Dioxin Update

June 2004 #11

Next meeting of the Lone Tree Council and TRW


Legislative Update

MDEQ Budget Cuts -- Full House cuts general fund support for MDEQ budget by 15% - Reinstates Hazardous Waste Management Program

Weaken Dioxin Standard -- A bill to weaken dioxin cleanup standard scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in House Government Operations Committee. This bill is an attempt to ignore twenty years worth of study on dioxin -- and weaken the Michigan standard to a level to which we would expect a tenfold increase in cancer deaths.

Just so the irony is not lost on anyone. This from Moolenaar's republican caucus agenda on their website:

" Clean water and healthy Great Lakes are essential to keeping Michigan a great place to live or visit. From fighting dangerous nuisance species that destroy our environment to cleaning polluted lakes and beaches, we will work to ensure our water is safe and clean for Michigan's families."

Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Moolenaar! 1,000ppt of dioxin in our yards, parks and rivers does not protect the Great Lakes, wildlife or people. It only protects Dow Chemical. You can call it "sound science" but we know it's political pandering at its worst. YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE AWAY TOXICITY


Turning Up The Political Pressure

Congressman Camp will be paying a visit to Dr. Falk at ATSDR on Monday the 14th of June in Atlanta. Sound Science has nothing to do with issue. It's always been about politics Read the stories at the end of this update.

Where were all these legislators, Dow or the City of Midland when Dow's license was issued? Every law and standard they want to change was in the license and not one of them contested it!


Michigan Taxpayers Funding 800,000 Study for Dow Chemical

When Michigan voters passed the Clean Initiative Bond in the late 1990s the intent was that the money would fund cleanup around contaminated sites. Legislation introduced by Rep. Moolenaar would appropriate 800,000 dollars of CMI money to do a Bio-availablity study on dioxin absorption. Gee, you think this is the same Bio-availablity study Dow put in the 2002 Consent Order to raise the standard in Midland to 831ppt. WHY ARE THE TAXPAYERS PAYING FOR A STUDY FOR A MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY? THE CMI SAYS THAT THE PUBLIC WILL NOT INCUR COSTS WHEN THERE IS A VIABLE AND RESPONSIBLE PARTY-------------THAT WOULD BE DOW------------RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POLLUTION AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CLEANUP AND THE COST.



Why the ATSDR 1,000 ppt Standard is NOT appropriate as a state residential cleanup standard

The ATSDR 1,000 ppt was calculated based on a 1984 assessment by the Centers for Disease Control that is NOT consistent with the current assessment of dioxins cancer hazard

The 1,000 ppt level was NOT derived as a "safe" level. It was thought to be a level that could be associated with health effects. Cleanup levels are traditionally set at levels BELOW those thought to cause health effects. Therefore, it is not accurate to suggest that levels below 1,000 ppt pose no risk.

Referring to the ATSDR 1,000 ppt level as a cleanup level is not accurate. The 1,000 ppt level is NOT used by ATSDR for that purpose.

The 1,000 ppt level was NOT developed to serve as a standard for cleanup for residential areas

The 1,000 ppt level does NOT represent a line between safe and unsafe conditions, although it has been used in that way

The EPA has been reviewing dioxins toxicity for more than 10 years. Their review has been repeatedly peer-reviewed, but political wrangling and the power of the chemical industry have prevented its release. The draft document concludes that dioxin is more toxic than previously thought

If the EPA reassessment were released, the states cleanup standard would be more stringent, not weaker, based on a new interpretation of studies on dioxins toxicity. The state standard would be between 12 and 53 ppt.

The 1,000 ppt level does NOT consider non-cancer health effects that may occur when people are exposed to dioxin at even lower levels than those associated with cancer. The most sensitive endpoint for dioxins toxicity is thought to be neurobehavioral impacts.

If the state were to use the 1,000 ppt standard, the issue of dioxins toxicity will continue to plague the state. When the Dioxin Reassessment is finalized, the EPA will again look at sites and reassess previous actions to determine if they are protective. So a cleanup to 1,000 ppt today will not guarantee that the issue will go away. It could just keep coming up unless contamination is cleaned up to a reasonable and legitimate standard.

Cleanup levels in different states and regions in the US:

Region III EPA

(Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia), 4.3 ppt TCDD

Region IX EPA

(Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii), 3.9 ppt

Oregon, 3.9 ppt

Massachusetts, 4.0 ppt

North Carolina, 4.1 ppt

Georgia, 4.8 ppt

Washington, 8.7 ppt

Florida, 7.0 ppt

Iowa, 14 ppt

Arizona, 38 ppt

Michigan, 90 ppt

Pennsylvania, 120 ppt

Minnesota, 200 ppt

US EPA was not able to identify for LTC any state in the union that subjects there residents or most vulnerable populations to (children) to a level of 1,000ppt for soils in their backyards.

Lone Tree Council doc. 2004


The New York Times

April 1, 1983


The Environmental Protection Agency reported today that it had found more than 40 toxic organic compounds, including dioxins, in the waste water that the Dow Chemical Company pumps into the Tittabawassee River in Michigan.

Catfish placed for four weeks in special cages in the river near one of Dow's outfalls absorbed nearly 14 times as much of the most potent form of dioxin as did similar fish placed just upstream from the plant in Midland, Mich. Similarly, water samples taken at the outfall contained more than five times the concentration of the chemical as samples taken upstream. The company pumps millions of gallons of waste water into the stream daily.

According to E.P.A. officials, the findings provide the hardest evidence yet that, despite Dow's denials, the plant is a significant source of contamination in nearby waters. As such, they furnish new ammunition to the E.P.A. and Michigan in their long effort to impose new effluent controls on Dow............................................


The Washington Post

June 2, 1983
Dow Planning $3 Million Program to Allay Fears Over Dioxins
By Ward Sinclair, Washington Post Staff Writer

The Dow Chemical Co. announced yesterday that it will spend $3 million on independent studies to show what it already believes--that there is no danger to humans from trace levels of dioxins, poisonous byproducts of the production of some chemicals.

President Paul F. Oreffice, presiding at a heavily attended briefing in the Dow headquarters television studio, conceded that the program is aimed as much at quieting public fears as it is in producing new science..........................................................


Time Magazine

May 2, 1983, U.S. Edition

Dioxin Puts Dow on the Spot;
Memos of 1965 meeting hint at company's fears

On a chilly morning in March 1965, a highly unusual gathering took place at Dow Chemical Co.'s headquarters in Midland, Mich. Without any corporate fanfare, Dow scientists met with colleagues from three rival firms, Hooker Chemical, Diamond Alkali and Hercules Powder. On the agenda that day was a discussion of the effects on human health of a family of chemicals known as dioxin. The chemicals, including Agent Orange, later used by the U.S. to defoliate the jungles of Viet Nam, are an unwanted byproduct in the making of herbicides. At the time, most chemists were only vaguely aware of dioxin, or its problems. But Dow had just experienced an outbreak of dioxin poisoning among workers in Midland. It wanted to sound a private alert to prevent similar incidents at other chemical plants, including those of its competitors.

Last week this seemingly generous gesture of good will came back to haunt Dow. According to a report in the New York Times, memorandums from participants in that almost forgotten session indicate that Dow's objective may not have been corporate benevolence. Rather, the documents show, the meeting appears to have been part of an effort to keep discoveries about dioxin's perils from exploding into a public scandal, which could have brought a new outcry for governmental regulation of the chemical industry. Wrote a participant from Hercules Powder: "The [Dow] are particularly fearful of a congressional investigation and excessive restrictive legislation on the manufacture of pesticides."...........................


The New York Times

March 25, 1983

By ROBERT REINHOLD, Special to the New York Times

Officials at the Washington headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency intervened in behalf of the Dow Chemical Company in 1981 to prevent agency investigators from testing waste water inside the grounds of the company's plant in Midland, Mich., according to present and former officials of the agency's regional office here.

Thwarted, the investigators had to resort to testing the waters outside the plant after discharge, a procedure they considered much less satisfactory since any pollutants would be diluted by river water and more difficult to detect. The testing was made in an effort to obtain information that the company had refused to provide voluntarily.............................


The Washington Post

March 16, 1983
Dow Got to Suggest Dioxin Report Changes
By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Staff Writer

John W. Hernandez Jr., acting director of the Environmental Protection Agency, allowed Dow Chemical Co. to suggest changes in a 1981 draft EPA report that largely blamed Dow for dioxin contamination in two rivers in Michigan, according to EPA documents.

After receiving Dow's comments, EPA officials deleted statements linking dioxin to cancer and birth defects, as well as the agency's conclusion that "Dow's discharge represented the major source, if not the only source, of dioxin contamination" in two rivers near Dow's plant in Midland, Mich.

The 1981 study was made as Michigan citizen groups were urging the EPA to restrict the levels of dioxin in the area's water, soil and air.

The EPA has taken no action in Michigan to regulate dioxin, a poisonous chemical produced in the manufacture of herbicides, although the agency last month offered to buy the homes of 2,400 residents in the dioxin-contaminated town of Times Beach, Mo.

Rep. James H. Scheuer (D-N.Y.), chairman of a Science and Technology subcommittee, said yesterday that Hernandez "personally intervened at EPA to allow Dow . . . to alter a draft report and suppress all references to Dow's responsibility for dangerous levels of dioxin contamination in and around its plant."...............................


Twenty years later and for Dow it is still about smoke and mirrors, more studies, manipulating the political system and finding politicians willing to shill for them -----------------science be damned! Sound Science is any science that Dow produces. Junk Science is any science that holds Dow accountable.

It is unconscionable that Dow Chemical or any legislator should decide how much dioxin is to be tolerated in our bodies. Let alone to suggest a number (1,000ppt) that they cannot produce the supporting science for. These people have no shame! Will keep you posted and thank for the e-mails and requests for information that have come our way!

More later,

Michelle Hurd Riddick

Lone Tree Council

"The simple truth is that Michigan has always been and will always be a "quality of life" state. The truth is that the quality of human life in Michigan depends on nature. The natural beauty of Michigan is much more than a source of pleasure or recreation. It shapes our values, molds our attitudes, feeds our spirits................. " Governor William Milliken August 2002

Dont forget to check out the theriverspeaks.blogspot.com


Source: www.trwnews.net

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 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.