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
Dioxin Health & Exposure Study is going to take place this summer. This is not
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
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
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:
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: ....
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): ....
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....
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....
Public information meeting scheduled at Freeland High School June 24 @ 7:00 p.m.
Phase II Report - available on or about June 24 at www.michigan.gov/deq,
libraries, local city, township, and county government offices, and the DEQ district
office in Bay City.
Soil 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.
Ecological 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.
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
to one per month.
Dow Hazardous Waste Facility Operating License - License was issued June 12, 2003 and
will be discussed at the June 24 Freeland High School Meeting.
Health 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.
Phase III Soil and Sediment Sampling - 1. needed to better understand dioxin
within certain areas of the T.River flood plain, 2. to establish the vertical extent of
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.
Public Access - DEQ main need to gain access to private property to implement
post-Phase II investigation activities.
All locations where dioxin concentrations exceed the residential cleanup requirements
of Part 201 are considered a "Facility".
All 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
public, or commercial)
Section 20116 of the NREPA requires that a person who has
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
Due 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.
Restrictions on relocation of contemned soil - don't even think about moving soil
you contact the DEQ.
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
DEQ Meeting June 24th 7pm Freeland HS from Pat
TRiver Mail List
Interim Health Measures and Public Education
DOW LIST SERVE
Soil Testing Comments by Wendy Domino
Kathy Henry on the Class Action
Chemical and Engineering News interview Betty
Dow License Update
Community Advisory Panel
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
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
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
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.
5/30/03 Additional Dioxin Plaintiffs Sue
Dow Chemical - Number Grows from 26 to 142
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.
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
Studies 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.
It 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.
Many 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.
27 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.
Dr 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)
She 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
The 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.
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
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
The plaintiffs lawyer, Jan Helder responds: Dows request to dismiss
portions of the suit and deny others was expected. "It shows Dows lack of
recognition of the significance of the problem," Helder said. Dows 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.
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
5/8/03 Dow Chemical shareholders challenge management on
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.
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:
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.
If you own shares of Dow Stock, vote for agenda item #5 by May 8, 2003
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
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 Dows 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
This resolution asks the company to:
Account 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.
Report 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:
similar to Dows new asbestos calculations, on the largest potential dioxin
liabilities and market risks.
Inform 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."
factsheet on contamination of the Tittabawassee & it's floodplain
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.
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.
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