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TRW Archives 2003 3rd quarter 07/01/03 - 09/30/03

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9/29/03  Why is the EPA's Dioxin Toxicity Reassessment Report never going to be published?

What ever happened to the EPA's Dioxin Toxicity Reassessment Report?  Click here for some reasons behind the delay.  Article is from 2000, just before it was believed the Clinton administration was going to release the report.  In case you have not heard, the new Bush administration has delayed it again by sending it to the NAS for review as the EPA developed a case of amnesia and could not reach a consensus.

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9/26/03  Flood plain residents WIN in court, one step closer to Class Certification

Dow's lawyers are now "clarified".  Judge Leopold Borrell denied Dow's request for a  6 + month delay before moving to trial on Class Certification.  The Judge said there is sufficient evidence at this time to move forward.  The Class Certification court session has been moved to 12/18/03 so that each side time can submit interrogatories to their opponent and have a chance to object to requests at a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 13.  
Click here for additional details

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9/22/03  New dioxin test results indicate contamination lies OUTSIDE the flood plain!

Today, MDEQ released preliminary results of dioxin testing on a Tittabawasse River residents property located in Freeland.  The most frighting result was found literally at their back door.  242 ppt TEQ was measured at the surface.   This is almost 3 times the states maximum level Residential Direct Contact Criteria (RDCC) of 90 ppt TEQ.    THE HOME  IS AT LEAST 20 FEET ABOVE THE FLOOD PLAIN AND A 100 FEET FROM THE WATERS EDGE AT THE CREST OF THE 1986 FLOOD.

This development opens a 'floodgate' of questions and concerns.  How did it get there?  At this point, possible causes are speculative.  However, a former resident of the area states that many years ago, it was common practice to scrape up the flood plain soil and use as  back fill in the property lying above the flood plain to increase the size of a home's building site. 

If true, residents may find their "high ground" safe havens are polluted at levels greater than those found in the flood plain.

In addition, the former resident indicated it was common practice to mine the flood plain dirt and haul to building sites all over Saginaw County and as far away as Clare and Midland Counties.   Until now, people living out of sight of the river thought all of this was someone else's problem.  How many have been unknowingly living in a toxic environment and how many of those have had detrimental health effects because of it?

Another sample taken from the river bank of the Freeland property returned a value of 1,130 ppt TEQ. The area sampled lies directly under the feet of the people attending family gatherings shown on this web sites Picture Page.  A third sample from the flood plain was below 90 ppt, speculation could lead one to believe this depressed area at the base of the hill is actually where the dirt was excavated and hauled up to the house.  In other words, this location was "cleaned-up".    Further details of the testing will be released once the official MDEQ report is released.

The scope of the Dow's SOW currently under development MUST be expanded to include ALL property  adjacent to the Tittabawasse river, regardless of it's "flood plain" status.  The practice of backfilling building sites was probably not unique to this property.  Further more, Dow must take IMMEDIATE ACTION to protect residents identified with contamination within their immediate living space. 

DOW, NO MORE TALK, NO MORE DELAYS, STOP THE SPIN, DO THE RIGHT THING, TAKE ACTION, CLEAN IT UP NOW!

The above testing results where made know to Dow representatives at tonight's public SOW meeting

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9/18/03  WARNING:  Property owners are  being deceived by Real Estate Agents

Sources indicate local Saginaw Real Estate agents are advising potential sellers of flood plain property to NOT disclose dioxin contamination to potential buyer.  This advise is in direct violation of Michigan's Act 451, part 201 rules which require disclosure by the owner.  If you receive this advise, get the Realtor to put in in writing  and check with your lawyer.  Following this advise may set you up for future lawsuits when the new owners discovers  they where deceived.

This is a terrible situation for all flood plain property owners.     Many of us are in a state of denial and think if we ignore it, it will go away.  Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle.   The MDEQ has classified your land as a Hazardous Waste Facility and you are obligated to follow the rules.  Please take the time to learn more about the laws that now affect you.  Click here to begin.  Contact your lawyer before doing anything connected with selling or buying flood plain property. 

If this situation makes you angry, you are in good company.  Channel your anger in the proper direction,  click here to learn more.

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9/17/03  MDEQ Part 201 rules, what are they?

Part 201 of Michigan's Act  451 of 1994 addresses Environmental Remediation of contaminated sites. The rules of Part 201 are  used to regulate Dow's remediation plan for it's dioxin contamination of  Tittabawassee 100 year flood plain.     The same rules now apply to private property in the 100 year flood plain now classified as Hazardous Waste Facilities.   Click here for actual Part 201 documents.

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9/17/03  Local MDEQ meeting's to seek public's input on Dow's Scope of Work (SOW)

DEQ Announces Public Meetings on Dow Scopes of Work for Remedial
Investigation of Tittabawassee River and Flood Plain and Midland Area
Soil Contamination

The DEQ has scheduled two public meetings on the Scopes of Work (SOWs)
for Remedial Investigation of the Tittabawassee River and Flood Plain
and for the Midland Area Soils. The SOWs were submitted by The Dow
Chemical Company pursuant to the corrective action requirements in the
hazardous waste facility operating license issued to Dow by the DEQ on
June 12.

The first public meeting will be held on Monday, September 22, from
7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Swan Valley High School Auditorium, located at
8400 O'Hern Road in Saginaw.

The second public meeting will be held on Thursday, September 25, from
7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library Auditorium,
located at 1710 West St. Andrews in Midland.

Click here for next CAP agenda and details of public meetings (follows CAP agenda)s

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9/16/03  Dow's confused

Today, Dow Chemical filed papers in Saginaw Circuit Court demanding a hearing to "Clarify" the September 10th order by Judge Borrello to proceed on Class Action Certification and trial scheduling. 
In his order, Borrello set a November 18th 2003 court date to hear the plaintiff's class action complaint and schedule for trial proceedings.

Dow had intended to delay the proceedings with endless depositions, etc..  The Judge recognized this tactic and ruled accordingly.  Hearing will take place September 26, 8:30am in Judge Borrello's court.

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9/16/03  New, simplified MDEQ web site address for Tittabawasse Dioxin

A new, simplified web address option for accessing DEQ information about the Tittabawassee River Flood Plain Contamination site.    You now have the option to use a simplified web address:
http://www.michigan.gov/tittabawassee    

NOTE:   Upon entering the new address, the request is still re-routed/
connected to the original address of
http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3308_21234-43808--,00.html,
and does not change any previous methods to navigate to the site; it
(the new address) just provides quick, easy verbal/written access to the
site, particularly for Midland-Bay-Saginaw community residents and DEQ
project staff.

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9/13/03  Dr. Suzanne White, M.D. presentation on Dioxin Toxicity  and Human  Health Effects

Click here to download and view powerpoint presentation made at the ATSDR/MDEQ public
meeting held on 8/20/03 at Freeland High School.    Note: this is a large pdf file, may take a while to load.

"Dioxin concerns me, the more I read about it, the more concerned I become.   Why am I here?  I can sum it up in three words - for the children."

        Dr. Suzanne White, M.D.
        Medical director for Children's Hospital of Michigan Regional Poison Control Center
        Detroit, Michigan

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9/12/03  Judge Borrello denies Dow's 2nd request to rescind Medical Monitoring claim

Today, Judge Borrello has denied Dow's request to reconsider allowing the
medical monitoring part of our claim.  Dow say's they will appeal.

He has also set a hearing date of November 18th, at 8:30 am for BOTH class certification
and entry of a scheduling order. 
    Midland Daily News:  Dow, property owners get Nov 18 court date
                                     Dow wants monitoring requirement dismissed

For more informaiton on the lawsuit, click here.

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9/12/03  TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting/Dioxin Update

Public Invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 9/15/03 @ 7 PM Green Point Nature Center
 
Click here for all the details,  Topics include:
Video presentation on Dioxin Health Effects by Dr. Birnbaum of the EPA
Saginaw River Dioxin
Update on Community Advisory Panel and Scope of Work
Dow Lawsuit update
Future meetings and agendas

Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page

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9/9/03 Dow Chemical release of divinylbenzene Tuesday evening in MIdland.

"accidental" chemical releases from the Dow site are routine (especially in
the wee hours of the morning) and must be addressed in the risk assessment
for Midland and downstream.

Please take note and share MDEQ 24 hour hotline for pollution emergencies
(reporting odors, etc.).     1-800-292-4706

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9/9/03 Dow Chemical Scope of Work Woefully Inadequate: Lone Tree Council Press Release

Activists and Citizens Propose More Aggressive Cleanup

Gathered in Imerman Park, one of the most contaminated parks in Saginaw County, environmental activists and citizens criticized Dow Chemical Company’s recent response to dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River, and proposed actions they said would be more protective of human health.

The activists noted that the Scope of Work (SOW) Plan submitted by Dow Chemical to address its dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee River Floodplain was delaying clean-up by continuing calls for more sampling and ignoring the immediate exposure of people in the floodplain.

"The SOW not only fails to address the immediate pathways of exposure but delays, the necessary cleanup," said Lone Tree Council’s Michelle Hurd-Riddick. "Dow should be doing a range of things from relocating families in heavily contaminated areas to dredging to shore stabilization."

Lone Tree Council, the Saginaw Bay Watershed environmental group that disclosed the contamination in the Tittabawassee River after a Freedom of Information Act request, is calling on Dow Chemical of Midland Michigan to drop its pursuit of more testing and take six immediate steps to protect public health down stream in the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

"For decades, Dow has been able to stall cleanup in Midland by influence peddling and by calling for more studies. This cannot be permitted to happen here on the Tittabawassee River Floodplain, " said Sandy Mannion, long time Midland County activist.

It is Lone Tree's position that an adequate Scope of Work must immediately address Dow's contaminant in the following ways: (see press release below for details)

bulletRemove Severe River Contaminants
bulletEliminate Park Exposure
bulletRelocate Families
bulletRespond to Floodplain Agriculture
bulletConduct Floodplain Erosion Control
bulletContinued Sampling

Click her for entire press release   

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09/09/03 Wall Streel Journal: U.S. Opposes EU effort to test chemicals for Health Hazards

Important article in the Wall Street Journal about the way the US chemical industry, notably DOW, is controlling the US Government's position on important European chemical policy initiatives that could have implications here in the US. The article is based on leaked internal memos outlinging the US Government/chemical industry strategy.

To learn more about the European initiatives and their US implications, the Ecology Center is hosting a policy briefing in Lansing on September.  Click here for all the details

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09/06/03 Meeting Schedule page added to trwnews.org  web site

Click here   or on  Meetings in the menu to the left.

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09/05/03 MDEQ responds to issues raised during CAP 9/3/03 meeting

MDEQ George Bruckman, chief of Waste & Hazardous Materials Division of MDEQ, issues a follow-up to questions and/or issues raised during CAP meeting by it's members.   Check out the CAP page for additional details about the Community Advisory Panel.

Topics

bulletThank you to Dow's Susan Carrington for presenting overview of SOW.  
bulletPurpose of handwashing stations in public parks
bulletFish Sampling and ecological risks
bulletMSU work plan for Ecological Risk Assessment, contracted by Dow, "not yet approvable"
bulletDow's press release about dioxin in wildlife is misleading, MDEQ says there is already substantial information that document that dioxin is being absorbed by wildlife.
bulletConcern about people who live in Saginaw and consume Carp & Catfish
bulletExposure studies, small vs. large studies.  It's unlikely that even a very well-conducted exposure and health study could provide protection criteria for substances that pose a carcinogenic risk and/or noncancer effects of dioxin .
bulletRelationship of exposure study and health study to corrective action obligations .
bulletAgricultural guidance
bulletLevel of dioxin exposure from food consumption vs. soil: it's not all from food for those who live in in contaminated areas.                     

        MDEQ follow-up - full text       CAP comments on SOW from brainstorming session

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09/05/03 Community Advisory Panel page added to trwnews.org  web site.

A new page has been added to this web site documenting CAP activities.  The Community Advisory Panel was formed to  provide input to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on issues related to corrective action activities for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee/Saginaw River sediment and floodplain soil contamination.  Contents include meeting schedules, meeting summaries, related documents, media coverage, and TRW opinions.  Click here   or on  CAP in the menu to the left.
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09/04/03 League of Women's Voters pass Dioxin Resolution

From Maureen Corser Saginaw County League of Women Voters

DIOXIN RESOLUTION
League of Women Voters of Saginaw County, Michigan
September 2003

Dioxin is a highly toxic substance formed as an accidental by-product in
numerous industrial processes involving chlorine. Dioxin is a by-product of
waste incineration, chemical and plastics manufacturing, paper and pulp
bleaching, and burning hazardous wastes in waste to energy facilities. It
persists in the environment, food chain, and in our bodies, and can pass
from mother to child through the placenta and via mother’s milk.

The creation of dioxin is an avoidable hazard contributing to numerous
adverse health effects such as cancer, hormonal disruption, infertility,
impaired child development, suppression of the immune system, endometriosis
and diabetes. Children bear the highest exposures, and current levels of
dioxin in the bodies of the general population are already in the range at
which health effects are known to occur in laboratory animals, according to
the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Soil sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
(MDEQ) has indicated that floodplain soil in the Tittabawassee River
watershed near and upstream of the confluence of the Tittabawassee and
Saginaw Rivers is contaminated with dioxin at concentrations exceeding the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) action level of one
ppb, and at some sites, eighty times the MDEQ residential cleanup standards.

The League of Women Voters Saginaw County affirms the right of citizens to
have an active, meaningful and participatory voice in the activities
affecting their government, lives, health, property and well-being. In
addition the League of Women Voters of Saginaw County views citizen advocacy
groups as a vital component of a healthy democracy.

The League of Women Voters supports the preservation of the physical,
chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem and maximum protection of
public health and the environment. Standards must be enforced in a timely,
consistent, and equitable manner for all violators. Environmental
protection and pollution control should be considered a cost of providing
products and services.

In view of these positions, the League of Women Voters of Saginaw County
supports the Lone Tree Council and the Tittabawassee River Watch in their
collective efforts to address this extensive watershed contamination. The
League supports efforts by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
to use scientific methods to ascertain the extent and sources of the dioxin
contamination, to hold community meetings to educate the public, and to
create a Community Advisory Panel of all stakeholders.

The League of Women Voters of Saginaw County supports the Michigan
Department of Community Health and Michigan Department of Agriculture in
taking action to minimize human and wildlife exposure to present and future
sources of floodplain dioxin contamination.

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09/03/03 Dow attempting to alter Judge Borrello's decision on Medical Monitoring claim?

Rumor has it that Dow has filed some sort of motion asking Judge Borrello to reconsider his
decision to deny their request for Summary Disposition of count VI-Medical Monitoring.  
Dow is questioning the Judges knowledge and evidently thinks he needs guidance in this matter.
We obviously think he made the right decision the 1st time.  By doing so, the Judges actions
indicates he understands the potential danger to the citizens of this community.   Dow's actions
indicate they could care less.  Details will follow as they become available.    For additional
information on the Dow Chemical lawsuit, click here.

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9/3/03 Plaintiff's in Dow Chemical Dioxin Lawsuit grows to 266.

For additional information on the Dow Chemical lawsuit, click here.

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8/25/03 Dow, "Butt out",  editorial comment from concerned citizen.

"I cannot believe the nerve, audacity and gall of Dow Chemical to stand up like they did last week at the Freeland HS meeting and tell residents not to take part in the Exposure Study being done by Michigan Public Health Department. What, we are suppose to trust Dow? I don't think so. Dow needs to butt out, shut up and get out of the way and let the state finally deal with this contamination. Not always one to trust government, especially after the way Dow was coddled last year, but I think things are better now. "

Pat W.
Saginaw Twp

Read these an other editorials, click here.   If you would like to comment, send an email to editorial@trwnews.org

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8/20/03 Why be concerned about dioxin? "For the children"

"Dioxin concerns me, the more I read about it, the more concerned I become.   Why am I here?  I can sum it up in three words - for the children."

        Dr. Suzanne White, M.D.
        Medical director for Children's Hospital of Michigan Regional Poison Control Center
        Detroit, Michigan

Dr. Whites comments where made during her presentation at the Freeland High School public meeting hosted by the MDCH August 20, 2003.

Dr. White went on to say:

bulletthat dioxin especially can interfere with childhood development and have lifelong consequences.  There is even a hazard to a child playing the the back yard if the soil has high dioxin content.
bulletisolated studies suggest dioxin can increase a person's chances of getting cancer by 40 to 100 percent.
bulletdata shows a higher than expected incidence of cancer near Midland.
bulletmany studies show a link between the substance and cancer and birth defects in humans as well as a host of other ailments.

Her recommendations to limit exposure: do not eat fish caught in river, washing and peeling produce grown near river, and discouraging children from placing toys or dirty items in their mouths.  For additional precautions recommended by the Michigan Department of Agriculture, click here.

It should also be noted that the head of the ATSDR, Dr. Henry Falk, M.D.  attended the meeting to make a presentation and to meet with local residents to hear their concerns.  The following day he made a tour to the entire flood plain as well as Dow Chemicals Midland plant.  During his presentation, Dr. Falk said his agency receives 400-500 new cases each year.  He went on to say that he personally could not visit every site and therefore limited visits to those sites with the greatest potential for exposing the public to harm.

For a recap of the meeting, check out local media coverage.

                    Saginaw News     Midland Daily News

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8/20/03 What really happened today with the lawsuit?

A lot of media attention and almost all totally misrepresented Judge Borrello's ruling on Dow Chemical's motion for summary disposition in the Henry v. The Dow Chemical Company lawsuit.  To read or watch these stories would give the viewer the impression that Dow won and the flood plain victims lost.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  Here are the  facts:

August 20, 2003

For immediate release—

JUDGE ALLOWS MEDICAL MONITORING TO PROCEED AGAINST DOW

Yesterday, the Honorable Leopold P. Borrello issued his ruling on Dow Chemical’s motion for summary disposition in Henry v. The Dow Chemical Company. This landmark toxic tort class action seeks property damages and the establishment of a medical monitoring trust fund because of years of dioxin pollution by Dow in the Tittabawassee River flood plain downstream of Dow’s World Headquarters. 180 plaintiffs have brought this class action, which is pending in the Circuit Court of Saginaw County, Michigan.

By virtue of Judge Borrello’s order, the plaintiffs, property owners and residents of the Tittabawassee flood plain, may proceed on their property damage theories of nuisance, public nuisance, and negligence. In denying Dow’s motion for summary disposition as to the medical monitoring claim, Judge Borrello is allowing the plaintiffs to proceed on that theory as well despite significant objections by Dow. Dow was successful in striking two of plaintiffs’ property damage legal theories, but plaintiffs’ ability to seek full compensation for the lost value of their property remains unaffected.

"Overall, this was a huge victory for the plaintiffs and a big loss for Dow," said Jan Helder, the Kansas City-based lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "Dow spent most of its time and effort fighting the medical monitoring claim and lost. Dow did win some minor technical issues, but since Dow did not even attempt to attack our principal claims for lost property value, those claims remain in tact. In the final analysis, the plaintiffs may still seek the lost value for their real estate, a medical monitoring trust fund, and all damages allowed under Michigan law."

Any further inquires may be directed to Jan Helder at (816) 714-7111, (800) 714-0360, or by email at helder@shslitigation.com

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8/19/03 Judge Borrello issues opinion.

Late today, Judge Borrello issued an opinion and order granting summary disposition as to count II - Trespass; Count V - Strict Liability; and Claim for Punitive damages.

He Denied Dow's motion for summary judgement as to count VI- Medical Monitoring.   Remaining counts stand: Count I - Nuisance, Count III Negligence, Count IV - public nuisance.  Although punitive damages where denied, claims for exemplary and compensatory damages remain.  More details to follow.

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8/14/03 MDEQ preliminary review of Dow's SOW - needs lot's of work.

A few excerpts appear below, click here for entire summary.

bulletThe preliminary review identified a number of key issues that must be
resolved prior to approval of the SOWs.  Many of these issues were discussed
by WHMD and Remediation and Redevelopment Division staff at our August 5
meeting with Dow and in the follow-up e-mail on August 7.  Our preliminary
review included a side-by-side review of the SOWs in comparison to Condition
XI.B. of the operating license.  This review indicates that Dow did not
adequately address all of the applicable elements that are required by the
license to be included in the SOWs.
bulletSpecifically, Condition XI.B.3.(a) of the license requires the SOWs to
identify and propose the implementation of specific interim response
activities (IRAs) for the protection of public health for the areas
identified in Condition XI.B.2. of the license that are known through prior
environmental sampling to be impacted by releases from the facility. 
bulletYour proposal to conduct sampling and an exposure evaluation without controlling
potential ongoing exposures is not acceptable as an IRA.  As noted in the August 7
e-mail to you on this issue, consideration should be given to offering the residents in
this area a range of alternatives to begin reducing the potential for exposure
immediately - before the results of an exposure study are available.  Sampling and
exposure investigation can and should be a part of the IRA for this area, but direct
mitigation is also required.
bulletIn addition, the Tittabawassee River Area SOW should propose to identify any
other residential properties in the Tittabawassee River area of concern that
are or could be contaminated so that immediate IRAs (sampling and exposure
controls) may be implemented, if necessary.
bulletThe SOWs do not appropriately prioritize work in a schedule based on
consideration of potential risks to human health and the environment in
accordance with Condition XI.B.3.(b) of the license. 
bulletIt is also not clear why a six-month period is necessary to prepare a
current conditions report or why approval of that report is necessary to
begin the development of a Remedial Investigation work plan. 
bulletCondition XI.B.3.(b)(i) of the license requires Dow to identify in the SOWs
additional potential exposure pathways that do not have Part 201 of Act 451
generic criteria (e.g., food chain exposures, house dust, etc.).  Currently
the SOWs state that additional exposure pathways will be identified and
evaluated and, therefore, do not address this requirement.
bulletCondition XI.B.3.(b)(ii) of the license requires  the SOWs to identify the
specific areas proposed for investigation and the process proposed for
selecting those areas. 
bulletThe SOWs appear to only address dioxins and furans as the "contaminants of
concern."  It is not appropriate to narrow the SOWs to dioxins and furans at this point.
bulletAs we have discussed, Dow may begin to implement interim measures to begin
reducing exposure immediately, without waiting for MDEQ approval.

Timely resolution of these issues is necessary and prudent for
the protection of public health and the environment.  Meeting prior to the
September 3 CAP meeting will afford Dow the opportunity to address the
preliminary concerns and provide a meaningful basis for discussion at the
September 3 meeting and subsequent public meetings as to how you intend to
address concerns already identified.

As mentioned previously, we will be meeting with the CAP on September 3 and
will be hosting two public meetings later in September to solicit public
comment on the SOWs.  We have requested Dow participation in these meetings
to present your SOWs.  To date, we have not received confirmation that Dow
intends to present the SOWs.  Please let us know so that we can coordinate
these efforts.

George Bruchmann, Chief
Waste & Hazardous Materials Division
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

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8/12/03 Dow releases SOW

Today, At the 11th hour, Dow submitted it's preliminary Scope of Work (SOW) to the MDEQ as mandated in it's new Hazardous Waste Site Operating License and Corrective Action Consent Order.  This was not something Dow did on it's own recognizance to serve the public, rather, it was something the State of Michigan forced them to do after a long and drawn out battle.  This is not an announcement of a solution to the problem.

Two SOW's where submitted, one for Tittabawassee River and flood plain, the other for soils outside Dow's facility in the Midland area.  In summary, their purpose is as follows (links to actual document are at the end of this article):

Dow’s Hazardous Waste Site Operating License ("License"), Condition XI.B.2., issued on June 12, 2002, requires Dow to submit to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") for review and approval a Scope of Work ("SOW") for conducting Remedial Investigation ("RI") of the Midland area soils and the Tittabawassee River Sediments and Floodplain. The SOW outlines the general steps involved in the implementation of a RI, which will be elaborated upon in the RI Workplan that will be submitted to MDEQ for review and approval following approval of the SOW. The License also requires Dow to propose Interim Remedial Activities and a Public Participation Plan along with the SOW.  The SOW is intended to be a preliminary outline that provides an overview of the contents of the RI Workplan that Dow will prepare after approval of the SOW by MDEQ.  The RI Workplan will be developed by Dow working with the MDEQ after Dow and MDEQ receive public input on the SOW. As it is developed, the RI Workplan may vary from the SOW in its organization, task, prioritization of activities, or other aspects, subject to MDEQ approval.

After a very brief review of the SOW's, a few opinions by TRW (more in-depth analysis will follow):

Some good things:

bulletDow admits they are responsible for the dioxin (are we out of the denial stage?)
bulletParks will receive immediate attention to reduce exposure until a permanent solution is found.
bulletThose most likely to be contaminated will be focused on first.

Some bad things:

bulletBoth SOW's state that Dow intends to use "Probabilistic Risk Assessment" techniques to measure human health risks. 
bulletThis is the same junk science that the MDEQ and EPA strongly criticized last fall during Dow's failed attempt to raise the human contact level from 90 ppt to 831 ppt!
bulletEPA's objections & comments on draft MDEQ/Dow CACO) 11/02
bulletEPA objections & comments on draft MDEQ/DOW Hazardous Waste Management License 10/02
bulletSOW's intend to focus on cancer  health effects. 
bulletCancer is a terrible disease, however dioxin can lead to many non-cancer related illnesses.  Click here for a list.   In our opinion, the SOW must be modified to include these other diseases.
bulletDioxin testing:  So far the MDEQ has done a lot of dioxin testing with the limited funds available.  It can cost over $1200 per sample. Why does Dow want to perform it's own testing?  A better solution would be for the MDEQ to continue testing using funds from Dow.  Why let the fox into the chicken coop?  Check with a lawyer before your let Dow on to your property to perform  dioxin testing on your family or   property.  If you do not have a lawyer or want to talk with one that understands the issues, click here.

Accompanying the SOW release was the usual Dow PR spin-masters media blitz, consider the source before you believe anything you hear. 

bulletDow's says emissions have decreased to nearly zero.
bulletTRW asks them to prove it.  They have said this in the past, yet scientific data and methods of analysis have never been released to the public (to our knowledge).
bulletWhat relevance does the term "near zero" have when measuring dioxin pollution.   We are talking about toxic chemicals that can have a severe, detrimental impact on the health of you and your children.  The State says we should not be exposed to more than  90 parts per trillion in residential soils.  That's 90 parts per TRILLION ( a 9 preceded by 10 zeros to the right of the decimal point, 0.000000000090).  Looks pretty close to zero to Dow, however to the rest of the world, it's a big number.
bulletDow stated the dioxin pollution occurred back in the early 1900's.
bulletTRW asks them to prove it, wasn't Agent Orange manufactured by Dow in the 60's and 70's?
bulletHas anyone read the book "The Pollution Signature" by Richard A. Maltry?   Check it out, library number 628.1.  It chronicles Dow's outrageous disregard for the Tittabawassee River over the last 100 years.  Watch out, you might get sick reading it.

Below are copies of the actual preliminary SOW documents.

                    Tittabawassee River & Flood Plain SOW
                    Midland Area Soil's SOW

Hopefully, the Citizen Advisory Panel will be able to steer this process in the right direction.

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8/8/03 Court update

Judge Borello was to issue ruling on Dow's motion for partial Summary Disposition this week.

    Did not happen, the judge has been very busy and is trying to get to it as fast as he can.

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8/8/03  Public meeting with MDEQ & ATSDR Freeland High School 8/20/03

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the Freeland High School Auditorium located at 8250 Webster Road, Freeland, MI.  The purposes of the meeting are:

  1. To introduce Dr. Henry Falk, the head of the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry  (ATSDR) and give you an opportunity to ask him questions.
  2. To have Dr. Suzanne White, head of the Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital in Detroit give you health information on dioxin and respond to comments or questions you may have regarding this contaminant.
  3. To answer any questions you have on the Public Health Assessments and Exposure Investigation MDCH and ATSDR are conducting under a cooperative agreement.
  4. Please see that attached agenda.  Representatives from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the MDCH will be on hand to answer your questions.For more information about this meeting, please direct your calls to Brendan Boyle, MDCH Toxicology and Response Section, 517-335-8138.

Linda D. Dykema, Ph.D.
Manager, Toxicology and Response Section
Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
Michigan Department of Community Health

Phone: 517-335-8566
Fax: 517-335-9775
email: dykemal@michigan.gov

Click here for agenda

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8/3/03  Community Advisory Panel (CAP) Meeting Update

39 people attended 1st session.  Panelist included MDEQ & MDCH staff (10),   (18) local residents from Freeland, Saginaw, Midland, and Bay City, Tittabawassee Township officials (3), City of Midland officials (2), Saginaw & Midland county health departments (4), local radio media (1), and Dow Chemical (1).  Note that counts are estimates, local citizens involved as individuals, business owners, or representatives of TRW, Lone Tree Council, and other environmental groups.

Agenda: Roles and Goals of CAP, Ground Rules/Expectations for Participants, Operation and Make-up of CAP, Overview of Corrective Action and Scope of Work Requirements and update on MDEQ work, Overview of Draft Tri-Count Project Coordination Plan/Community involvement Plan

Overview: A lot of background info presented by MDEQ, spirited debates on many topics including membership, ground rules, privacy, press/media & public meeting attendance, goals of group, and what to focus on 1st.

Minutes will be provided by MDEQ at a later date.  Next meeting agenda topics to be submitted to Cheryl Howe by 8/29.  Next meeting September 3rd, 2003.

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7/30/03 Court update

Judge Borello may issue ruling on Dow's motion for partial Summary Disposition this week.

Update 8/3/03: Did not happen this week, maybe in week of August 4th.

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7/28/03 Community Advisory Panel Planning meeting scheduled for 7/31/03

Th MDEQ is hosting the initial Community Advisory Panel (CAP) to provide input to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on issues related to corrective action activities for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee/Saginaw River sediment and floodplain soil contamination.  The meeting  will be held on Thursday, July 31, 2003 at the Thomas Township Library. If you are interested in attending please contact Ms Cheryl Howe at MDEQ.  Her e-mail is howec@micigan.gov

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7/23/03 TRW Contest: Win a free sample of Hazardous Waste Facility dirt *

Rules:    1. Read the two Scott Davis articles below and identify what's different (besides the title). 
                 Dow fights paying floodplain residents' medical tests    Bay City Times 7/22/03
                 Dow seeks dismissal                                           Saginaw News 7/22/03
            2. Write a brief comment on the significance of this difference and why you
                think it was done.
            3. Email your response to forum@trwnews.org
            4. Contest open to everyone on the planet (this web site has been visited by over 40
                other countries besides the USA)   

            We may post your responses on our Citizen forum page . If you prefer to remain
            anonymous, please say so in your response.

            *Note: Just kidding about the free dirt, there is no prize.  We cannot remove it due to
                      MDEQ Restrictions on relocation of contaminated soil in a Hazardous Waste Facility
                      (Almost all property in the 100 year flood plain are officially a Facility per the MDEQ)

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7/19/03  Body Burden - The Pollution in People

"In a study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in collaboration with the
Environmental Working Group and Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found 167
chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides in the blood and urine of nine adult Americans. Study results
appear in a recently published edition of the journal Public Health Reports (Thornton,et al. 2002)
– the first publicly available, comprehensive look at the chemical burden we carry in our bodies. ....

In total, the nine subjects carried:

76 chemicals linked to cancer in humans or animals (average of 53),
94 chemicals that are toxic to the brain and nervous system (average of 62),
86 chemicals that interfere with the hormone system (average of 58),
79 chemicals associated with birth defects or abnormal development (average of 55),
77 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system (average of 55), and
77 chemicals toxic to the immune system (averageof 53).   ..... "

The study found 15 of the 17 dioxins and furans tested for in all 9 people.  All of these people never
worked with chemicals on the job and otherwise lead healthy lives. 

The report addresses low dose toxicity in humans, why current testing regulations are flawed,
proposes new regulations and pages of references that support the study.

bullet

Executive summary

bullet

Chapter 1: The study and methodology

bullet

Chapter 2: Chemical exposure

bullet

Chapter 3: Low doses can hurt you

bullet

Chapter 4: TSCA and reform

bullet

References

Click here to view the entire the  83 page document (1.45 MB pdf file)

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7/17/03  Lone Tree / TRW Dioxin Update

PLEASE MAKE NOTE THAT THE JULY AND AUGUST MEETINGS AT GREENPOINT ARE CANCELED
TO RESUME AGAIN IN
SEPTEMBER

Click here for all the details, Topics include:
Community Advisory Panel
Future TRW meetings
July 21, 2003 10 A.M. Court session

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7/12/03 Additional Dioxin Plaintiffs Sue Dow Chemical - Number Grows from 26 to 219

  Plaintiffs file brief in opposition to Dows motion for summary dispostion

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7/11/03 Next Dow Dioxin Lawsuit Session Monday 7/21/03 10 a.m. Saginaw County Circuit Court

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7/1/03 U.S. needs to act to reduce dioxins, panel says

The U.S. government needs to help its citizens reduce their exposure to dioxins, in part by encouraging healthy eating, an expert panel said on Tuesday. (National Academies of Sciences Institute of Medicine)

"Since fetuses and infants are especially sensitive to the effects of toxic compounds, one part of the government's action plan should be an effort to reduce girls' and women's exposure to dioxins in foods during the years well before childbearing, so that less of these compounds accumulate in their bodies and are passed on through the placenta and breast milk," the Institute said in a statement.   Click here for the entire article

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6/30/03 Latest MDEQ maps and chart of Dioxin Contamination locations

Dioxin & Furan Contamination Distribution 

Tittabawassee & Saginaw River/Bay Sediment & Floodplain Soil data in ppt TEQ
Note: this graph does NOT include the Phase 2 Sampling results (such as the 3400 TEQ found in Freeland Festival Park) .  However it does present a view of the contamination in the entire Tittabawassee/Saginaw River/Saginaw Bay watershed.

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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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