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TRW Archives 2003 4th quarter 10/01/03 - 12/31/03

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12/30/03  Depositions of 50 plaintiff's to begin 1/6/04

On January 6 2004, Dow begins pre-Class Certification discovery depositions of 50 plaintiffs selected from the named 173.  They are scheduled  at the rate of 4-5 per day, Tuesday - Friday and end on 1/23/04.  Sessions begin at 9 A.M. and will be held at the defendants local law offices of Braun Kendrick Finkbeiner 4301 Fashion Square Blvd, Saginaw MI.   Plaintiffs attorneys are contacting those to be deposed and will be present at all depositions to protect plaintiff's rights.

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12/23/03  Court denies Dow disclosure of 173 plaintiff's, authorizes 50.

12/22/03 Court Session 1:30 pm concerning Plaintiff's issues with Dow's disclosure request

                Summary: in response to Plaintiff's Emergency Motion for Protective Order 12/18/03

bulletPlaintiff attorney's argued that requesting 173 plaintiff's disclosures during the holidays and continuing for most of January at a rate of 10 per day strongly suggested Dow was attempting to harass plaintiff's.

That MCR 2.302 (C) provides that this Court may enter a Protective Order to protect a party from annoyance, oppression, undue burden or expense.


Plaintiff's argued that such a large number of disclosures is not necessary to to determine Class Certification on February 24, 2004.


Plaintiff's suggest to Judge that 10-40 disclosure's would be more appropriate.

bulletJudge ruled in favor of Plaintiff's and authorized Dow to conduct disclosure's with 50 plaintiff's of their choosing beginning no earlier than 1/5/04.
bulletIf Dow is unsatisfied with the results, they may go back to Judge to request more, however they must provide very specific reasons supporting their request.

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12/22/03  Fradulent claims and faked studies used as "Science" by Chemical industry

Over the past 60 years, Dow and others have performed numerous "Scientific" studies in response to workers being exposed to dioxin-contaminated chemicals at their plants.  The chemical industry continues to use the results of these fradulent and faked studies to support it's position that dioxin is harmless. 

Click here for the details: "Industry's True Lies: The politics behind the scientific debate on dioxin"

"The full story of dioxin is a complex one, and includes coverups, lies, and deceit; data manipulation by corporations and government; and fraudulent claims and faked studies. For the public, it is a story of pain, suffering, anger, betrayal, and rage; of birth defects, cancer and many uncertainties about health problems.

Although many companies have contributed to the dioxin story, three chemical companies have played particularly significant roles: Monsanto, BASF, and Dow Chemical. All three manufactured commercial products that were contaminated with dioxin. All three conducted health studies to evaluate dioxin toxicity, which were then used for many years to support claims that there were no long-term effects, including cancer, from dioxin exposure. "    Stephen Lester

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12/21/03  Demolition of homes begins near `Mount Dioxin' in Pensacola

"Demolition of 45 homes near a Superfund toxic waste site dubbed "Mount Dioxin" has begun, but an environmental activist said more testing should have been conducted before the work started. The Environmental Protection Agency moved 358 families, the third-largest relocation in EPA history behind Times Beach, Mo., and Love Canal at Niagara Falls, N.Y..  The homes were vacated because they are close to an abandoned wood treating plant (Escambia) where tests showed high levels of dioxin, which has been linked to cancer, in yards."  Click here for the full article.

Excerpts from an article, Two Superfund Environmental Justice Case Studies, by Joel S. Hirschhorn of the National Governors Association reveals:

bulletIn 1992, after EPA had completed the Escambia removal action, it tested soil in a few residential backyards immediately over the site's fenceline and found dioxin, ranging from 34 to 950 ppt TEQ with an average of 316 ppt. 
bulletThe 1995 ATSDR Public Health Assessment for the Escambia site cited a safe level of 50 ppt for dioxin TEQ in soil, because of noncancer health effects.   In 1996 EPA Region 4 decided to use the 200 ppt level for dioxin cleanup for the offsite residential areas near the Escambia site, acknowledging that it corresponds to the 10-4 cancer risk level, but ignoring noncancer health effects.
bulletIn 1996 EPA Region 4 decided to use the 200 ppt level for dioxin cleanup for the offsite residential areas near the Escambia site, acknowledging that it corresponds to the 10-4 cancer risk level, but ignoring noncancer health effects.
bulletIn April 1996, EPA Region 4 issued a draft Proposed Plan for an interim remedial action consisting of permanent relocation of 66 households adjacent to the Escambia site, 21 of which were justified on the basis of health threats (because of dioxin contamination). In August 1996, an addendum was issued expanding the relocation to include 101 households.   In October 1996, Region 4 Administrator announced an expanded relocation to include all 358 households.

What's the point?    The samples from MDEQ Tittabawasse flood plain dioxin testing  averaged 998 ppt in Phase 1 and 529 ppt in Phase 2.  Maximum values where 7,261 ppt and 3,400 ppt in Phase 1 and 2 respectively.  A few random samples from the 22 mile stretch of river detected levels on residential property up to 1,400 ppt. 

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12/19/03  Michigan Supreme Court next battle ground for Medical Monitoring Claims?

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 18, 2003--The Coalition for Litigation Justice, Inc., a nonprofit association formed by insurers to improve the toxic tort litigation environment, this week filed a "friend of the court" brief with the Michigan Supreme Court, urging the Court to hear an appeal that may determine whether claimants in Michigan can recover damages based on the mere possibility of a future injury.   The Coalition was joined on its brief by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, American Tort Reform Association, National Association of Manufacturers, and American Chemistry Council.

Everyone in the United States of America is very close to loosing something that most never knew they had.  If Dow and their front groups are successful, precedent will be created in our court systems that past, current and future polluter's will use to defeat every Medical Monitoring suit that comes to pass. 

Who is the Coalition for Litigation Justice, Inc and where does their funding come from?  The Chamber of Commerce is against anything that remotely impinges on anything business wants to do.  Illegal, or otherwise.  The Tort Reform folks are a bunch that want to remove any and practically all avenues for consumers to sue any company even if the company knowingly did something wrong.  The National Ass. of Manufactures, and the American Chemistry Council are lobbyist groups that spend millions of dollars every year to convince those in power to do things their way, i.e.  allow their companies to do what ever they want at the publics expense.  Dow Chemical is a dues paying member of the American Chemical Society.   For more information on how Dow manipulates the political, regulatory, educational and legal systems, click here.,

Once again, Dow demonstrates it's lack of concern for the local citizens it has contaminated.  Expect more hype and spin from these group's in the near future.  

The Facts: No one on either side of the lawsuit has defined how Medical Monitoring would work, that will be decided by the court assuming these front groups efforts are unsuccessful.    The court system will not allow a Medical Monitoring program to be conducted in a manner as suggested by the hype being promoted by Dow.

Everyone, including those of you who have been sitting on the sidelines, need to speak up and do it quickly.  Call, write or email your elected representatives in congress and tell them of your concerns as well as how their support, or lack of it,   will determine your future votes.  Click here for Federal representative contact information and here for State representative contact information.  Local official contact information can be found on the What Can I Do page?

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12/15/03  Summary of today's court hearing.

bulletA total of 6 plaintiffs dropped from 179 named in 2nd amended complaint.     Reasons: property in Midland county, close ties to Dow personnel, poor health.
bulletNew plaintiff total before proceeding to class certification hearing on 2/24/04 is 173.   Dow will proceed with disclosure of the 173 (interviews with Dow and plaintiff attorneys present), to be completed in late January 2004.
bulletThe additional 135 individuals named in 3rd amended complaint will not be added to the case at this time.  Dow threatened to delay the class action decision if this was done.  All 135 will automatically become part of the case if it is certified as a Class Action on February 24, 2004.  If for some some reason case is not certified as a Class Action, plaintiff attorneys will sue Dow on an individual basis for all 308 individuals (173 - 6 + 135 = 308).  In the meantime, the 135 plaintiffs will not be required to submit to Dow's disclosure efforts.
bulletThe request to make the original 26 plaintiff's "Class Representatives" will be decided upon during the Class Certification hearing scheduled for February 24th, 2004.   This would streamline the court proceedings.  Dow says plaintiff's are trying to hide something, plaintiff attorneys says Dow can continue to depose all of the 173 plaintiff's as filed in their 2nd amended complaint.
bulletAdd allegations regarding recent MDEQ findings and actions that have
occurred since the filing of the Second Amended Complaint, see paragraphs
bulletMDEQ Phase II Tittabawassee sampling report which conclude that
"elevated dioxin concentrations were pervasive" in the flood plain
downstream of Dow's Midland plant, and that Dow "is the principal
source of dioxin contamination" in the Tittabawassee River and Flood
bulletMDEQ designated the entire Flood Plain downstream of Midland a
regulated "facility" under Part 201 of Michigan's NREPA.
bulletMDEQ has invoked NREPA to restrict plaintiff's outdoor activities on
their property; require them to obtain state permits for all major
household soil movement, and compel them to depose all available
information about area dioxin contamination to potential buyers under
penalty of law.
bulletDow's motions to remove language that plaintiff homes are worthless was denied.  Judge indicated this has nothing to do with Class Certification.   Dow justified their motion because 1 home had sold.    One ignorant and/or misinformed buyer does not represent the Class.

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12/15/03  Dow sent Notice of Deficiency by MDEQ

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality delivered Dow Chemical an official Notice of Deficiency (NOD) concerning it poorly constructed  Scope of Work (SOW) from August 2003.  Dow is required by the MDEQ to submit two SOW's (Tittabawassee River and City of Midland) as part of the requirements for their Hazardous Waste Management Facility Operating License issued in June 2003.  The whole point of the SOW is to protect the public from exposure to dioxin, that's why the MDEQ requires Dow to submit "Immediate Interim Response Activities (IRA) in the SOW.  The 29 page NOD lists 63 items which must be corrected before the MDEQ will approve  the SOW's.  Click here to view the entire NOD (be prepared to wait as it is a very large pdf file).   Evidently Dow does not understand the word immediate and/or is a very inept organization.    TRW suspects Dow knows exactly what it is doing: delay, delay, delay.   They understand the constraint's placed on the MDEQ to deal with this matter and intentionally submitted junk so that they cold get another 45 days to "correct" it.  So much for their concern about our "community". 

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12/13/03  Conceptual shifts in scientific thinking - Dow scientists stuck in the old world ?

An essay which first appeared on the San Francisco Medical Societies web site in November 2002 provides an excellent review of current scientific thinking in the area of environmental toxicology.  Rachel's Environment & Health News article #757 provides a review of the essay.  Dow Chemical's behavior concerning toxic chemicals seems to be consistent, i.e.  promote  "Corporate Science" and ignore (at least publicly) this NEW shift in thinking by the rest of the worlds scientist.  The following is an excerpt from the essay,  just substitute the word DOW for OLD in the 9 points listed below.

"We're in the Midst of a Scientific Revolution...The revolution arises from scientific discoveries which establish that many chemicals -- both from the natural world and synthesized in laboratories -- interfere with the biochemical messaging systems that direct the biological development of plants and animals, including humans."   These discoveries "are forcing a series of conceptual shifts upon toxicology as it integrates these new findings with long-standing assumptions".

Conceptual Shifts in Scientific Thinking:

  1. 1. OLD: High level contamination overwhelms detoxification and other defense mechanisms. NEW: Low level contamination hijacks control of development.
  2. 2. OLD: The dose makes the poison. NEW: Non-monotonic dose response curves are common, in which low level exposures cause effects that disappear at higher levels. [See text for the meaning of non-monotonic.]
  3. 3. OLD: Only high levels of exposure matter. NEW: Impacts caused at what had been assumed to be background levels.
  4. 4. OLD: Focus on adults. NEW: Periods of rapid growth and development (prenatal through puberty) are most sensitive to exposure.
  5. 5. OLD: A small number of bad actors. NEW: Many chemicals thought safe are biological active and capable of interfering with signaling systems.
  6. 6. OLD: Immediate cause and effect. NEW: Long latencies are common; fetal programming can lead to disease and disabilities decades later.
  7. 7. OLD: Examine chemicals one compound at a time. NEW: In real life, mixtures are the rule. They can lead to effects at much lower levels than indicated by simple experiments with single chemicals.
  8. 8. OLD: Focus on traditional toxicological endpoints like mutagenesis carcinogenesis, cell death. NEW: Wide range of health endpoints, including immune system dysfunction (both hyper and hypo-active); neurological, cognitive and behavioral effects; reproductive dysfunctions; chronic diseases.
  9. 9. OLD: One-to-one mapping of contaminant to disease or disability. NEW: Same contaminant can cause many different effects, depending upon when exposure occurs during development and what signals it disrupts. Multiple contaminants can cause same endpoint [effect], if they disrupt the same developmental process.

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12/12/03  State tells farmers: Crops safe; don't eat the livestock

Addressing a group of 50 farmers Thursday at Freeland Elementary School, state agriculture officials explained that while plants don't absorb the dioxin that has polluted a 22-mile stretch of the river, soil and dust contaminated with the chemical likely isn't good for livestock -- or humans.   Click here for the details provided by the Saginaw News.

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12/11/03  Dow begs State Supreme Court to override medical monitoring decision.

Dow files motion with State Supreme Court to overrule Judge Borrello's decision on the Medical  Monitoring aspect of the suit.  See Court Activity page entries for 8/19/03, 9/2/03, 9/12/03, and 12/11/03 for details of past decisions on medical monitoring

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12/10/03  Dow challenges plaintiff's 3rd amended complaint.

Why?  Dow’s actions speak much louder than Mr. Wheeler’s words to the press.  At every turn they ask to delay the Court’s hearing on class certification on top of their efforts to stay the case.  What do their actions tell you?  That they want to move forward expeditiously to resolve the residents concerns and this case? We think not.

See Court Activity page for details and examples

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12/8/03  TRW   / Lone Tree December 2003 meeting cancelled due to the holidays.

The TRW/Lone Tree meeting held on the 3rd Monday of every month has been cancelled for 12/15/03 due to the holidays.  See you next year!

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12/4/03  MDCH outlines Pilot Exposure Investigation  for flood plain residents

The MDCH announced it the December 3, 2003 CAP meeting that it is going ahead with it's Pilot Exposure Investigation (PIE).  The purpose of the study is to provide information on the levels of dioxins in soil, indoor dust, and blood samples for 25 adult residents of the Tittabawassee River flood plain.  Click here for a diagram outlining how the participant selection process will work.  This investigation will also provide information about how to conduct a future exposure investigation that could include several hundred people.  This is NOT a Health Study.  Various media reports erroneously reported that a Health Study is being conducted.  Below are the ATSDR definitions of the various terms used to investigation contamination sites:

bulletHealth Assessment/Consultation: is the evaluation of the environmental and health data and community health concerns about a site.  An Assessment, which looks at the broad picture, is more comprehensive than a Consultation, which usually focuses on a specific element.  Each of these activities results in the preparation and release of a document by the same respective title.  These are NOT Health Studies, however recommendations made in these documents may lead to an EI or a Health Study.
bulletExposure Investigation is the collection and analysis of site-specific information to determine if human populations have been exposed to hazardous substances.   The EI is considered a service, NOT a health study.  The results of the EI are site-specific and applicable only to the community involved, in the EI; they are not generalizable to other individuals or populations.  The full text of the PIE protocol will be posted here once it is posted on the MDCH website.  Click here for the MDCH Fact sheet on the Pilot Exposure Investigation:   Page 1 Page 2
bulletHealth Study of exposed persons is designed to assist in identifying effects of exposure on public health.  Heath studies can also define the health problems that require further inquiry by means of, for example, health surveillance.

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12/4/03  Dow tardy in providing many of required documents per MDEQ

Funny how a huge corporation like Dow just can't find the time to provide the documents mandated by the State of Michigan.  Dow's Hazardous Waste Site Operation License required Dow to submit a Scope of Work for the conduction of Remedial Investigation of the Tittabawassee River sediments and floodplain.  Dow's initial SOW document was produced in August 20003.  Four months later they still have not got it right.    One would think that a company which professes to employ world class scientist's would be able to produce these documents on time.  The link below provides the status of the various required documents and their status. 

bulletStatus of Scope of Work (SOW) Related Reviews 12/3/03

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12/04/03 MDEQ graphs of Tittabawasse River Floods 1960 - 1999

Graph presented and December 3, 2003 CAP meeting.  A larger view of graph is on the 1986 Flood page, click here

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12/02/03 Dow lawsuit plaintiff's file Third Amended Complaint in court

The motion changes the following:

bulletAdd a net of 131 individuals to the previous 179 for a total of 310 plaintiff's
bullet135 new individuals added, 4 dropped for various reasons
bulletDesignate only certain party plaintiff's as class representatives - i.e., the 26
party plaintiffs named in the original Complaint.
bullet"The 26 part plaintiffs named in the original Complaint will serve the
interests of justice by having a small group of primary representatives
to fully, fairly, and vigorously protect the interests of the class.  Such
designation will also narrow the scope of discovery preceding this
Court's class certification determination and otherwise enhance the
manageability of these proceedings."
bulletThe remaining 284 named individual non-class representatives plaintiffs
will automatically become part of the class action if certified.  If not
class certified, the law firm will file a suit against Dow for each
bulletAdds allegations regarding recent MDEQ findings and actions that have
occurred since the filing of the Second Amended Complaint, see paragraphs
bulletMDEQ Phase II Tittabawassee sampling report which conclude that
"elevated dioxin concentrations were pervasive" in the flood plain
downstream of Dow's Midland plant, and that Dow "is the principal
source of dioxin contamination" in the Tittabawassee River and Flood
bulletMDEQ designated the entire Flood Plain downstream of Midland a
regulated "facility" under Part 201 of Michigan's NREPA.
bulletMDEQ has invoked NREPA to restrict plaintiff's outdoor activities on
their property; require them to obtain state permits for all major
household soil movement, and compel them to depose all available
information about area dioxin contamination to potential buyers under
penalty of law.
bulletIn response to prior court rulings, the Third Amended Complaint continue to
include claims for trespass and strict liability.  Plaintiffs, however, have
omitted any claim for punitive damages per prior court ruling on 8/19/03.  In
all other respects, the substantive allegations against Dow remain the same.
bulletAlthough punitive damages are removed, claims for Exemplary and
Compensatory damages remain.   Punitive damages where eliminated
because Michigan law does not allow anyone to "punish" a corporation
for bad deeds.  However,  Exemplary and Compensatory damages offer
the  plaintiffs the ability  to be compensated for the disruption of their
lives, etc. due to the contamination.   A jury will decide the final
bulletClick here to view actual document.  Be prepared to wait, this is a huge 6MB
pdf file.

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12/01/03 MDEQ releases Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment Report for the Tittabawassee River

DEQ Funded Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment Identifies Risks and Impacts to Wildlife Resulting from Dioxin and Furan Contaminated Sediments in the Tittabawassee River

Dioxin and furan contaminated sediments in the Tittabawassee River downstream of the city of Midland pose significant reproductive, embryo, and early life-stage mortality risk to fish-eating birds and mammals according to a recent report commissioned by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The 48-page Tittabawassee River Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment Report, prepared by Vermont-based Galbraith Environmental Sciences, LLC, was initiated after investigations of river sediments and flood plain soil conducted by the DEQ found dioxin and furan contamination. The contamination is pervasive throughout the Tittabawassee River and its flood plain downstream of Midland and the Dow Chemical plant.

"The report provides critical risk assessment data that will assist the DEQ in determining the impacts and risks to wildlife posed by dioxin and furan contamination and the appropriate response activities needed to reduce those risks," said DEQ Director Steven Chester.

The conclusions of this study are based on the concentrations of dioxins and furans in sediment and fish collected from the Tittabawassee River and from duck and chicken eggs collected from the Tittabawassee River floodplain.   Click here for the details.

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11/28/03 Chemical industries secret plan to attact California's chemical saftey movement

OAKLAND, CA, Nov. 20  The chemical industry plans to conduct a covert
campaign attacking the growing movement in California for more chemical
safety testing, with tactics including the creation of phony front groups and
spying on activists, according to an internal American Chemistry Council (ACC) memo
obtained by Environmental Working Group (EWG).    The memo recommends that
ACC, the lobbying association for U.S. chemical companies, hire a crisis
communications firm that promotes itself as the attack dog of the public
relations industry to fight back against California's adoption of laws and
regulations that embrace the precautionary principle.   Dow Chemical is a dues paying
member of the ACC.   Click here for the details.

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11/26/03 Dr. Birnbaum's "Dioxin, are we at risk" audio presentation now on-line

70 minutes.  That's all it takes to listen to the latest EPA concerns about the risks of dioxins to human health.   It's time well invested. 

"Dioxin has been called one of the most dangerous chemicals ever known. Purging uncertainties and clarifying myths about dioxin, Dr. Birnbaum will discuss dioxin in generalwhere it comes from, how we interact with itand specifically, its staggering impact on human health. She will also talk about dioxin effects in the Great Lakes. "   LocalMotion

Dr. Linda Birnbaum is the EPA's world renowned dioxin expert.  Audio excerpts are from the video "Dioxin, are we at risk" produced by LocalMotion

So, make a cup of green tea, sit back, and click here to begin .

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11/25/03 Dow Class Action Certification trial delayed until February 24, 2004

In his final statements at today session, Judge Borrello announced he had a scheduling conflict with another trial (30 year old murder case) on January 27, 2003 and felt it would be best for both sides to reschedule the Class Action certification trial until February 24, 2003 at 9:30 A.M..  The Judge stated he will keep 2-3 days open for the Dow case and hoped to issue a verdict by March 1, 2003.

Today's session was held at Dow's request so that they could complain about not receiving plaintiff records even though the court set deadline is December 1, 2003.    Dow stated they had not received any plaintiff records, plaintiff lawyer countered Dow was sent 1861 pages last Friday and would be sending another 1000 pages on Monday December 1.    The plaintiff attorney, Jan Helder,  stated that all of the records requested by Dow have no relevance to Class Action certification (he successfully defeated Dow's requests for Medical Records at this juncture).  He also stated that if Dow was really concerned  about a lack of time, they should have started depositions back on November 7th when the court authorized them to do so. 

The Judge listened to both sides with little comment before he went into chambers. Upon returning he brought up his 30-year-old murder trial and stated it would probably interfere with the Dow case scheduled for 1/27/04. During his statement, not once did he bring up either sides accusations or defenses about the lack or abundance of records. Instead, he stated that realistically the hearing should be delayed because if he left it scheduled for 1/27/04, it would more than likely be cancelled at the last minute due to the murder trial.  He then went on to say that the proposed schedule in Dow's motion for delay would fit with his murder case schedule and therefore asked both parties to abide by it. The lack of records was not mentioned by the Judge as the reason for delay as one would believe by reading news media accounts of the hearing

So...why did Dow request another hearing 3 weeks before the December 1 deadline?   All of this is just a game played by Dow to introduce continual delays into the process, nothing more.  Perhaps their goal is to delay Class Action Certification until after next Mays annual stock holder meeting.   A resolution passed in this years annual meeting requires Dow to report it's liabilities related to dioxin and other persistent toxic pollutants. 

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11/17/03 TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting/Dioxin Update

Public Invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 11/17/03 @ 7 PM Green Point Nature Center

Click here for all the details
  Topics include:
Video presentation on "Dioxin: Are we at risk?" by Dr. Birnbaum of the EPA
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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11/16/03  Loma Linda University: Dioxin, Chemical Terrorist in our food

Loma Linda University School of Public Health Continuing education seminar:
Dixoin and other Persistant Organic Pollutants: The Chemical Terrorist in our food

Below is a fact sheet from the seminar:

Continuing professional education

Did you know...

Dioxin is considered the most toxic chemical made by man.

The largest source of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs, Dioxin is one of them) is food.

EPA regulations state that the average person should limit their intake of dioxin to 0.000000000000001grams (or 0.001 picograms*) per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

The average bodyfat of an American contains 8000 picograms of POPs per kilogram of bodyfat.

The largest intake of dioxin in the U.S. is through the consumption of beef.

An 8 ounce steak = 4000 picograms

The average nursing child is exposed to 60 picograms of POPs per
kilogram of weight per day.

Mothers can pass dioxin to their children through breastmilk.

The half life of POPs is 15 years.

One billionth of a gram can disrupt the hormone system.

Migration of POPs is higher from frequently used plastic containers.

* 1 picogram = 1 trillionth of a gram

TRW note: All of the above are for the GENERAL POPULATION.

"At higher risk of exposure to dioxin are children, nursing infants, some workers and farmers, people who eat fish as a main staple of their diet such as some indigenous peoples and fishermen, and people who live near dioxin release sites. These groups of people are likely exposed to at least 10 times as much dioxin as the general population. "

The statement was made in the American Peoples Dioxin Report published by the  Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, a group which evolved out of the Love Canal incident.  The section of the report titled "Science" has an excellent description of dioxin and and how it is measured (TEQ's).  A supporting document Technical Support Document provides the scientific basis and support for the conclusions and recommendations made in the report.

Dow's message to the public is simple: dioxin poses no threat to humans in the flood plain.  Research from non-Dow scientists from around the world disagree.  Click here

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11/11/03  Dioxin kills all young lake trout in Lake Ontario for 40 years

MADISON, Wis. (Nov. 5, 2003) – University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.  A team of researchers has determined that dioxin and similar toxic chemicals were high enough in Lake Ontario to kill virtually every lake trout that hatched there from the late 1940s to the late 1980s. Their findings differ from traditional explanations for the collapse of the lake trout population in Lake Ontario that focus on overfishing and attacks by the parasitic sea lamprey.   Click here for details

SacFry-sm.jpg (11188 bytes)Lake trout sac fry unexposed (top) and exposed (bottom) as fertilized eggs to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). External signs of toxicity in the fry exposed to TCDD include yolk sac edema (YSE) and pericardial edema (PE) associated with damage to vascular tissues (DV), hemmorhaging (H), craniofacial malformation (CFM), and hyperpigmentation (HYP), which lead to death prior to the swim-up stage of development.  Click on the image to see a very high resolution enlargment of the photos. Warning, this is a 7MB image and may take several minutes to download depending upon the speed of your computer and internet connnection.

Photo by Philip Cook, Research Chemist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


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11/10/03  DRAFT Interim Response Activities Work Plans available.

The MDEQ recently posted Dow's DRAFT, Interim Response Activities (IRA) Work Plans for Inerman Park, Freeland Festival Park, West Michigan Park, and the Center Road Boat Launch.   These plans are NOT approved by the MDEQ as of yet and hopefully will be rejected in their current form.  Please read them and and let the MDEQ know how your feel, contact Cheryl Howe at the MDEQ, .

Citizens and activists have already proposed a more aggressive cleanup many times in September and October of this year at public meetings and in the press.  Click here for what we think is the right way to address these issues.

bulletDow's solution mentioned in Draft IRA's:
bulletAvoid the word Dioxin in all of the documents.  Other than for mentioning the MDEQ document: "Final Report, Phase II Tittabawasse/Saginaw River, Dioxin Flood Plain Sampling Study", it's not there.  It's obvious they are not serious about this as they have publicly stated "Dow denies as untrue the allegations that the presence of dioxin in the Tittabawassee River and floodplain poses a serious risk to plaintiffs and other residents of the floodplain"
bulletHand washing stations with signs that read as follows:
bulletFor hand washing only
bulletNot for drinking
bulletNot for fish cleaning
bulletHand washing is recommended to remove soil and sediment.
bulletNot a single mention fo why you need to remove soil and sediment (Dioxin?)
bulletThe stands are being used to clean fish for consumption
bulletThe stands are to complicated and of the wrong height for small children
bulletThey should add a kiosk with the Dioxin warning information next to each station.
bulletWhat about the dirt paths through the woods of Inerman.  Cross country teams run on these trails, families take their small children for walks, etc.  The wood chips on the trails wear off very quickly, will Dow be checking them daily?
bulletA stone wall & deck along the banks for the Freeland Festival park. 
bulletWhile this might be aesthetically pleasing to the Freeland Township officials, what studies have determined this will reduce exposure?  Won't the wall trap dioxin laden sediment each year the river floods.

To view the IRA's visit the MDEQ website , click here and scroll down to IRA's.

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11/08/03  Judge denies Dow access to plaintiff's Medical Records

Plaintiffs WIN ! 

Those that are signed up as plaintiffs in the Dow lawsuit are protected in this phase of the lawsuit and will not have to provide medical records, insurance records, employment records, and personnel records.  The only information you are required to provide is what's already been asked for by our attorney.

Click here to see the actual order:  Part 1  Part 2

The rest of the flood plain residents are on their own, Dow will be contacting you in an attempt to discover everything they can to be used against you in court when the suit is certified as a class action.  Be careful and contact your lawyer before saying anything.  See additional info on this matter by paging down to the 11/6 and 11/7 news updates below.

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11/08/03  Judge rules Dow may interrogate river residents not in lawsuit but upsets court.

In another ruling yesterday, Judge Borrello granted Dow permission to conduct discovery with non-named/non-represented putative class members (all those who do not have a signed agreement with our law firm ).  He also states he is upset with Dow for trying to pull a fast one by scheduling private meetings with non-plaintiff residents before he had ruled on the matter.

This changes everything.  Contrary to what Dow has said publicly, they now have permission to discover anything in the private sessions to be conducted next week. Be careful on what you say.   See additional info on this matter by paging down to the 11/6 and 11/7 news updates below.

Note:  Dow's spin machine was running at full throttle yesterday when it attempted to portray plaintiff's as trying to "shut down dialogue".  The public, including many members of the lawsuit have been participating on all fronts with the State in resolving this issue for almost 2 years and will continue to do so.  The State of Michigan is now listening, Dow is not, hence the lawsuit.  Efforts by plaintiff's attorneys and statements made by TRW's Gary Henry were done in an attempt to warn non-plaintiff residents of possible violations of their legal rights and reduce the risk of  future legal issues.  Plaintiff's with signed agreements are protected by our attorneys, Dow cannot speak to plaintiff's unless our attorneys are present.  We feel confident the case will be certified as a class action regardless of what non-plaintiff's may say in Dow's private "sessions".  And if by chance the case is not certified as a class, our lawyers are prepared to sue Dow on an individual basis for all 300+ residents with signed agreements.  In my opinion, every property owner in the flood plain needs some sort of legal representation as they are now owners of a State designated Hazardous Waste Facilities.   Gary Henry, TRW member and plaintiff.

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11/07/03  A wolf in sheep's clothing, Dow's deceit exposed.

If you where thinking of attending the private sessions with Dow next week, think again.

The seemingly innocent invitation states reasons for the meetings that have nothing to do with the real agenda as Dow is requesting in court.


Click here to see an image of an actual invitation and the stated agenda.    Dow states the meetings are being conducted to introduce you to Dow representatives, answer questions, hear specific suggestions, and discuss options that have already been suggested about "historical" dioxin levels along the Tittabawassee River.


Now read the intro from the brief Dow filed in court this week.


Pursuant to the order of this Court, The Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") submits the following brief in support of its position that it is entitled to contact, interview and otherwise conduct informal and/or formal discovery of potential (or putative) members of the two proposed classes who are neither named class representatives nor represented by counsel in this matter.

bulletThe bottom line: DISCOVERY for the lawsuit.  They want to get you in a room without a lawyer and hope you spill your guts about your family and neighbors, looking for anything they can use against you in the future if you should happen to join the lawsuit or become part of it through Class Certification.
bulletRead the next item "Everything you say can and will be held against you" for more information.

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11/06/03 Everything you say can and will be held against you

Everyone in the Tittabawassee River flood plain, except those signed up for the lawsuit, received an invitation from Dow Chemical to attend a "series of neighborhood group meetings" next week. 

In our opinion, if you have signed up to attend (these are not public meetings, you must send in an RSVP), please reconsider for the following reasons:

bulletYou have nothing to gain and everything to loose if you attend these sessions.
bulletThe State of Michigan says it could be considered unethical for a defendant (Dow) to question members of a possible class action before certification takes place (Certification hearing is scheduled for January 27, 2004).
bulletRiver residents lawyers indicate that what you say at these interviews could possibly be used as evidence against the claims in the case.
bulletThis issue was presented to Judge Borrello in court on October 28th.  The judge ordered Dow and the Plaintiff's lawyer to to file briefs in court by November 10th after which he will make a decision on whether it is legal for Dow to conduct the interviews before class certification.  As of today, no decision has been made.
bulletDow has stated, contrary to the MDEQ, EPA, WHO, and many others that dioxin poses "no significant health risk" to residents.  These "sessions" could distort the facts about the toxin.   Our lawyer says "the risk of misinformation is very real"
bulletDow is attempting to circumvent the courts before the Judge rules on the issue.
bulletIf you really want to talk to Dow, wait until after the Class Certification. 
bulletThe State of Michigan has already put into place a method (CAP) for citizens to participate in the clean up process and Dow received everyone of these, click here to view.  
bulletDo NOT attend these sessions until we know the Judges verdict on the whole matter.

If you still plan on attending, please:

bulletTalk to your lawyer before attending, if you do not have one, contact the plaintiff's lawyers and they will be happy to assist you.
bulletDo not sign anything.
bulletRequest that the conversation be off the record and that no recordings of any kind or written transcripts are authorized by you.
bulletDo not offer any health related information on yourself, family or friends that live on the river
bulletDo not offer any information about your property, real-estate transactions, possible flood damage, etc. on  yourself, family or friends that live on the river.
bulletDo not authorize Dow access your property for any reason, including dioxin testing.
bulletDo not authorize Dow to perform any exams or testing on yourself or family.
bulletDo not offer any information on your personal habits, hobbies, or comments about your neighbors.
bulletIf you find yourself being questioned or offering information on any of the above, get up and walk out, and call your lawyer.
bulletKeep your comments limited to suggestions on how they can cleanup the pollution now.
bulletThe State of Michigan is handling this matter and is directing Dow on what needs to be done.  So far as we know these meetings, especially before the court rules upon their legality,  are not one of them.  The State will address all of the issues above using proper channels, Dow's reasons for wanting this information is suspect and needs to be authorized by the courts before they can begin..
bulletWait for Class Certification before engaging in any conversations with Dow.  If you really do not want anything to do with this lawsuit, you can "opt out" and not participate AFTER the class certification takes place.
bulletOnce Judge Borrello rules on the legality of the meetings, we will post the results here.

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11/01/03 MDEQ releases Final Report: Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment

MDEQ's has released Dr. Hecotr Galbraith's final report on the Tittabawassee River Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment.  Click here to view the 58 page report (very large pdf file).  Click here to view his PowerPoint summary presentation to the CAP in October. 

A few excerpts:

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10/31/03 Citizen comments

"Where are the elected officials on this issue? how come we never hear from them? I for one am tired of all this talk about cancer cures and breast cancer awareness..........dioxin is an endocrine disrupter, it screws up your hormones. Is it any wonder there are so many women with breast cancer living in the floodplain?...............where are the doctors? Do we even have a local health department. When I read about the wildlife study and all those contaminated fish and eggs I knew it was in all our bodies as well.........thanks Dow is this another example of living better thru chemistry..........."

For other Citizen comments, see the Citizen page.  To submit yours, send an email to .  Or sign in to our on-line forum share/comment you views  with others.

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10/30/03 Michigan Court of Appeals refuses to hear Dow's Medical Monitoring appeal

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10/29/03 Michigan Court of Appeals refuses to hear Dow's Medical Monitoring appeal

Breaking news, details to follow.  Reliable sources indicate that the Michigan Court of Appeals has refused to hear Dow's appeal on Medical Monitoring.

Click here for Plaintiff's response to Dow's appeal.  Additional information on the the lawsuit can be found on the  Court Activity page .

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10/28/03 Class Certification decision delayed until January 27, 2004

Saginaw County Circuit Court Judge Leopold Borrello agreed to give both sides an extra six weeks to review discovery information in the case. Dow Spokesman Scot Wheeler says they are happy with the move. Attorney for the Tittabawassee flood plain residents against Dow, Jan Helder says its the best thing for all involved at this point to make sure the judge makes the right moves in the case.    Local media summaries:  Midland Daily News  Saginaw News  WSGW 790 Newsradio

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10/28/03 Cancer Risk; Re-analysis of data finds no evidence of dioxin cancer threshold

In other words, there is no level below which one can say dioxin is safe.    Click here for details

TRW Note: this information presented to demonstrate that contrary to Dow propaganda, research is continuing into the health effects of dioxin and the results indicate harm to humans.  For other examples of human research from around the world that is outside the Dow sphere of influence, click here.  For a list of 100's of relevant research references, click here

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10/25/03 Dow Midland SOW  proposal  "Business as usual"

A Midland residents comments to the MDEQ on the Midland SOW with a historical perspective of Dow's dismal performance in protecting the citizens of Midland. 

"CLEAN IT UP DOW. Continued delays mean continued exposure for Midland
residents.  Local Dow cheerleaders should not be allowed to decide the future of our
children. This is a public health issue, not a popularity contest."

Click here for the details
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10/23/03 New study shows significant increase in risk of Soft Tissue Sarcoma due to dioxin

Risk of soft tissue sarcomas and residence in the neighborhood of an incinerator of industrial wastes. 
Occup Environ Med (Occupational and environmental medicine.) 2003 Sep; 60(9): 680-3

CONCLUSION: The study shows a significant increase in risk of STS associated with residence within 2 km of an industrial waste incinerator; an aetiological role of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) can be hypothesized.    Click here for details

TRW Note: this information presented to demonstrate that contrary to Dow propaganda, research is continuing into the health effects of dioxin and the results indicate harm to humans.  For other examples of human research from around the world that is outside the Dow sphere of influence, click here.  For a list of 100's of relevant research references, click here

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10/22/03 MDEQ publishes Public Comments on DOW Scope of Work

This summary document contains the public comments received at the September 22 and 25, 2003 public meetings on the Scopes of Work (SOWs) for Remedial Investigation for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee River sediment and flood plain soil contamination submitted by Dow to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on August 11, 2003. In addition, it includes comments that were made at the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) meetings that were held on July 31, 2003, September 3, 2003, and October 8, 2003, and public comments that were received via e-mail or in writing during the comment period that ended on October 10, 2003. Comments solicited by Ms. Susan Carrington of Dow following her overview of the SOWs at the September 3, 2003 CAP meeting and recorded on flip charts are denoted by: [CAP]. Other comments made during CAP meetings are denoted by: [CAP Meeting].

Comments have been categorized by topic and are generally presented in the order of most to least comments on a given topic. In many cases, repetitive comments were not consolidated.  Click here for details

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10/22/03 MDEQ approves Dow Wild Game IRA Scope with stipulations

Staff of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Waste and Hazardous Materials Division (WHMD), has reviewed the Work Scope for the Interim Response Activity (IRA) of Evaluating Wild Game Taken from the Tittabawassee River Floodplain, submitted by e-mail on October 20, 2003.

This document was submitted in accordance with Condition XI.B.3. of the hazardous waste facility operating license issued to Dow on June 12, 2003.

The purpose of this IRA is to determine if human consumption of wild game taken from dioxin- and furan-contaminated areas of the Tittabawassee River flood plain is a human health exposure pathway that requires immediate mitigation.

The above referenced Work Scope, enclosed in this letter, is approved subject to the stipulations for approval listed.  Click here for details (pdf file)

Note: MDEQ comment to Dow after the 9/3/03 CAP meeting:

"Of particular concern with regard to the press release was the
statement in the Midland Daily News that "The latest effort is intended
to gain an understanding of food-chain relationships that will determine
if dioxin is being absorbed in wildlife." As noted above, there is
already substantial information that documents that dioxin is being
absorbed by wildlife. The focus of the risk assessment activities must
be to determine the extent of damage and to target remedial actions for
the greatest effect."

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10/22/03  Dow Lawsuit Plaintiff's file response to Dows' motion for appeal

The Order appealed has and will not result in the significant consequences alleged by Dow.  The discovery Dow seeks is unnecessary to the hearing on December 18, 2003; Dow has  provided no legal or evidentiary support that this discovery is needed prior to the hearing.

Visit Lawsuit Court Activity page for more, click here

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10/19/03 TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting/Dioxin Update

Public Invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 10/20/03 @ 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
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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10/18/03 Seveso study indicates dioxin exposure increases breast cancer risk.

A 2002 follow-up study of the 1976 Seveso Italy accident finds that breast cancer risk increases significantly with higher dioxin exposuresPatients diagnosed with breast cancer had serum TCDD levels ranging from 13 to 1960 ppt TEQ.   The EPA estimated body burden for the general population in the  USA range from 10 - 40 ppt TEQ.  Research in the   EPA and the CHEJ American Dioxin Report indicates people who live near dioxin release sites, children, nursing infants, and people who eat fish as a main staple of their diet are likely to be exposed to at least 3 - 10 times as much dioxin as the general populaiton.  Simple extrapolation of these numbers indicate serum TCDD levels of some floodplain residents will be in the range of 30-400 ppt TEQ.  While it's true the Seveso event exposed people to very high levels of dioxin, the low end of the studies TCDD serum range suggests breast cancer risks at contamination levels found in the Tittabawasse flood plain and the city of Midland.

Do you want to wait 30 years to find out if this is true in our area?  There is a viable alternative to Dow's "risk assessment science", it's called the "Precautionary Principle", please read it and then get out there and promote it!.  The precautionary system urges a "better safe than sorry" approach to decisions instead of the risk assessment method of "barging ahead until you can line up the dead bodies".    Polluting Corporations hate the precautionary principle and are spending a lot of time & money to counteract it.   Let's help Dow find the right way to proctect the community they contaminated: Dow, clean it up NOW!

TRW Note: this information presented to demonstrate that contrary to Dow propaganda, research is continuing into the health effects of dioxin and the results indicate harm to humans.  For other examples of human research from around the world that is outside the Dow sphere of influence, click here.  For a list of 100's of relevant research references, click here

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10/17/03 What's the diff?  Tittabawassee Vs Woonasquatucket Rivers

The Woonasquatucket river in Rhode Island was found to be heavily contaminated with dioxin  back in 1999.  Half the samples exceeded 1000 ppt TEQ.  The EPA decided to fence off all areas with more than 1000 ppt to restrict public access to contaminated areas.  IN 2001, the EPA made a decision to excavate the contaminated soils and flood plain sediments that where in excess of 1000 ppt TEQ dioxin.  Contaminated soil is to be replaced with clean fill and excavated soils and sediments sent to an off-site permitted facility for treatment.

MDEQ Phase 1 & 2 sampling indicates the entire Tittabawassee 100 year flood plain is contaminated with extremely high levels of dioxin.   Levels in local parks and residents back yards  exceed the EPA's conservative threshold of 1000 ppt TEQ (and greatly exceeds Michigan's 90 ppt TEQ cleanup level).  

bulletWhat do the two rivers have in common (besides unpronounceable names :-)?
bulletDioxin contamination at levels the EPA considers harmful to HUMAN health.
bulletWhy is the Tittabawassee contamination any different than the Woonasquatucket?
bulletIt's NOT!
bulletWhy is the Tittabawassee river dioxin contamination perceived by some as harmless and what is the greatest obstacle blocking cleaning it up NOW?
bulletClick here for the answer

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10/09/03 Seen any Mink lately?

PowerPoint presentation by the MDEQ's ecological risk assessment contractor Dr. Hector Galbraith at the MDEQ Community Advisory Panel 10/8/03. 

Risk Summary

bulletFurans and dioxins in sediments of Tittabawassee River pose risks to reproduction and early life stages of piscivorous (fish eating) birds and mammals.
bulletRisks to wildlife pervasively distributed throughout the 22 miles of the Tittabawassee River below Midland.
bulletFurans and dioxins in sediments of Saginaw River and Bay pose risks to reproduction and early life stages of piscivorous (fish eating) birds and mammals
bulletExperimental (mink feeding) and observational data (fish and bird egg contaminant data) confirm that dioxins and furans are bioaccumlated and pose risks to wildlife
bulletAccording to MDEQ's Allan Brouillet "We found them (toxins) in tissue from fish we collected, and from eggs from the water fowl that are nesting in the area.  It's not a theoretical issue, it's a real issue.  It's traveling through the food Chain"

Click here to start PowerPoint presentation

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10/08/03 CAP Meeting tonight

bulletTo view tonight's CAP agenda, click here
bulletTo view summary of last months CAP meeting, click here
bulletPurpose of hand wash stations in parks
bulletHelp to reduce but not eliminate exposure
bulletFish sampling and ecological risk assessment
bulletConcern over Saginaw residents eating fish
bulletMDEQ states MSU ecological study is not approvable in current from
bulletMDEQ states dioxin is know to be in wildlife and Dow's focus must be on determining the extent of damage, not whether it exists as Dow states.
bulletExposure study
bulletMDEQ clarifies small Vs large study
bulletRelationship of exposure study and health study to corrective action obligations.
bulletMDEQ says not required before cleanup begins
bulletAgricultural guidance
bulletMinimizing dioxin exposure from farming and gardening
bulletLiving in contaminated soil increases dioxin exposure, Dow study proves it.
bulletFor more information about the CAP, click here

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10/04/03 Dow feels dioxin is TOXIC, a blast from the past. 

In an internal Monsanto memo dated March 17, 1965, the company's then-medical director, Emmett Kelly -- warning his own company's scientists who would be handling a sample -- that Dow Chemical Co. feels that dioxin "is the most toxic compound they have ever experienced." Then, two weeks later he admits in another internal memo, "very conceivably, it can be a potent carcinogen."  Click here

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10/04/03  TRW on-line forum open for business.

Click here to visit TRW's new on-line forum.   Interact with others with an interest in the Tittabawassee Flood plain dioxin contamination.   This is a trial run, your responses (or lack of) will determine if we keep it up and running.   First time users must register with a username, you can make up an anonymous name if you wish.  If you want to post something permanently on this site, continue to send comments to

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10/01/03  The two faces of Dow

Dow Chemical showed it's true colors today.  Legal documents filed by the company  state dioxin is not  a significant health risk and that any injury, damage, or loss sustained by the flood plain residents is caused by our own negligence, carelessness, and/or omission (page 15, Affirmative Defense, item #14). 

This is the same Dow that says publicly it "remains committed to community participation" in the remediation efforts.  Sounds like Dow has already made up it's mind on the subject.  If so, why do they want to spend years performing tests?    Click here for a summary of the event provided by the Saginaw News.  Below is a press release from the plaintiff's concerning the matter.   The entire  Dow response (fantasy) can be viewed on this sites Court page, click here

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

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