Chester stated in Jan. 2002 that the Dow Corrective Action License was the mechanism by which Dow was legally bound to address their contamination. Yet the Scopes of Work are in limbo and the aggressive timelines established have been derailed. Why? Section XI 3(b) states, "The SOW must describe the proposed phasing and prioritization of work in a schedule based on consideration of potential risk to human health and the environment". Dow’s license was issued almost two years ago? Where is the schedule?

In December of 2003 Dow was issued of NOD on their Scopes of Work. In February 2004 Dow resubmitted their SOWs and DEQ has yet to respond. Why? The Scopes of Work are part of the license.

The Scopes of Work are mandatory pursuant to Dow’s license. Is DEQ going to require them? If so when? If not isn’t that a modification of the license, subject to public hearings?

The Dow License states that the IRA’s will be issued in a timely manner. What’s a timely manner?

The Framework identifies signs to be posted at parks in Saginaw County but not in Midland. Why?

We are three years into this contamination of the Tittabawassee River and the state thinks " focus groups" are important? How so? Are you disappointed in the lack of progress in protecting public health?

Had legislators, led by Representative Moolenaar, not threatened to introduce legislation to stop dioxin testing, raise the RDCC to 1,000ppt, eliminate the hazardous waste division of DEQ which oversees Dow Chemical, cut the DEQ budget would we be holding these " Focus Groups" today?

Or, would the schedule for SOW, IRA’s and RI be in progress? Would activities reflect the license?

The Framework says, "alleged releases" by Dow Chemical. How is that consistent with the license which clearly states Dow is responsible for these chemical releases?

Under what authority does the DEQ arbitrarily use 1,000ppt for cleanup since it clearly is not found in Michigan law? State law says the standard protective of public health is 90ppt. DEQ defended the use of 90 ppt until the closed door negotiations with Dow. What happened?


Best Regards,

Michelle Hurd Riddick

Lone Tree Council