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TRW Archives 2003 2nd quarter 04/01/03 - 06/30/03

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6/27/03 A word of caution:   A "Health Study" is not being conducted this summer

Recent media reports might lead one to believe that a comprehensive, properly planned and funded
Dioxin Health & Exposure Study is going to take place this summer.  This is not the case.

And further more, a Health Study is NOT required before cleanup/remediation begins.  While a Health Study may improve our understanding of dioxin and it's impact on human heath, it will not make anyone living in the flood plain safer or reduce their exposure to it.  Health studies can take years to conduct.   Precautionary principles dictate that we identify the contaminated areas now and remediate as they are found to protect those affected.  Especially children.   Establishing medical monitoring for all residents in the affected areas will lead to the early detection & possible intervention of dioxin related health issues.

The small sampling of 25 individuals mentioned by Dr. Wade of the MDCH at the Freeland High
School public meeting on 6/24/03 is being conducted to assist in the planning of a comprehensive
Health Study.  Thats all it is, a tool, nothing more. 

The good news is that they may discover a few individuals with elevated dioxin levels and initiate remedial action immediately.   However, finding "normal" levels proves nothing as the number of samples does not statistically represent the former and current resident population during the entire span of time the dioxin has been present.  Dioxin accumulates in the body, a single dose can remain in tissues for 7-14 years.  Someone buying contaminated property 2 years ago may not have been exposed to the same level as someone who lived in the same house for the prior 20 years.   The people who lived in the area and moved out must be included in a comprehensive health study as should a community known to have "normal background " dioxin levels.  The population most sensitive to dioxin exposure, children, will not be tested in this small sampling.   There are probably hundreds other reasons why this small sampling must not be construed as a "Health Study".

There is also a good chance the results of a "Comprehensive Heatlh Study " will come back as indeterminate because of the statistically small sample size of estimated 2000 residents of the flood plain.  In other words, waiting 5 years for the results of a health study may prove nothing and the people living in the contaminated areas will have yet another 5 years of dioxin accumulation in their bodies.

We feel that the MDCH must be crystal clear when communicating the results of the 25 sample study and the conclusions that can be drawn from them.  They must take the extra time to explain the significance of the results (25 sample vs. comprehensive health study) in all publications,  meetings, and media interviews.  There is great danger here that the polluter will misrepresent the findings of this extremely small study and further confuse the issue. 

The various agencies of the the State of Michigan (MDCH, MDEQ, etc.) are to be commended in
their attempts to regain the trust of it's citizens.  The establishment of a "Tri-County Project Coordination & Community Involvement Plan" will hopefully provide citizen oversight of the Health Study development.     Citizens involvement will also ensure that the polluter does not have adverse influence on  it's outcome.

Additional insight into the Heatlh Study controversay can be found in the links below:

Health study not the answer
Barriers to a credible health study
Response to County Commissioner Status Update
Dow Myth: 1 ppb dioxin is safe


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6/25/03 MDEQ Dioxin Public Meeting updates

Dioxin notice alters sales
Dioxin testing progresses
Input sought on Dow License, Saginaw Bay Watershed contamination

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6/25/03 MDEQ Final Report Phase II Sampling Study available

Final report June 2003:  Phase II Tittabawassee/Saginaw River Dioxin Flood Plain Sampling Study confirms previous findings .  A few snippets appear below, click here to view the entire study (49 page pdf file)  (

XIII. Conclusions  (page 40)

Most of the soil samples that were collected from within the estimated 100-year flood plain downstream of Midland are contaminated with dioxin above the Part 201 RDCC (Residential Direct Contact Criteria).  The highest Phase II dioxin concentration, 3,400 ppt TEQ, was encountered at Freeland Festival Park, seven miles downstream of Midland. A dioxin concentration of 1,400 ppt TEQ was identified approximately 22 miles downstream of Midland at a Riverside Boulevard property. The DEQ believes that the following conclusions can be drawn from the Phase I, Phase II, and DEQ Sediment Study and USACE Sediment Assessment data sets:  ....

XIV. Recommendations  (page 45)

Investigation Activities

Over the past two years, samples were collected at a total of 17 sample sites along three rivers from an area extending eight miles upstream of Midland to approximately twentytwo miles downstream of Midland at the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers. The information generated from these investigation activities has provided a general understanding of the concentration and distribution of dioxin within flood plain soil and river sediments. Additional information is needed to better understand dioxin distribution within certain areas of the Tittabawassee River flood plain, establish the vertical extent of the dioxin contamination, and identify the downstream extent of the contamination. These investigation activities should be coordinated with off-site corrective action required by the Dow Part 111 hazardous waste and corrective action operating license. Recommended investigation activities include the following:.....

Interim Response Activities

The Phase II study has confirmed that residential and public use properties located within the estimated 100-year flood plain downstream of Midland, and sampled as part of the study, contain significant concentrations of dioxin that exceed the Part 201 RDCC. The highest concentration identified at a public park area was over 40 times the Part 201RDCC. The highest concentration identified at a residential property was nearly 20 times the RDCC. The pervasiveness of dioxin contamination found at locations sampled within the flood plain suggests that similar contamination conditions exist at other properties located within the flood plain. Interim response activities need to be implemented that immediately address the health risk presented by soil dioxin contamination on residential and public use of flood plain property. Recommended interim response activities include the following (only 2 of many appear below): ....

Unacceptable exposures to dioxin contaminated soils in public areas (e.g., parks and boat launches) should be eliminated....

Human consumption of game (e.g., deer and turkey) residing on the 100-year flood plain should be evaluated to determine if there is a human health concern....

Public Information

Public information meetings should be regularly scheduled with affected residents and local government officials to ensure adequate discussion of information and to provide adequate access to Department staff....

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6/23/03 Dow Dioxin Lawsuit update

Judge reviews dioxin suit

Dioxin suit status up to judge

Hearing today on dioxin lawsuit

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6/20/03 Dow Dioxin Suit Scheduling Hearing Monday 6/23 10 a.m. Saginaw County Court

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6/19/03 MDEQ updates 2000+ residents with mass mailing
Residents of the Tittabawasse Flood Plain should have received an informational packet in the
mail today including the following:

bulletTittabawassee/Saginaw River flood plain information bulletin #3
bulletDEQ supplemental advisory regarding Part 201 requirements for dioxin contaminated
property
bulletSoil movement advisory for private, public, and commercial projects.

Information Bulletin #3 
-
Click here to view actual document in pdf format

bulletPublic information meeting scheduled at Freeland High School June 24 @ 7:00 p.m.
bulletPhase II Report - available on or about June 24 at www.michigan.gov/deq, area
libraries, local city, township, and county government offices, and the DEQ district
office in Bay City.
bulletSoil Movement Advisory - defines boundaries of flood plain and warns moving soil is
hazardous and doing so may make you liable under Part 201 for cleanup.
bulletEcological Risk Assessment - Sample results of Tittabawassee River fish down stream of
Midland found elevated levels of dioxin in fish tissues for all species in the area.   To
view latest MDEQ Fish Advisory data, click here to load a large pdf file and then go to
page 22 for Tittabawassee River information.  Women and children should not eat carp,
catfish, small mouth bass, or white bass caught from this river due to the Dioxin and
PCB contamination.  Meals of all other species of fish from this river should be limited
to one per month.
bulletDow Hazardous Waste Facility Operating License - License was issued June 12, 2003 and
will be discussed at the June 24 Freeland High School Meeting.
bulletHealth Consultations - the MDCH is continuing its efforts to respond to the ATSDR
petitioners and local residents concerns regarding the public health risks posed by
dioxin contamination of flood plain and river sediments.
bulletPhase III Soil and Sediment Sampling - 1. needed to better understand dioxin distribution
within certain areas of the T.River flood plain, 2. to establish the vertical extent of the
dioxin contamination, and 3. identify the downstream extent of the contamination. 
Sampling will occur in Summer of 2003. Based on current data, it appears likely that
dioxin contamination has migrated from the Tittabawassee River into the Saginaw
River and the inner portion of the Saginaw Bay
.   
bulletPublic Access - DEQ main need to gain access to private property to implement
post-Phase II investigation activities.

MDEQ Supplemental Advisory: Part 201 applicable to Property contaminated by Dioxin
-
Click here to view actual document in pdf format

bulletAll locations where dioxin concentrations exceed the residential cleanup requirements
of Part 201 are considered a "Facility". 
bulletAll property within the 100-year flood plain downstream of the City of Midland that is
frequently flooded by the Tittabawassee River is a "Facility" (whether residential,
public,  or commercial)
bulletSection 20116 of the NREPA requires that a person who has knowledge or
information that his or her property is a 'facility' must disclose to any person
acquiring an interest in the property the general nature and extent of the
contamination.
bulletDue Care responsibilities - if you own contaminated property, you have certain  
responsibilities to assure that the use of that property occurs in a manner that protects
public health and safety. 
bulletRestrictions on relocation of contemned soil -  don't even think about moving soil until
you contact the DEQ.

Soil Movement Advisory for Private, public and commercial projects
- Click here to view actual document in pdf format.

bulletAreas of concern
bulletMinor household soil movement activities
bulletMajor household soil movement activities
bulletCommercial soil movement activities
bulletSediment dredging activities
bulletCommercial or large scale farming

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6/18/03  Dioxin Health Impact Science Update

bulletNational Toxicology Program Lists Dioxin As a Known Human Carcinogen
bulletDioxin Linked To Diabetes
bulletCancer Rates in Seveso Are Up
bulletDioxin Levels In Food Are NOT Going Down

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6/12/03  U.S. House voting to on law to revoke class action rules in every state

Urgent:  click on the link below and send a fax to your representative and senators

The House will vote on H.R. 1115, which would effectively revoke the
class action rules in every state by sending class action cases to
federal court. The Senate may vote on a similar bill (S. 274) in coming
weeks.
Click here for more info and a link to send a fax through the internet, do it NOW

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6/12/03  Lone Tree / TRW Dioxin Update

Next Meeting is this Monday June16 at 6pm at GreenPoint

Click here for all the details, Topics include:
DEQ Meeting June 24th 7pm Freeland HS from Pat Lawton DEQ
TRiver Mail List
Interim Health Measures and Public Education
DEQ Budget
DOW LIST SERVE
Soil Testing Comments by Wendy Domino
Kathy Henry on the Class Action
Chemical and Engineering News interview Betty Damore
Dow License Update
Community Advisory Panel
FOIA

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6/9/03 Mr. Stravropoulis's quote

“Companies that don't meet their responsibilities to all their constituencies will have a difficult time. Responsible customers won't want to buy their products. Talented people won't want to work for them. Enlightened communities won't want them as neighbors, and wise investors won't entrust them with their economic futures.”

William Stavropoulis, Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical

quoted in “The Business of Business Managing Corporate Social Responsibility:What Business Leaders are Saying and Doing 2002-2007” Executive Overview –Publisher: Ethical Corporation

TRW Note:  We see the light !!!!

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6/4/03 New report supports association between Agent Orange and one form of chronic leukemia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON -- A re-evaluation of evidence now supports an association between exposure to herbicides used during the Vietnam War and the development of a specific form of leukemia in veterans, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. The report is the latest update in a series examining the health effects of defoliants -- including Agent Orange -- and chemicals that contaminate them. ...

The committee's congressionally mandated report also reaffirms findings from previous IOM updates. In addition to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and now CLL, there is sufficient evidence of a link between exposure to chemical defoliants or their contaminants and the development of soft-tissue sarcoma and chloracne in veterans. Also, scientific studies continue to offer limited or suggestive evidence of an association with other diseases in veterans -- including Type 2 diabetes, respiratory cancers, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma -- as well as the congenital birth defect spina bifida in veterans' children....

The ability of researchers to pinpoint the health risks faced by individual veterans is hampered by inadequate information about exposure levels of troops in Vietnam. Most information comes from studies of civilians who have been exposed on the job or in industrial accidents to herbicides or their contaminants. However, most veterans probably experienced lower levels of exposure than people who have worked with these chemicals over long periods in occupational or agricultural settings, and it is difficult to say precisely which troops may have been exposed to larger amounts.

Click here for the entire press release    Click here to read the entire 435 page report online

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5/30/03 Additional Dioxin Plaintiffs Sue Dow Chemical - Number Grows from 26 to 142

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5/24/03  Stone cold silence

That was the response of 900+ Dow shareholders to a speech delivered by a Tittabawassee River flood plain resident during their annual shareholder meeting on 5/8/03.  A statement made by another shareholder with a contrary opinion was met with wild applause.   Does this  reaction characterize Dow's shareholders commitment to the health and environment of this community?  Remember this attitude the next time you see a Dow ad preaching  warm and fuzzy platitudes on how concerned they are about your health and property. Their actions speak louder than words.

Click here for the full text of Betty Damores courageous speech

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5/22/03  MDCH Toxicologist: Public Health action is needed to prevent additional exposure

Linda Dykema, PhD, manager of the toxicology and response section of the Michigan Department of Community Health,  recently published in the Saginaw News an update on the dioxin contamination  of the Tittabawassee River and the City of Midland.  A few excerpts: 

bulletThe ATSDR dioxin screening level of 1000 parts per trillion "is used to assess the risk to human health and these levels may not be protective of fish, wildlife or the environment."
(TRW Note: click here   for background information of how others (not this article) cite 1 parts per billion (equivalent to 1000 parts per trillion) action level as something it is not)
bulletChildren are believed to consume about 200 milligrams of soil each day.
bulletIf a child lives where dioxin levels in soil are about 200 parts per trillion & and consumes 200 milligrams of soil per day, the child's intake of dioxin will be near or at the level at which health effects have been seen in laboratory animals. (TRW Note: average level dioxin found in MDEQ Phase 1 T.River floodplain soil was 998 ppt TEQ.   Phase 2 sampling averaged 799 ppt TEQ in soil actually located in floodplain downstream of Dow.  A residents yard had an average of 529 ppt and a high of 1,400 ppt.  Freeland Festival park had the highest level in Phase 2, 3,400 ppt.  This park has no warning signs posted.).
bulletStudies in human children in the Netherlands have associated low level exposure to dioxin with developmental effects such as thyroid and immune system deficiencies as well as altered cognition and behavior.  These effects occurred at levels of exposure similar to that of the average U.S. Citizen. 
bulletIt is NOT necessary to eat dioxin laden dirt with a spoon to become contaminated, dioxin can be absorbed through the skin (estimates range from 1-50% of dioxin in soil), dust and dirt particles filtered out by our nasal passages is swallowed.
bulletMany years can elapse between exposure to a chemical and the detection of diseases...For example, effects on reproduction may not be seen until exposed children grow up and begin having families of their own.
bullet27 years of research into the Seveso Italy dioxin accident have identified human health effects such as chloracne, increased risks for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, digestive and lymphohemopoietic cancer, soft-tissue sarcoma, and diabetes.
bulletDr Dykema supports a well-conducted health study to look at disease rates in our area.
(TRW Note:  TRW may support a health study, provided  there is absolutely no participation by Dow until after the results are released.  Then Dow can pay for it. Click here for tips on how NOT to conduct a health study, it may be impossible to prove anything because of the relatively small number of affected people)
bulletShe recommends the study not just look at cancer or physical birth defects, but also include other ailments such as diabetes, endometriosis, and effects on children such as learning disabilities.
bulletThe proposed exposure and health study is strictly a matter of good public health and should NOT be tied to any regulatory action by any state or federal environmental agency.
bulletDon't be afraid, but use precautions.  Keep informed and protect yourself and your children by following the Michigan Fish Advisory, cover children's play areas with clean soil, wash hands and toys frequently to remove contaminated soil.  (TRW Note: click here for other actions, that in TRW's opinion, can be done for the protection of your health and property)

For the full text of Dr. Dykema's article click on each of the links below in the order listed.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

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5/18/03  EPA Staff Criticizes Planned Focus on Scientific Review of Dioxin Study

EPA staff is criticizing a proposed Bush administration request to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review the agency's decade-long dioxin risk study, charging that the draft's focus on the scientific "uncertainties" of EPA's study is a misleading delay tactic.

Click here for details

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5/17/03  Dow responds to dioxin lawsuit

The Dow Chemical Co. disagrees with allegations that exposure to dioxin has placed the lives and health of Tittabawassee River floodplain homeowners in danger. It also disagrees with claims that homes have been made worthless by the presence of dioxin in the river and its floodplain.....

The plaintiffs lawyer, Jan Helder responds: Dow’s request to dismiss portions of the suit and deny others was expected.  "It shows Dow’s lack of recognition of the significance of the problem," Helder said. Dow’s claim that there have been no physical ailments related to dioxin exposure is "preposterous," he said, citing the example of a child living in the floodplain area who was born with a third ear.

Click here for the entire article as published in the Midland Daily News

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5/15/03  Lone Tree / TRW Dioxin Update

Next Meeting is this Monday May 19 at 6pm at GreenPoint

Click here for all the details, Topics include:

Dow Stockholder Meeting
Dow Shareholder's Resolution Passed
Soil Testing Stroeble Road
EQ Budget Disaster

Dow Spin
Dow License
Community Advisory Panel
Special Thanks to Dr. Joe Aquilina

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5/8/03  Dow Chemical shareholders challenge management on dioxin

Investors Seek Disclosure of Company's Unreported Environmental Liabilities(Boston, MA).   A shareholder resolution pending for the Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) May 8 annual meeting asks the company to report on its liabilitiesr elated to dioxin and other persistent toxic pollutants. The resolution is sponsored by Trillium Asset Management, an investment firm based in Boston.

Click here for the entire story

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4/30/03  Local TV News Coverage of Dow Dioxin lawsuit  available on-line

 Local TV station coverage of the Tittabawassee River floodplain dioxin contamination  lawsuit against Dow Chemical now viewable on line at the Stueve Helder Siegel lawfirm's website.    Follow the link below and scroll down to either the Channel 5 or Channel 12 video.   Available in Quicktime or MS Media Player formats:

                                        www.shslitigation.com/news.htm

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4/24/03  Images of 1986 Flood

The Bay City Times, in retrospect, summed up "The Flood" well by telling their readers to just scan the "D" listings in the dictionary,"its all there, Downpours, Drenching, Devastation and Disaster"!

In the fall of 1986, the Tittabawassee River as well as many other rivers in the state experienced what some call a "100 year flood'.  During this storm, the Dow Chemicals waste treatment plant was overwhelmed  and it's contents flushed into the Tittabawassee River and backyards of everyone down stream.  Click here for images from the past and a summary of the flood.

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4/23/03  If you own shares of Dow Stock, vote for agenda item #5 by May 8, 2003

Dow Chemical shareholders are being asked to vote on a resolution seeking a report to provide greater transparency and accountability on potential future liabilities related to dioxin and persistent toxics.

Significant new liabilities could be represented by new class action by Michigan residents alleging dioxin contamination, and lawsuits by Plaquemine, Louisiana residents alleging water contamination with vinyl chloride.

This action closely follows Dow’s announcement in December that identified long-term estimates of the costs of asbestos liabilities at recently acquired Union Carbide at $2.2 billion. Just as Dow management put off calculating its asbestos liabilities at Union Carbide, it has failed to assess potential risks and disclose its long-term dioxin liabilities.

This resolution asks the company to:

bulletAccount to investors for the array of costs and liabilities associated with dioxins and other persistent bioaccumulative toxics generated at Dow facilities and in Dow products.
bulletReport on its plans for remediation and for prevention of future risks.

The Dow opposition statement claims that its website on dioxin contains the needed information and the report requested in the resolution would be duplicative. This is not the case.

The Dow website does contain information on Dow's ongoing dioxin emissions, and progress in reducing emissions; and limited data on dioxin contamination in Midland, Michigan and New Plymouth, NZ.

The Dow website does NOT:

bulletProvide projections, similar to Dow’s new asbestos calculations, on the largest potential dioxin liabilities and market risks.
bulletInform investors on the extent of contamination at existing Dow facilities or quantify the associated long-term liabilities as requested in the resolution.

Just as Dow management put off calculating its asbestos liabilities at Union Carbide, it has failed to assess potential risks and disclose its long-term dioxin liabilities.

According to the environmental plaintiffs that blocked the weakened standards for Midland, cleanup of the area "could be one of the largest corporate pollution cases since the EPA ordered General Electric last year to pay $500 million to dredge PCBs from the Hudson River."

SEND A MESSAGE TO DOW'S MANAGEMENT

bulletReduce Liability
bulletReport Dioxin Risks & Response Plans
bulletImprove Disclosure and Accountability
bulletProtect Long-Term Shareholder Value

         VOTE FOR AGENDA ITEM #5

Click here to read the Report on Dioxin Risks & Liability Agenda item #5

Extensive background information concerning this proposal can be found at Proxyinformation.com which is the source of this information.

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4/19/03  Lone Tree Council Dioxin Update

Next Meeting is Monday, April 21- 6pm at GreenPoint Nature Center on Maple off W. Michigan
Please plan on attending!!!! 

Other News:

    MDEQ/MDCH Meetings                              ATSDR
    Soil Testing                                             Dow Health Study
    Saginaw County Department of Public Health
    Diane Hebert quiz of the day

For the full story, click here

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4/19/03 Dioxin factsheet on contamination of the Tittabawassee  & it's floodplain

Click here for an excellent  fact sheet on Dow's contamination of the Tittabawassee River
and floodplain with dioxin as published on the Resources page of the Justice for Bhopal, a
student group at the University of Michigan. 

Click here for their website:  www.umich.edu/~bhopal

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4/19/03 Student body of U of M demand Dow clean up Tittabawassee & Bhopal

The Michigan Student Assembly, representing the 39,000 student body of the University of Michigan demands that Dow take responsibility for its own pollution, and clean up the contamination in Bhopal and the Tittabawassee River.  

Click here for the details

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4/18/03 Update on the status of the EPA dioxin reassessment study

The Agriculture Department's (USDA) continuing concerns about EPA's
long-awaited dioxin risk study may trigger congressional requirements
forcing a review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) unless other
agencies can get USDA to agree on the document, sources say......

However, some EPA and industry sources warn the research cited in the
agency's peer-reviewed study may begin to be out of date by the time NAS
completes even a short review, raising questions about further delays EPA
scientists may need to revise the report

Click here for the details

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

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