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TRW Archives 2003, 1st quarter 1/1/03 - 3/31/03

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3/25/03  Press Release: Environmental class action lawsuit against Dow Chemical 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ---- March 25, 2003

STUEVE HELDER SIEGEL LLP SUES THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY FOR DIOXIN POLLUTION IN SAGINAW COUNTY, MICHIGAN

For complete details and contact information, click here

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3/21/03  Public parks posted with misleading information by Saginaw County Department of Public Health.

Local High School coach is concerned about  cross country team members  health

Recently, the  Michigan Bureau of Epidemiology sent a letter to the Health Director or Saginaw County asking him to change the misleading signs in our parks.  

 "Specifically, While these signs are more durable than those previously posted, they are not consistent with those previously agreed upon. Specifically, the current signs state that dioxin contamination has been found only near the river. The admonishments to "stay off the riverbank" or "stay on the trail" printed in bold at the top of the signs do not adequately convey the nature of the hazard presented by dioxin contamination in the soil nor the distribution of contaminated soils throughout the park. No signs were posted at West Michigan Park.    I would like to ask once again that you install large durable signs that accurately reflect the nature of the public health hazard presented by dioxin contamination in soil in these parks. Signs should be posted in all areas of Imerman Park and West Michigan Park where dioxin and dioxin-like contaminants have been found at levels exceeding the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Residential Soil Cleanup Criterion of 90 parts per trillion (ppt). "

  Below is the agreed upon signage.
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Note signs actually posted (below) imply eating dirt over a long period of time is the source of exposure.  Dow and the Saginaw County Health Department seem to be the only entities promoting this concept.    The Michigan Department of Agriculture and the EPA indicate dust inhalation, hand to mouth activity, and direct contact are also major sources in areas known to be contaminated with Dioxin.  TRW recommends words to the effect:   "Avoid inhalation of Dust"  be added to the above sign and that this amended sign be used to replace all current signs immediately before dusty conditions develop.

Almost all of the soil in Imerman Park  is contaminated, however our Department of Health  instruct  the public to stay off the river banks and to stay on the trails as if this will protect them.  
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Based on the photo below, which sign indicates the greater hazard (Hint: the dioxin sign is the little yellow one in the background)?

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Tittabawassee Township parks

ALL signs have been taken down in Freeland Festival Park (below).  This park had the some of the highest levels of dioxin found in the Phase 2 sampling process.   Is this action part of a Tittabawassee Townships board members "Dioxin My Ass" campaign?

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3/17/03  Publication confirms source of dioxin in Tittabawassee Flood Plain

    Concentrations of PCDD/PCDF in sediments and flood-plain soils from the Tittabawassee
     watershed were comparable to those found in industrialized areas such as the Housatonic and
     lower Passaic Rivers in the U.S.  Environ Sci Technol 2003 Feb 1;37(3):468-74


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3/10/03  Response to County Commissioner Dioxin Update

"Contrary to Dow's statements, dioxin is one of the most studied chemicals to date.  EPA will not ascribe a "safe level" for exposure. The precautionary principle of public health is being ignored in Saginaw County and in Midland County."...........

"Saginaw County Health Department came out early and incorrectly in support of the Dow funded Health Study. Volumes of highly critical comments from ATSDR, EPA, DEQ, and DCH were released on the Dow Health study and the accompanying bioavailability study that tied clean up to human exposure. In the end the only support for the health study was DOW and the two local health departments. WHY?.....

As we remain engaged we must never forget that these pieces of property, public and private belong to the people as do all the resources of this watershed. We are all responsible to each other to do this right. Dow has no right to trespass with their dioxin on our communities or our bodies. Collectively, we will find our voices and we will be heard. I know many of the members of the Board of Commissioners and I know them to be a decent body of men and women willing to listen. So let's start talking. Much appreciation to Commissioner Kahn for his update and response. "....

Click here for the entire reponse by Michelle Hurd RIddick of the Lone Tree Council

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3/6/03  County Commisioner Dioxin Update

"The county at this time has not changed its position. That position is to seek a risk
exposure study and health assessment. Closure on the dioxin issue is not expected
for some time." 

Click here for the  entire update by   Roger Kahn, Commissioner of  the Townships of
Kochville, Saginaw (south part), and Tittabawassee.  

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2/23/03  Corporate strategy - The polluters not so secret plan

An interesting article on how corporations control the public's perception of chemical
contamination.  Sixteen tactics are listed,   read the article  and see if you can identify how
many are being used in the Tittabawasse River Flood Plain Dioxin Contamination fiasco.  
If you get less than 10, review the rest of this web site and try again.  The other 6 will probably
show up sooner or later.

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2/14/03  TRW / Lone Tree Council Dioxin Update

Next Meeting is Monday, February 17th- 6pm at GreenPoint Nature Center on Maple off W. Michigan
Please plan on attending!!!!  Call 781-4518 for information

Other News:

   How Irresponsible can Dow Get?      New Day for the People  
    Public Comment Period Extended    Dow Letters in the Mail

For the full story, click here

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1/31/03  Risk Characterization of Dioxins - Latest EPA Information

The above is an excerpt from Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. 53 page slide show used during her Dioxin presentations around the country.   Dr. Birnbaum is the EPA's Director of the Experimental Toxicology Division. 

Topics on the "the most toxic man-made compund" include recent findings of Dioxins effects in people including cancer, & non-cancer effects, key findings of the EPA Reassment Exposure Document, exposure pathways, body burdens associated with effects, and many more.
Click here to start.

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1/26/03 Public Notice Dow Hazardous Waste Facility Operating LIcense

An additional 30 days notice for public comment on the Hazardous Waste Facility Operating License for the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan has been granted by the MDEQ.  The comment period expires February 26, 2003.

Please submit your comments and get them on record while the opportunity exists.   Comments must be postmarked by February 26, 2003 and sent to: Ms. Cheryl Howe, MDEQ, Waste Managment Division, POB 30241,  Lansing, MI  48909-7741.    Email Cheryl Howe for further information: howec@michigan.gov

The draft license or a supporting fact sheet can be viewed   on the MDEQ web site .  These are large pdf files, be patient when downloading.

Food for thought:

bulletComments regarding the longer list of exposure pathways (air, soil, water, wind, dust, etc.)  will be important.  Dow has tried to limit these pathways to soils only
bulletDow has not proven conclusively that dioxin emissions are not leaving their site in
Midland (emissions all historical). The DEQ has not been able to verify Dow's air
sampling in Midland so they have to take Dow's word.
bulletIn the mid-eighties the EPA expressed concerns about track-out from the Dow
site, resuspension of contaminated soils, wind-blown soils, gardening and
other activities that disturb the soil, the need for sampling of homegrown
produce, and dioxin in indoor dust.
bulletWe do not have a comprehensive list of exposure pathways or enough sampling
results to fully characterize the risks. Intervention by Dow and complicity
by the previous DEQ administration has prevented the DEQ staff from
developing a comprehensive plan to address these issues... and more.
bulletDownstream residents should consider all of these pathways as well as private
drinking water wells.
bulletFor indoor dust it is possible for the DEQ to take samples from vacuum
cleaner bags. They did this in the Hemlock study.

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1/25/03 Toxic Releases and Health Effects

Toxic chemicals linked to severe health problems continue to be released in massive quantities nationwide. 

"Each year, industrial facilities nationwide release hundreds of millions of pounds of chemicals linked to cancer, to developmental and reproductive problems, and to neurologic and respiratory disorders into the nation’s air and water. Yet, communities in the shadow of industrial acilities typically have access to only limited information on how these discharges may be affecting their health.

Yet, for any particular community, understanding the potential health threats that could result from toxic releases is a nearly impossible task. Public health officials often lack sufficient understanding of how citizens have been exposed to toxic substances, how those substances work within the body, and how many people have contracted chronic disease within a community to render conclusive judgments as to whether particular toxic exposures have led—or can lead—to increases in disease"

The above is an exceprt of a report mentioned in a 1/22/02  USPIRG Press Release.  The report (a very large PDF file), is titled "Toxic Releases and Health: A Review of Pollution Data and Current Knowledge on the Healht Effects of Toxic Chemicals".  Read the Press Relase for a condensed version.  The full report can be a great tool to help analyze the Toxic Release Inventory maintained by the EPA.   The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) only covers toxic releases of less than one percent of the estimated 80,000 chemicals in commerce today.   Further, TRI covers only releases from the largest facilities in a limited number of industries. As a result, releases of potentially  health-threatening releases of toxic chemicals are greater than are reported to TRI. (i.e. the Tittabawasse River Flood Plain)

Note that the reports most recent data is from the year 2000.  The Tittabawassee River Flood Plain dioxin contmaination was not revealed to the public until January 2002 and is not reflected in the report.  However, Dow Chemical is listed as the top contributor to dioxin releases in the nation for the year 2000, more than 500 grams higher then the next highest company on the list (Southwire Co.), see page 26, table 27.    

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1/17/03 The new MDEQ?

Note: on January 1, 2003, Jennifer Granholm replaced John Engler as governor of Michigan.  Many of the political appointees that drove the campaign to cover-up the dioxin contamination left with Engler.  It's to early to tell if the new administration will take the citizens side in these matters, however, recent news out of the  MDEQ indicate a change may be coming.  We will wait and see...

The content of this site referring to all of the deceit and collusion  between Dow and the MDEQ will remain for a  historical perspective. Future developments will hopefully be in stark contrast to the past.

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1/15/03 DOW MYTH...1 ppb dioxin "Safe Level"

Editorial:
There are many misleading statements in Dow's recent press information
packet on dioxin. This packet was also distributed to Dow employees.

One of these myths has been to use the clean up standard of 1 part per
billion and call it "safe" or protective of public health. This is not true or accurate information.
Unfortunately the media and some of the local health officials have repeated
this myth without investigating the history or the current science.
.....

Read the entire comment, click here

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1/14/03  Site search capabilities added .

Click on the Search Trw Site link at the top of the  Contents window and enter key words or phrases.

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1/8/03  Dow still wants higher dioxin level, health study

Here we go again.  Barely 2 weeks after the the illegal CACO was killed, Dow is planning to petition the new MDEQ for items like higher dioxin clean up levels and a study of residents health.   State clean up level for Dioxin is 90 ppt, Dow was asking for 831 ppt.  A health study is not required before clean up begins yet Dow wants one included.  Why?   The answer might be that they know it will come back inconclusive and relieve them of responsibility for the contamination.  Click here

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1/7/03  Health Studies -  Another communities experience

Are Health Studies conclusive?  Not in Pensacola Florida.  Click here

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bulletSee newspaper articles for information dating back to January 2002.  Click here
bulletFor additional archived information, click here
 

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