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TRW Archives 2004 1st quarter 1/1/04 - 3/31/04

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03/30/04  2004 flood aftermath

The 2004 spring flood event on the Tittabawassee has receded.  Photo's taken 3 weeks later reveal a significant deposit of new soil in a residents backyard.  Click here to view images during and after the flood .

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03/30/04  TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting Dioxin Update

Public invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 4/26/04 @6:30 PM
Thomas Township Library.   Click here for all the details, Topics include

        WOW! Dow CEO
Dow ranked in Fortune 50
U of M study
The Long Shadow
Leauge of Conservation Voters
Soil Samples Farm Fields
Walley population boom
Framing, marginalizing, and labeling

Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page

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03/26/04  Judge reschedules Class Certifcation trial forJune 9, 2004

Judge Borrello reschedules Class Certification hearing for June 9, 2004 which had been previously set for April 6, 2004.  The Judge made the decision to give both sides time depose expert affidavits included in their Class Certification briefs.  According to Plaintiff attorneys, it is unnecessary under  Michigan law for Court's to resort to the "battle of the expert" approach favored by Dow to decide the class certification issue.  Dow is attempting to go around these principles to defeat class certification by arguing the merits of its case through various experts before Class status is determined.  Determining the "merits" of a case is done during the actual trial by a Jury, not before the case is certified as a class action.  Plaintiffs where forced into a position by Dow's actions to choose between:
                     1) following the principles of Michigan Law or
                     2) allowing Dow’s affidavits to go unchallenged.
Plaintiffs ultimately chose the latter, and submitted the affidavits of two expert witnesses to rebut the inappropriate testimony of Dow’s expert witnesses. 

For all the details see 3/26/04 entry on our Dow Lawsuit page.

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03/26/04  See through the Dow hype: 10 points to evaluate Dow misinformation.

Dow and it's fellow accomplices in the chemical industry often site misinformation about their chemicals and the human health effects that they cause.   The Coming Clean organization, www.come-clean.org,   offers some detailed and referenced scientific facts on the issues.  The 10 points below  are listed on their  site as reasons to join the group, however the information is useful to everyone interested in cutting through the hype.  The Come-Clean web site also contains useful information about, chemical body burden's, steps to clean up a community, and more.

  1. Fact: There are no mandatory health studies required to put a chemical into commerce
  2. Fact: People vary enormously in their reaction to toxic substances
  3. Fact: The fetus, infants, and children are usually more vulnerable to toxic exposures.
  4. Fact: Cancer rates are increasing, particularly for cancers that affect the young
  5. Bogus: "The doses of these toxins are so low that you'd have to drink 50,000 bathtubs
    to get a dose that caused any harm  in animal studies
  6. Bogus: "There is no evidence of human harm from exposure to X.
  7. Bogus: "That was the old chemical industry. We have changed our ways.
  8. Bogus: "These are the best-tested chemicals in the world.
  9. Bogus: "Animal studies can't predict human harm - people are not just big rats.
  10. Bogus: "Exposures are well within safe limits.  

Click here for details on the 10 points above (pdf file).   For additional info on steps you can take to protect yourself, see our What Can I Do page.

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03/26/04  Dioxin human health effects update

To counter all the recent misinformation being feed the local community, the following is a summary of dioxins effects on human health as presented on the Coming Clean sites Body Burden Dioxin Case study page.

Exposure to dioxin can lead to a wide array of adverse health effects including cancer, birth defects, diabetes, learning and developmental delays, endometriosis, and immune system abnormalities. 

Dioxin is a known carcinogen. IARC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a known human carcinogen in 1997. In January 2001, the Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program classified dioxin as a known human carcinogen. The September 2000 draft of the U.S. EPA's Health Assessment document on dioxin also classifies dioxin as a known human carcinogen. In that same report, the U.S. EPA projected an excess cancer risk of one in 100 for the most sensitive people who consume a diet high in animal fats. In other words, the risk of getting cancer from dioxin--over and above the risk of cancer from other sources—is one in 100 for some people. This is a worst-case scenario. It's for the most sensitive people among the five percent of the population who consume the most dioxin. For the average person, EPA estimates a risk level of one in 1,000, which is also a serious risk level. The EPA’s generally "acceptable" risk level is one-in-one-million.

Dioxin also causes a wide range of non-cancer effects including reproductive, developmental, immunological, and endocrine effects in both animals and humans. Animal studies show that dioxin exposure is associated with endometriosis, decreased fertility, inability to carry pregnancies to term, lowered testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, birth defects, and learning disabilities. In children, dioxin exposure has been associated with IQ deficits, delays in psychomotor and neurodevelopment, and altered behavior including hyperactivity. Studies in workers have found lowered testosterone levels, decreased testes size, and birth defects in offspring of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Effects on the immune system appear to be among the most sensitive endpoints studied. Animal studies show that dioxin decreased immune response and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. In human studies, dioxin was associated with immune system depression and alterations in immune status leading to increased infections. Dioxin can also disrupt the normal function of hormones—chemical messengers that the body uses for growth and regulation. Dioxin interferes with thyroid levels in infants and adults, alters glucose tolerance, and has been linked to diabetes. 

For more about dioxins effects on human health, see our Dioxin Dangers page

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03/24/04  Judge states Class-Certification Trial will not be delayed.

With 4 hours notice, hearing changed from 3/29 to 3/24/04.  Dow requested that the Order of Court of March 3, 2004  requiring the 164 individual plaintiffs to provide written certification regarding production of documents be enforced immediately .   Dow also asked to depose expert's cited in Plaintiff's brief of 3/19.   Plaintiff attorney offered to remove expert affidavits from Class-Certification brief as they where added in response to Dow putting them in their brief of 2/27/04.  Plaintiff attorney states that affidavits such as these are not relevant to Class-Certification.  No one disputes Dow's (or Plaintiff's ) right to  depose expert witnesses, just not at this juncture.   After a heated debate, Judge Borrello stated he will rule on the matter next week.   However, he was adamant that whatever is done will not delay the class-certification hearing scheduled for 4/6/04.

Midland Daily News   Saginaw News

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03/22/04  History says Dow skirts problem


Lone Tree Council responds to Dow's Susan Carrington misinformation speech at the Saginaw Chamber of Comerce this month:

"Dow Chemical's claim that it has never tried to skirt the dioxin issue
("Dow exec defends company", March 4, 2004), is at best gross misinformation. For more than two decades, Dow has been able to manipulate, spin, and skirt its responsibility for dioxin contamination with all the force and finances befitting it Fortune 500 status
(TRW note: Dow moved into the Fortune 50 in March 2004). ..."

The above is from an excerpt from a Saginaw News editoral written by Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council, click here to view the entire article.

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03/19/04  Plaintiff's file brief in support of Class-Action Certificaton

Below is the Plaintiff Brief's Introduction:

"This lawsuit was filed on March 25, 2003. Plaintiffs moved for class certification on June 23, 2003. Eight months later, on February 27, 2004, Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") filed its opposition to class certification. Dow’s opposition brief impermissibly invites this Court to look well beyond the pleadings and evaluate numerous pages of merits-based contentions and purported expert affidavit testimony that have little or no relevancy to class certification. In addition to being irrelevant for class certification, much of this evidence is directly refuted by Plaintiffs’ rebuttal expert testimony, pronouncements by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") and other relevant evidence. Dow’s legal arguments fare no better than its attempt to mischaracterize the controlling factual record relevant at the certification stage. In point after point, Dow overstates and overcomplicates, apparently hoping that the Court will not see through to what are straightforward claims based on a common set of facts and legal theories that are ideally suited for class action treatment under MCR 3.501. The inescapable conclusion for this Court is that certification of this case is both necessary and appropriate."

Click here for a few excerpts from the Brief, or go to the Court Activity page for additional information.

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03/18/04  Dow funded $2M Dr. Garabrant study finds no neurological effects due to EPA banned Dursban

Dursban is an insecticide produced by Dow AgroScience, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.  It's not dioxin, just another chemical they unleashed on the public and are still fighting years after it's ban by the EPA to avoid taking accountability or responsibility.  Dr. Garabrants name surfaces in this battle.   What's this have to do with dioxin in the Tittabawasse flood plain and the proposed UM study?  1) EPA and other agencies deem Dursban toxic to humans, especially children, 2) a lawsuit is filed against Dow, 3)Dow funds a "study", 4) Dow continues to down play health effects and advertises chemical is safe even after chemical banned, 5) Dr. Garabrants study results disagree with facts supporting EPA ban.   Vision of things to come?  We think so.

Back in the year 2000:  WASHINGTON (AP) - The government and manufacturers agreed Thursday to phase out use of one of the most widely applied pesticides because of concern that it poses health risks to children in homes, schools and parks. Still, the product may remain on store shelves until the end of 2001, prompting complaints from some health advocates.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it was banning the use of the pesticide chlorphyrifos - commonly sold under the trade Names Dursban and Lorsban - for virtually all nonagricultural uses and curtailing its application on some crops, including apples, frequently eaten by children.

For more on the Dursban issue, including New Yorks suit against Dow for false advertising that Dursban is safe, click here

March 2004:Dow paid $2 million in the NY lawsuit for illegal safety claims on chlorpyrifos…this study "covers" them on the manufacturing side…check out the authors, one of them is Dr. Garabrant…

"Chronic chlorpyrifos exposure during the manufacturing process sufficient to produce biological effects on BuChE activity was not associated with clinically evident or subclinical peripheral neuropathy at baseline or with measurable deterioration among chlorpyrifos subjects compared to referents after one year of additional exposure."   Occup Environ Med. 2004 Mar;61(3):201-11.  Click here for the abstract.

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03/17/04  TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting Dioxin Update

Public invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 3/22/04 @6:30 PM
Thomas Township LibraryClick here for all the details, Topics include

        Green Point Nature Center
        Henry et al vs Dow
        Water (2004 flood)
        DEQ Issues #4 Bulletin on the T River
        Dow Scope of Works
        Dow spin
        Dow-U of M Exposure study
        DEQ CAP Meeting
        FOIA

Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page

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03/17/04  Tittabawassee Township accepts $40,000 Dow Foundation Grant

The suburb has received a $40,000 grant from the Midland based Dow Foundation to build a new playground in Tittabawassee Township Park.  Source: Saginaw News, Community News section 3/16/04

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03/16/04  Ecology Center & Lone Tree Council comment on Dow sponsored U of M "study"

The Ecology Center and Lone Tree Council have submitted comments on the University of Michigan's "Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study".  Dow and  U of M have provided little information on the "study" and refused to provided details when asked by the MDEQ , ATSDR, Ecology Center, and Lone Tree Council representatives.  What's the secret?   Their refusal to share indicates the study is flawed before it gets off the ground.   The public deserves answers to all the questions raised below.  Anything less is unacceptable. 

Email cover letter to Dr. David Garabrant and Dioxin Exposure Investigation Research Team 3/11/04

Please find attached comments to Dr. David Garabrant submitted by the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and Lone Tree Council. The Ecology Center, as you will recall, along with MEC and Diane Hebert, were the petitioners to ATSDR in May 2001.

Tracey Easthope, Ecology Center, and I attended the Feb. 19th teleconference with Dow, ATSDR, MDEQ, MDCH and the local health departments. Needless to say we were surprise that nothing more detailed than a power point presentation was available. At the end of the meeting, we, along with MDCH and MDEQ asked for a copy of the proposed study and were told we would have to comment on the Power Point. MDCH stated that this was not acceptable. When no one from Dow or UM stepped forward to offer more than the Power Point, ATSDR suggested we comment on the Power Point and that's where it was left. If a proposal didn't exist, Dow and UM failed to say so and if one did exist, an explanation for their refusal to share it should have been offered. It begs far too many questions. Our comments are based on the Power Point.

The implications of this UM study have huge ramifications for all concerned. This UM study deserves a full public and scientific vetting before it moves forward. The DEQ CAP is one of the most relevant audiences for presentation of the UM study or any study relating to this extensive contamination. It's important for us to insist on our relevance for all future proposals and studies. To the best of my understanding this study is on a fast track for this spring. Hopefully concerns and questions put forth by all parties regarding the UM study will be answered in a timely fashion and Dow and/or UM will share a substantive proposal with the DEQ CAP and entire community.

Regards,
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council

The concerns addressed in the letter fall into the following categories

bulletCONCERNS ABOUT THE GENESIS OF THIS STUDY
bulletADVISORY PANELS
bulletCONTROL OF SAMPLES AND DATA
bulletPUBLIC COMMUNICATION
bulletPURPOSE OF THE STUDY
bulletSTUDY POPULATION
bulletFISH CONSUMPTION
bulletLABS AND SAMPLING PROTOCOLS
bulletRISK COMMUNICATION
bulletINDOOR DUST SAMPLING
bulletMISCELLANEOUS

Click here for the details of Ecology Center/Lone Tree letter to Dr. Garabrant.

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03/16/04  MDEQ / ATSDR comment on Dow sponsored U of M "study"

The MDEQ and ATSDR are proposing changes to the University of Michigan's "Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study".   Dow is funding the study in an attempt to legitimatize a self-serving corporate science project to confuse the public and divert attention  the real science being conducted by the MDCH Pilot Exposure study.   We have real concerns about Dr. David Garabrant's neutrality due to his connections to prior Dow projects.   Hopefully Dow will abide by the MDEQ/ATSDR comments and modify their study as specified.  The proposed changes are as follows:

bulletA Science Advisory Panel (SAP) should be developed to provide expert advice on the conduct of any exposure investigations in Midland and Saginaw Counties.
bulletIndependent Data Center: To ensure that study results will be secure and maintained confidential, MDCH/ATSDR recommend that a Data Center separate from UM or Dow, be established.
bulletCertificate of Confidentiality: To assure the protection of individuals who participate in the UM study, we recommend that the UM Study Principal Investigator(s) apply to the Secretary of HHS for a Certificate of Confidentiality.
bulletMDCH/ATSDR strongly recommend against any statistical comparisons of data obtained from the PEI with results of any phase of the UM study proposal.
bulletThe UM has indicated they will form a CAP and will choose its membership based on independence, representation of community groups, and stature and respect in the community. MDCH/ATSDR are concerned that there will be a perceived bias in choosing the members of the CAP. We recommend that a CAP be formed under the oversight of the MPHI to ensure meaningful participation of the community and reduce any perceived bias.  TRW Note: this is a 2nd CAP, the original CAP sponsored by the MDEQ will continue to function.
bulletMDCH/ATSDR recommend that a communications plan be developed to ensure that information conveyed to the public (e.g., press releases, op ed pieces, and other mass media communications) is accurate and timely. The plan will also ensure that Dow, the UM, the MDCH, the ATSDR, and the local health departments are made aware of developing events so that they can better serve the public.

Click here for the details fo the MDEQ / ATSDR proposal.

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03/16/04  MDEQ releases Tittabawassee River dioxin bulletin #4.

A must read!  Topics include:

bulletNews from the MDEQ
bulletDioxin exposure issues
bulletSources of dioxin
bulletHealth effects
bulletDow Hazardous Waste Facility Operating license
bulletDow is obligated to comply with the corrective action
requirements in its license, REGARDLESS of whether
elevated exposures or health effects are or can be
demonstrated to be occurring.
bulletScopes of Work (SOW) and Notice of Deficiency (NOD)
bulletCommunity Advisory Panel (CAP)
bulletSoil/Sediment Sampling
bulletEcological Risk Assessment
bulletNews from the MDCH
bulletDCH Pilot Exposure Investigation
bulletSteps you can take to reduce exposure
bulletNews from the MDA
bulletMDA Public Meeting and Other initiatives
bulletPublic  & Private land access
bulletContacts for more information
bulletGlossary
bulletMDEQ dioxin web site: www.michigan.gov/tittabawassee

Click here to view the entire document.

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03/06/04  Tittabawassee River flooding crests tonight, floodplain dioxin redistributed.

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Darrel and Martha Stimpson look at the Tittabawassee River where
it has flooded near their home in Saginaw. The couple fears that rising
water will bring more dioxin-contaminated sediment onto their waterside
property.  Click here for full story: Midland Daily News

Photo by Midland Daily News/LORI DUFF

TRW photo from the other side of the river 03/07/04:

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Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council tours the flood plain.  Normal river channel is on the other side of the line of trees in the distant background.  Photo below is the same property in it's unflooded state:

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Above: Flood debris:  What is it? Any dioxin in it? Where will it land?  Who get's it next?  For many other photos of the 2004 flood click here.

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03/04/04  Dow spew's misinformation at local Chamber of Commerce meeting

Today, Dow's VP Susan Carrington, spoke at the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce meeting to 200   who's-who of the community.  A flood plain resident attending the meeting reports she made an extremely biased presentation full of misinformation.  Carrington   also made veiled threats to our economy by  mentioning the pending dioxin lawsuit and the  $922 million Dow allegedly provides to our economy in the same speech.  She went on to state dioxin is harmless and of such low values it is doubtful they would cause harm.    Below is a report from a flood plain resident who attended the meeting:

Carrington told the community that the dioxin really was not an issue, and
that "we" are just misinformed.  She said there is no risk for children,
that people in the area get all of their dioxin from food consumption, not
from the soil, 90% of the properties tested were below the EPA "action"
level of 1000, the properties that were above that level had those levels
BELOW the surface, so they were not a problem, there is no need to dredge
the river-it is over 24 miles long and there is no practical way to do so,
and of course, real estate has been selling at or above market values, so
this is not an issue either.

Hopefully, community leaders are not buying Dow's comments as fact.  MDEQ dioxin testing of 22 random flood plain resident properties indicate 77% are contaminated, some with surface levels (1") as high as 2,640 ppt TEQ.  This is almost 3 times higher than the ATSDR "action level" and 29 times higher than the State's mandated cleanup level of 90 ppt TEQ. 

The State's 90 ppt TEQ  RDCC is THE LAW, not an arbritary number.  It is  based on the same type of careful analysis used by States toxicologist  to establish limits for Mercury and Lead.  No one is debating Mercury and Lead criteria.   Why is dioxin being singled out by Dow for special treatment?   The States RDCC's for lead, mercury and dioxin are intended to PREVENT disease.  The ATSDR dioxin "Action level" is an arbritary number developed in a shroud of political influence and chemical industry lobbying [more].

Dioxin is one of the most researched chemicals on the planet.  Scientist in the MDCH, MDEQ, EPA, WHO and thousand's of other's consider dioxin an extremely toxic group of chemicals, especially to a fetus and/or young children.  Dow's constant downplay of dioxin's toxicity is a threat to our community and  demonstrates their total lack of conscience, promoting profits over the lives and properties of the people who live downstream of their facility.

Community leaders should  act in the best interest the people they represent.   Conduct independent research into the issue using sources other than Dow sponsored "science".  Pick up the phone and talk to a toxicologist at the MDCH.   Please, do not let Dow influence cloud your judgement, especially when acting upon the issues related to the wellbeing of our community.  Take a stand and do what's right: tell Dow to clean the mess up.

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03/04/04  Judge denies Dow's request to certify receipt of plaintiff document's

Judge Borrello denies Dow's motion to force plaintiff attorneys to certify they have produced all plaintiff document's.   The Judges order specifies they certify only those in their  possession.  

"We cannot possibly make a statement under oath that we have produced all documents when there may be documents we have no knowledge of," said Bruce Trogan, an attorney for the residents.

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02/26/04  Official MDEQ Phase 3 results

February 2004 Preliminary Residential Dioxin/Furan Soil Sampling Results of 22 Residential properties in Saginaw County

bulletMDEQ Press Release
bulletMDEQ Residential Property Analytical Results

In addition to the above, the MDEQ has posted aerial maps of all 22 properties on it's web site, www.michigan.gov/tittabawassee .   The maps are very large pdf files, be prepared to wait a while for them to load.

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02/23/04  MDEQ Phase 3 residence dioxin test results in: 77% tested properties contaminated

Residents participating in the MDEQ Phase 3 dioxin sampling study recently received the "draft" results.  The study was conducted on 22 Saginaw County residential properties in the Tittabawassee River 100 year floodplain between June and December of 2003.  The official results will be published publicly in the near future. 

The MDEQ has completed the total toxicity equivalent (TEQ) calculations of dioxin, so that the results can be compared to the 90 parts per trillion (ppt) dioxin criteria RDCC   generated in  accordance with Part 201, Environmental Remediation, of the Natural Resource and environmental Protection Act, 1994,PA 451, as amended in the Part 201 Administrative Rules.

The tables below summarizes the findings.  Table created by TRW based on draft MDEQ results.

Analysis by Street/Road

Road

Number Residences Tested

% Residences with > 90 ppt TEQ samples

Highest TEQ

Number Samples

# samples > 90 ppt TEQ

% > 90 ppt TEQ

Adams

1

100%

260

3

1

33%

Midland

8

50%

1,570

79

20

25%

Michigan

1

100%

3,140

15

11

73%

River

7

100%

5,660

73

38

52%

Strobel

3

66%

2,640

36

5

14%

St. Andrews

1

100%

1,340

6

4

67%

Wallace

1

100%

1,970

9

9

100%

Total

22

77%

221

88

40%

An important footnote:  The MDEQ has performed a few random samplings from a few locations on a few properties due to the high cost of sampling.  Over time, flood plain soil  moves around due to floods, wind, erosion, etc..  A dioxin level posted for a residence does not indicate the lowest or the highest contamination that may be on a property, a sample taken a small distance away may be higher or lower.  Unless every square foot of the property is tested every year, we will never know the true extent.

Of special note: The MDEQ sampling was taken randomly from within a property boundary.  From what we understand of the process, they picked sites that had characteristics suggesting contamination might be present.  However, they also picked sites where they expected to find low or "normal" levels.  This might explain why "only" 40% of samples exceeded 90 ppt TEQ.  Had they focused solely on suspected "hot spots", we suspect the percent of  contaminated samples would have been much higher.

In TRW's opinion, the random sampling of 22 properties (out of ~2000) suggests the dioxin is everywhere in the flood plain at levels well beyond the States 90 ppt TEQ, including surface levels.  If you live in the 100 year flood plain, assume your property is contaminated, possibly with very high levels.  Take precautions immedately.

>>>  Click here for additional Phase 3 details including dixoin levels by depth and residence.

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02/23/04  TRW / Lone Tree Dioxin Update

Click here for all the details, Topics include

        Dioxin is pervasive and high throughout the floodplain
        Dow scope of work
        Next CAP Meeting
        U of M Exposure Investigation
        EPA comments on MDEQ Ecological Study
      

Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page

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02/19/04  More residence dioxin test results:  5,600 ppt TEQ

Another MDEQ verbal dioxin contamination report to a resident on River Road:  5,600 ppt TEQ.  That's over 62 times the state RDCC safe/cleanup level of 90 ppt.  The MDEQ says residential sampling results data will be sent to the property owners tomorrow and should be sent out to the CAP, the media, and put on their website next week.   We will post on www.trwnews.net as well.  

An important footnote:  The MDEQ is performing a few random samplings from a few locations on a few properties due to the high cost of sampling.  Over time, flood plain soil  moves around due to floods, wind, erosion, etc..  A dioxin level posted for a residence does not indicate the lowest or the highest contamination that may be on a property, a sample taken a small distance away may be higher or lower.   Unless every square foot of the property is tested every year, we will never know the true extent.  Extensive testing such as this is unlikely because of the cost (estimated 16,000 acres @ $1,000 per sample).  In our opinion, the few, but alarmingly high results received so far seem to confirm the MDEQ's  original assumption as they stated in a public meeting on 10/3/02: "if you have had flooding from the Tittabawassee, you have contamination. Testing is not really necessary and you must begin to use the precautions to avoid exposure".

Unfortunately for us, the scope of the contaminiation has expanded beyond the floodplain.   A surface sample by the back door of a home on Midland Rd. had a value of 242 ppt TEQ.  This area is well outside the 1986 flood range and is almost 3 times the States RDCC of 90 ppt TEQ.

We appreciate the MDEQ & MDCH latest efforts, their limited staff and budget are producing valuable information to the families living along the Tittabawassee.    All the Dow Chemical company seems to produce is pollution, talk, delays, and confusion.    Click here for recommended precautions.  Dow, CLEAN IT UP NOW!

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 02/6/04  TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting next Monday
     Public invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 2/23/04 @6:30 PM Thomas Township Library
   
    Click here for all the details, Topics include

        Meeting location change
        Trw website back
        Dow Chemical Impacted Communities around the globe
        In the near future: Lone Tree Council web site up soon!
        Knock, Knock, Who's There? Dow
        Dow granted extension
        Dow cannot say dioxin?
        Waste discharge permits still free for Dow and other corporations
        A little Dow Chemical history.

Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page

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02/19/04  Dioxin testing of residence in floodplain  reveals 1,100 PPT at back door!

The MDEQ verbally released dioxin test results to a local resident who lives on the river. 

"The back part of my yard approx. 400 ppt,  upper middle part 5ppt (fill area from septic), by the
steps to my deck 10 feet from my house 1100 PPT ouch!!!!!!!!!!!! yes I said
1100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We don't know how, why ,when, where,maybe it could of
been moved to that location,(tracking) ?????????? We just don't know!!!!!! "
G & M. Whitney.

The MDEQ has tested a number of properties in the flood plain during  the last 7 months (Phase 3?), official results will be published in the near future.  Maximum State Residential Direct Contact Criteria (RDCC) is 90 ppt TEQ.  This residence has dioxin levels over 12 times what is considered safe by the State of Michigan.   This level even exceeds the ATSDR's 1,000 ppt Action Level.     It also exceeds the preposterous level of 831 ppt  Dow & the old MDEQ administration proposed in it's scientifically flawed attempt to raise the RDCC in December 2002.  

For those new to the 831 ppt issue, check out the news stories back in the fall of 2002.  They are an excellent primer for understanding what Dow is currently attempting to do with all of it's current  "studies".

Rumor has it Dow subpoenaed the MDEQ for the raw data of these test results weeks ago.   Residents are still waiting for Dow to "do great things".

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02/18/04  Family Practice Grand Rounds: Dioxin: Toxicity & Health Effects

Objective:
To provide review and clarification on diagnosis and management of subjects germane to Family Practice.

Presented by : Suzanne White, MD, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Regional Poison Control Center, Detroit Medical Center-Wayne State University.    See Meeting page for details

UPDATE: For reasons unknown, Dr. White did not arrive for her presentation, rumor has it attempts will be made to reschedule.

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02/07/04  Consider the source: Mutually beneficial collaborations between U of M and Dow

Recently Dow contracted Dr. David Garabrant of the U of M to design a study to determine the typical blood level of dioxin in residents of Saginaw and Midland counties.  State health officials say the studies are not linked to their study and that the Department of Community Health was not consulted about Dow's work. Why is Dow conducting their study? 1) Confuse the public and 2) create more corporate science to avoid responsibility for their contamination of our bodies and properties.

For those attending Dr Garabrant's  mis-information meetings next week, consider the following:

bulletThe Dow Foundation has donated over 10 million dollars to the University of Michigan.
bullet"Our long history of developing mutually beneficial collaborations has resulted in tremendous value creation for the University, Dow, and the public."  Quote of Bob Wood, Dow Chemical Company Business President, at U of M Dow recognition luncheon September 2000
bulletUniversities and their staff depend upon donations and grants to survive, very few look a gift horse in the mouth.  What kind of ethical "science" can be expected for donations from a company with a history of punishing those who do not develop "mutually beneficial collaborations"? 
bulletAsk Central Michigan University.  1977, Paul Oreffice, then Dow's president, wrote to Dr. Harold Abel, president of CMU (A university group invited Jane Fonda to speak on campus):
bullet"While inviting Ms. Fonda to your campus is your prerogative, I consider it our prerogative and obligation to make certain our funds are never again used to support people intent upon the destruction of freedom.  Therefore, effective immediately, support of any kind from the Dow Chemical Company to Central Michigan University has been stopped, and will not be resumed until we are convinced our dollars are not expended in supporting those who would destroy us."
bulletDr. Garabrant is working with Dow in other areas.  He currently is on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxic Research Center
bulletThis panel is chaired by James J. Collins of the Dow Chemical Company.
bulletAnother panel member, Dennis J. Paustenbach, President and Founder - Chemrisk, Inc. has a long history with Dow.  You will be hearing a lot more about him in the near future.
bulletCurrent member of the Board of Directors: Wilma Delaney, Dow Chemical Company (Retired)
bulletThe center is financed by many corporations including Union Carbide (owned by Dow Chemical), Exxon Chemical, Ashland Chemical, Dupont Chemical, and many others.   Notice a pattern? 
bulletCheck out some of Dr. Garabrants work   Again, see any patterns?

If you attend the Dow sponsored meetings, insist Dr. Garabrant disclose all of his past relationships with Dow Chemical Company and other corporations.  In his defense, the man has got to eat.  Unfortunately for us, he knows who butters his bread.

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02/6/04  TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting Dioxin Update

    Public invited: TRW-Lone Tree Council Meeting 2/23/04 @6:30 PM Thomas Township Library
   
    Click here for all the details, Topics include

        Meeting location change
        Trw website back
        Dow Chemical Impacted Communities around the globe
        In the near future: Lone Tree Council web site up soon!
        Knock, Knock, Who's There? Dow
        Dow granted extension
        Dow cannot say dioxin?
        Waste discharge permits still free for Dow and other corporations
        A little Dow Chemical history.

Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page

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02/5/04  Are Michigan Universities defending Dow with silence?

Money talks.  Dow's Knowledge Factories, an article by Brian McKenna of the Ecology Center, reviews 80+ years of Dow influence on our state Universities.  ..."Can we trust Dow-endowed universities and colleges in Michigan to produce good science (science in the public interest, not skewed to corporate profits) when it comes to Dow Chemical?"...  Click here to review the article (an excerpt from the Jan/Feb 2004 Ecology Center publication, "From the Ground Up"). 

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02/1/04  Corporate Science at work: Dow to fund dioxin testing.

On January 30, 2004, Dow published a press release stating they will provide a grant to the University of Michigan to design a study to determine the typical blood level of dioxin in residents of Saginaw and Midland counties.

Dow states the test results will "compliment" the MDCH Pilot Exposure Investigation (PEI) by developing " an understanding of whether residents who live along the Tittabawassee River and in Midland have higher dioxin levels in their blood compared with a similar group of residents living outside of those areas."

In our opinion, the word "compliment" suggests the Dow study will provide control group data for the  MDEQ PEI .  Unfortunately, this is not true. The MDCH PEI protocol states:

"Another purpose of this Pilot Exposure Investigation is to test the sampling criteria, questionnaire, and blood and indoor dust sampling methods prior to the implementation of a larger investigation that will include residents from the city of Midland, the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw County, Michigan and a control community with no known exposure to polychlorinated dioxins, furans, and coplanar PCBs beyond background."

The problem is this: non-floodplain residents of Saginaw and Midland Counties may be contaminated as a result of dioxin exposure as well.  For decades, Tittabawassee floodplain soils may have been used all over the area for fill dirt and landscaping.  In addition,   airborne contaminants and fish/wildgame consumption may increase local residents dioxin exposure.  Saginaw and Midland counties are not a good choice for a "control community with no known exposure" to dioxins and furans. 

How much dioxin is "normal" in the general population?   Considerable reasearch exists, Listen to Dr. Linda Birnbaum of the EPA discuss current levels of human dioxin exposure, click here

Hopefully, the ATSDR and MDCH will review the Dow study protocol and clearly indicate what is or is not "complimenting" the MDCH PEI.  Until more is know about the study and it's contractor, Dr. David Garabrant, we remain skeptical of  Dow's motives in funding this "study".  Why?  Click here

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01/30/04  Dow attempting to prevent  European Unions chemical regulation reform

Documents uncovered by the Environmental Health Fund, using the Freedom of Information Act, showed the U.S. State and Commerce departments, Environmental Protection Agency and office of the U.S. Trade Representative, formed an alliance with Dow Chemical Co. and others to ward off regulations they feared would raise the cost of doing business in Europe.  Click here for details.  For additional information on Dow's efforts to manipulate chemical policy, click here.

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01/28/04  Dow misses deadline to respond to MDEQ Notice of Deficiency

On January 26, 2004, the MDEQ sent  Dow Chemical Company a letter approving an extension until February 17, 2004 to respond to the Notice of Deficiency (NOD) on the Remedial Investigation Scopes of Work for Midland Area Soils and the Tittabawassee River and FloodplainPlease note that the letter contains a typographical error near the end of the second paragraph.  The word "compromise" should have been "comprise".    DEQ staff are meeting with Dow, at their request, over the next two weeks regarding the four issues listed in the letter.  Additional meetings will be scheduled prior to February 17, 2004, if needed, to resolve any other outstanding issues.  These meetings are intended to assist Dow in providing an adequate response to the NOD and to result in the submittal of SOWs that are as complete as possible prior to the DEQ's final review and approval, or approval with modifications.

The issues at hand:

1. Interim Response Activities (IRA) Work Plan for sampling/characterization of Midland Area Soils
2. Schedule modifications – moving items from IRA to RI Work Plan status
3. Community Information Centers/Materials for distribution/Signs
4. Dow’s proposed process for development of Site-specific Cleanup Criteria

Scope of Work Extension Request (pdf)

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01/26/04  Judge denies Dow's request for additional depositions

Judge Borrello denied Dow's request for additional depositions as he feels they are unnecessary for Class Certification.  The Class Action Certification hearing has been pushed back again due to a few plaintiff's slow response in producing documents.  The new court date is April 6, 2004.

            Saginaw News Summary
            Midland Daily News Summary

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01/25/04  Pilot Exposure Investigation Protocol Documents Available

The MDCH has published information describing  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.  The PEI will also provide information on how to conduct a future exposure investigation that could include several hundred people from the city of Midalnd, the Tittabawassee River flood plain, and a comparison community.

MDCH Pilot Exposure Investigation Power Point Presentation 12/1/03

MDCH PIE protocol: Dioxin exposure in adults living in the Tittabawassee River Flood Plain (pdf file)

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01/21/04  Russ Harding back in town

The Mackinaw Center for Public Policy has hired Russ Harding, former
director of Michigan's environmental regulatory agency, to be the
Midland-based institute's senior environmental policy analyst.  Harding
was a member of Republican Gov. John Engler's Cabinet for eight
years as head of the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Mr. Harding has a history with the Tittabawassee River, click on the links below:  

bulletTittabawassee River Flood Plain dioxin discovery
bulletAP newswire 12/14/02: Environmental groups seek to block relaxed dioxins standards for Dow
bulletMidland Daily News 12/20/02: Consent order under fire
bulletAP newswire 12/27/02: State's proposed deal with Dow falls apart

Many other articles concerning Hardings past performance may be found by using the "Search TRW Site"  link at the top of the Contents panel to your left.   Just type in Harding.

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01/20/04  The court hearing that never was
Lawyers flew into town, plaintiff's went to the court house.  The judge was not available.  Evidently Dow delivered a "Emergency Motion" document to the plaintiff's lawyers with a court date and time never confirmed by the court.  We all missed a big show about nothing.    If you really wanted to attend,  Dow will probably attempt to  bring the circus back to town next week.

The issue at hand is Class Certification:  do the plaintiff's have a commonality in their complaint that warrants certification as a Class Action lawsuit.    Today's  "Emergency Motion" is just one of many "Motions" Dow has filed to delay the certification and divert the publics attention from the truth.  Their plain is obvious: conduct a PR blitz to cast suspicion on the plaintiff's as if they are the ones on trial.   Whether a plaintiff deleted a personal email from the past or failed to produce a public document is not relevant to Class Certification. 

The crux of the matter is simple:  The state of Michigan has proclaimed all properties in the 22 miles of  frequently flooded Tittabawassee Flood Plain a Hazardous Waste "Facility" due to dioxin contamination released by the Dow Chemical Company.   What could be more "common"?

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01/19/04  Dow requests court hearing
Dow Chemical filed an "Emergency Motion Regarding Discovery" on 1/16/04.  Hearing is scheduled for January 20th at 1:30 P.M. in Saginaw County Court.   Dow is attempting to delay Class Certification by requesting additional depositions. 

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01/19/04  State MDEQ warns schools to minimize students exposure to soils
In a letter dated 12/3/03, the MDEQ notified schools in the area to plan activities so that students are not in direct contact with dioxin laden soils.  The soils of frequently flood parks located in the Tittabawassee River flood plain  have been found by the MDEQ to contain dioxin contamination with levels almost 38 times the states Residential Direct Contact Criteria of 90 ppt.  Click here for levels discovered in Phase 2 sampling. 

"...If school events are held in these areas, care should be taken to minimize students’ exposure to the contaminated soils. For example, hand washing stations have been installed in floodplain parks. Students should be encouraged to wash their hands after soil exposure, particularly before eating meals or snacks. Care must also be taken not to disturb wood chips or other barriers anticipated to be installed in the future to minimize exposure to bare soils. Events with high attendance are of special concern because exposure barriers are more likely to be disturbed when large numbers of people are present. The DEQ and the DCH also recommend that schools avoid activities such as science experiments requiring students to make direct contact with Tittabawassee River sediments downstream of Midland. ..."

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01/17/04  TRW web site back with new address.

Tittabawassee River Watch has a new web site address: www.trwnews.net.  
       Why?  Click here
You can help reestablish it's presence on the internet, please pass the new address on to everyone you know.  Thanks!

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

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