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TRW Archives 2004 3rd quarter 07/01/04 - 09/30/04

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9/29/04 Local radio ads for the Campaign for a Clean Watershed start today

A local radio station, WNEM 1250 AM will begin playing the CCW/Lone Tree Council radio ad today.  It's playing when you open this page.  For details about the Campaign for a Clean Watershed and information on how to join, visit our CCW page.

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9/29/04 Public officials and their connections to  Dow

Detroit Free Press

Many public officials representing residents with dioxin-contamination property in Midland and Saginaw counties have ties to Dow Chemical Co ... "Obviously, these connections are troubling" ... "I don't think campaign contributions necessarily buy votes, but they certainly buy access" ...

Click here for the summary

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9/24/04 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

Contents:

bulletNext Meeting Monday 9/27/04 6:30-8:00 Thomas Township Library, see TRW Info page for directions
bulletDOW LAWSUIT UPDATE
bulletFOUR STATE AGENCIES ISSUE GAME ADVISORY
bulletTHE CAMPAIGN FOR A CLEAN WATERSHED
bulletDOW FUNDED UM EXPOSURE INVESTIGATION
bulletA YEAR AGO THIS MONTH AND THE FUTURE OF THE DEQ CAP
bulletHALLOWEEN DEADLINE

Click here to review contents.  Note all previous issues can be found on the TRW Info page.

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9/23/04 Quality of LIfe?

To the Editor: Saginaw News

In regards to the article, "Event Center renamed" on Sept. 15:  I and many others in this county are outraged with the Saginaw County Board of Commissioner's decision to accept Dow Chemical's $2.5 million over the next 10 years for the naming rights.

It was stated "the county looked for a Fortune 500 American-owned company that makes products in the U.S. that improve the quality of life."

Dow has not been responsible in improving the quality of life.  What abut our lives, our health, and being able to use our property as we see fit?  Dow Chemical has taken that away with their dioxin contamination.  Dow has contaminated the entire watershed, from Midland County to the Saginaw Bay, and contaminated the wildlife along this region.

Dow's corporate neglect also encompasses millions globally.  If you were to ask those individuals living in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Philippines, Vietnam, Italy, India, New Zealand, and in Louisiana, their answers would be no.

Why is it that Dow has given Saginaw County Public Health Department $25,000 for their 75th Jubilee, $40,000 to Tittabawassee Township park for new playground equipment, and now $2.5 million to rename the Event Center in Saginaw County?

Why hasn't Dow used it's resources to rectify the deficiencies addressed by the Department of Environmental Quality?  Dow has been given more than enough time.  It needs to step up to the plate and be the responsible corporate citizen it says it is.

The bottom line is Dow Chemical denies its responsibility by using various tactics.  With one being, "Green is good, Green is friendly, Green is the color of money"

Vito and Betty Damore,  Thomas Township

For more editorials like these, see our Editorial page

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9/17/04 Outcome of Dow / MDEQ closed door negotiations delayed another 45 days.

Plan due on Halloween

June 24 -- High level talks between Lt. Gov. John Cherry, Chester and Dow begin. The parties only vaguely commented on the meeting topics, saying they included deciding what cleanup is most critical, and how to best balance Saginaw Valley health and economic needs.

Sept. 1 -- John Moolenaar tells the Midland Daily News that a meeting among the concerned parties is planned for Sept. 15 at which he expects a plan of action to be presented.

Sept. 16 -- The state Department of Environmental Quality  emerges from negotiations with Dow Chemical Co. not with an agreement about how to proceed with dioxin cleanup, but with a date.

DEQ spokeswoman Patricia Spitzley said the parties plan to reach agreement by Sunday, Oct. 31

Add another entry to the timeline.

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9/17/04 Medical Moinitoring oral arguments put on Michigan Supreme Court docket

October  6, 2004 9:30 A.M.   Michigan Supreme Court docket 125205 for oral arguments concerning Medical Monitoring.  Location: Michigan Hall of Justice, Lansing MI.  Judge Richard A. Griffin

bulletPlaintiff brief to Michigan Suprmeme Court in support of medical monitoring
bulletAmicus brief to Michigan Suprmeme Court in support of medical monitoring

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9/15/04 Official T.River WIld Game & Fish Consumption Advisory documents published.

bullet

State of Michigan Issues Health Advisories For Consuming Wild Game From Tittabawassee River Flood Plain.  Click here for the entire text of the advisory

bulletDo not eat the liver from deer harvested in or near the floodplain downstream of Midland.
bulletLimit consumption of muscle meat from deer harvested in or near the floodplain downstream of Midland. Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 should eat only one meal of deer muscle meat harvested in the floodplain per week. Trimming any visible fat will lower the level of dioxins in the cooked meat.
bulletDo not eat turkey harvested in or near the floodplain downstream of Midland. While MDCH advises that you not eat turkey taken from the floodplain, at a minimum the skin, liver, and gizzard should be removed and discarded.
bulletLimit consumption of squirrel harvested in or near the floodplain downstream of Midland. Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 should eat only one meal of squirrel per week.
bulletTrim any visible fat from the meat before cooking
bulletDo not consume organ meats, such as liver or brains
bulletDo not eat the skin
bulletAs a reminder, Fish Consumption Advisories remain in effect for sport caught fish from the Tittabawassee River south of Midland, based on levels of dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls. The updated 2004 Fish Consumption Advisory is now available on the front page of the Department of Community Health’s web site (see address below.)

Additional information regarding wild game advisories for the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River, including a map of the area covered by these advisories, may be found at www.michigan.gov/deq and www.michigan.gov/mdch

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9/15/04 Dow and Saginaw County in agreement to rename Event Center the Dow Event Center

The Saginaw County Board has accepted a  bid from Dow Chemical for pay $250,000 a year for 10 years to rename the Saginaw County Event Center the Dow Event Center.   Area news media awakened to a call to attend a special meeting this morning to announce the agreement. 

Take the money and run, the downtown area of Saginaw can use it. 

Timing is everthing in the world of PR, especially since yesterday the State of MIchigan had to issue a Wild Game Consumption Advisory for only the 2nd time in it's history due to Dow's dioxin contamination of our watershed.

James Graham, James Township Commissioner, stated our concerns best:  "public leaders must still hold the company accountable for any link between it and the dioxin contamination of Tittabawasse and  Saginaw rivers."

Some interesting observations by Michelle Hurd-Riddick of the Lone Tree Council:

"The County Event Center is owned by the taxpayers of the county not just the city. The cost is roughly 16 dollars per year to the individual taxpayer. It is operated under an Authority with oversight from the County Board of Commissioners. MSG is the a private company responsible for the day to day operations of the Center as well as the agent for attracting entertainment

Three years ago, MSG was told to find a corporate sponser. Dow was the highest bidder. This should not come as a suprise. Dow will endeavor to be a presence in this community, much like Midland.

There are serious questions about timing. Why now? For Dow this is about  manipulating the "court of public opinion". Dow, unlike the public, is not afraid to be vocal and visible. Dow knows what it wants and what's at stake.

Worth noting the comments of Commissioner Graham and Sangster. 12 of the 15 commissioners were present the vote was 11-1 with Connie Smith voting no. "

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9/14/04 State MDCH issues warning against eating wild game along the Tittabawassee

"The Michigan Department of Community Health will announce today an advisory against eating wild turkey meat or deer liver and urge consumers to limit consumption of venison and squirrel harvested in or near at least 22 miles of the floodplain along the Tittabawassee River. Although dozens of advisories exist for fish tainted with toxic chemicals, it is only the second time the state has issued such a warning for terrestrial animals." Detroit Press Press

Detroit Free Press 09/14/04: Dioxin taint's state game, Advisory involves land near Dow

Detroit Free Press 09/14/04: Dioxin taint's state game along the Tittabawassee River, officials say

Other excerpts from the Detroit Free Press:

bullet"Meat from deer downstream of the complex had dioxin up to seven times higher than upstream venison, according to a state review of the data. Squirrel meat was up to 40 times higher, turkey meat up to 66 times higher and deer livers up to 118 times higher."
bullet"Chester has insisted that some cleanup should begin immediately, while Dow says a more" comprehensive plan can be developed after data from several studies are available in several years.
bullet"People should take notice of this. The whole food web is being contaminated. It's a watershed issue and a Great Lakes issue," said Tracey Easthope, director of the Environmental Health Project for the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor. "
bullet"Today's warning is based on a Dow-funded study released in July."  [more]

A copy of the official advisory should be available sometime today.

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9/9/04 Local residents united in a Campaign for a Clean Watershed

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  CITIZENS AND GROUPS MOUNT
  PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO ADDRESS DIOXIN

  The Lack of Progress on Midland Dioxin
  Sampling and Cleanup in the Tittabawassee
  Floodplain Prompt Public Appeal

 

Yard signs and tee shirts available

CAMPAIGN FOR A CLEAN WATERSHED.      www.cleanwatershed.blog-city.com

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Citizens and local environmental groups have had it. Summer has come and gone and the state’s worst site of contamination has once again not been addressed. Local environmental groups and concerned citizens have decided to launch public campaigns that will: 1. Increase awareness of the contamination 2.  Expose Dow Chemical disregard for public health 3. Confront the failure of the State to respond in a timely manner to this contamination. The groups are asking citizens of this watershed to lend their voices to the campaign and their hearts to this great Saginaw Bay Watershed.   ....

The group’s first ad will appear Sunday in the Saginaw News and will appeal to citizens to volunteer, host a yard sign, sign a public ad, donate -- all efforts designed to pressure Dow and the state to move to address the serious health and property issues posed by its dioxin contamination.  ....

The citizens are calling on the state to enforce the MNREPA and cease the closed door negotiations with Dow Chemical. "All stakeholders benefit from the light of day shining on this process", said Terry Miller, Chair of the Lone Tree Council. Dow Chemical is not the only stakeholder on this issue. From day one the venues for public participation have been highly controlled and manipulated. " ....

bulletClick here for the entire Press Release.

To Sign up for the campaign, obtain a yard sign, tee shirt, volunteer, or make a donation

bulletTo sign up or get more info, send an email to cleanwatershed@aol.com
bulletVisit   www.cleanwatershed.blog-city.com   for additional info that may not be on TRW site.
bulletClick here to open & print  a form which can be mailed.
bulletWatch TRW's CCW page for new developments.
bulletTRW does not receive a penny of your donations, all proceeds go to the CCW to fund future advertising.

Do us a favor and print, clip and post an small image of our Yard Sign in your car, on bulletin boards (only those that allow public postings please), etc..   The yard signs and tee's make great political ralley banners.  Thanks for your help!

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9/7/04 River residents request end of closed door sessions between Dow and State of Michigan

River residents sent a letter to Governor Granholm seeking an end to the last 3 months of  "Engler" like closed door, behind the scene negotiations with Dow.  Prior to the City of Midland meeting on May 26, the Granholm administration seemed to be following through on it's promise of creating an open and transparent process in dealing with the Dow Chemical dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee river. 

Then Dow Chemical unleashes it's politicians to attack the MDEQ and citizen involvement comes to a screeching halt. 

A recent MIRS (090104 or 090204?) news bite:

In other news, Cherry said he hopes to make an announcement in the coming weeks on an agreement among Dow Chemical, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), environmentalists and the residents of Midland County about dioxin cleanup around the Tittabawassee River. ...

"The picture is far from complete," Cherry said. "I would rather have a comprehensive picture about the scope of the problem than get people excited about dioxin levels in one little spot."

So this guy represents the concerns of river residents?  To our knowledge, no local resident and/or "environmentalist" from our "little spot" has been involved in these talks.   Who are these people?    All we see is a complete shutdown of the former transparent process.   The State is not enforcing the Dow facility license CACO, evidently Dow is now dictating the terms for a new CACO,  all MDEQ CAP activities have stopped, the MDCH has not responded publicly to the bogus Dow Wild Game Study propaganda, our parks lack proper signage to warn visitors of the contamination,  ...

Supposedly Dow, Cherry, and the Moolenaar gang will release the results of their secrete negotiations on September 15, 2004.  In our opinion, they are just waiting for the Dow PR department to put the final spin on it and makes the proper contributions to the Camp, Moolenaar, Stamas, and Sikkema PAC.

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9/2/04 "Friends of the Court"  brief filed in Michigan Supreme Court supporting  Medical Monitoring

An Amicus ("Friends of the Court") Brief was filed in Michigan's Supreme Court 9/1/04 supporting the Dow lawsuit plaintiffs efforts to proceed with the Medical Monitoring aspects of the case.  Those contributing are:

bulletThe Ecology Center
bulletAmerican Public Health Association
bulletEndometriosis Association
bulletAmerican Lung Association of Michigan
bulletGenesee County Medical Society
bulletPhysicians for Social Responsibility
bulletScience and Environmental Health Network
bulletLone Tree Council
bulletPublic Interest Research Group in Michigan
bulletSierra Club
bulletThe Center for Civil Justice

Click here to view more about the supporting organizations

Click here to view the brief (PDF)

Thanks to those who assisted in the development of the brief and to the Law Offices of Robert B. June, P.C. for drafting the Amicus

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9/1/04 Dow lawsuit plaintiffs file brief in Michigan Supreme Court requesting Medical Monitoring

The Michigan Supreme Court brief filed by Dow last month in opposition to Medical Monitoring is for a lack of better term: "twisted".  The plaintiff brief filed 9/1/04 in the Michigan Supreme Court takes to task all of Dow's gibberish and defines medical monitoring in very simple terms so that even Dow lawyers can understand it.

Plaintiff's  request for a Dow funded Medical Monitoring trust fund is simply "A court supervised medical monitoring program, not a lump sum payment to plaintiffs."   The Amicus brief states: "It's a proposal that will not produce a financial windfall for any plaintiff, but it may well save lives while helping to target resources where they are needed most."

Evidently the lawyers of Dow never bothered to read any of plaintiff's previous documents submitted to the court and instead set out to create a fictitious villain that only they and their kind can see.

Michigan law already provides for medical monitoring for "exposed employees of companies and contaminated property, soil and ground water." Why should this type of monitoring be withheld from Michigan's citizens who also happen to live in one of the most dioxin laden residential areas in the country?  Michigan public policy also makes the party responsible for environmental contamination to pay the related costs.  And it is "well recognized in Michigan that the burden of paying for the effects of environmental contamination should not fall on the people exposed to the contamination, the local government, or the tax-payers of Michigan."

The plaintiff brief addresses all the Dow's lies and intentional misrepresentations of our complaint and the laws of Michigan. The Amicus states if Dow where to succeed, Michigan's laws would establish a "rule prohibiting lower courts from requiring medical monitoring as a remedy in any kind of case under any circumstances in Michigan" and would in effect eliminate what "may be the most effective remedy in protecting citizens from latent development of disease as a result of excessive exposure to toxic contaminants. "

At this stage, it is unknown what tests or diagnostic procedures are appropriate to monitor dioxin exposure. The trial must proceed to let specific facts be developed as evidence. With this evidence, the court can determine what is necessary to monitor the situation at hand.

Click here to view Plaintiff Brief (pdf)

An Amicus Brief (Friend of the Court) document was filed for the plaintiffs as well, details will be published later.  Thanks to those who assisted in the development of the brief and lend their support to the plaintiff's cause:

THE ECOLOGY CENTER, AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION, ENDOMETRIOSIS ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN, GENESEE COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY, PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NETWORK, LONE TREE COUNCIL, PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP IN MICHIGAN, SIERRA CLUB,and THE CENTER FOR CIVIL JUSTICE

And a special thanks to the Law Offices of Robert B. June, P.C. for drafting the Amicus and the plaintiff  lawyers for crafting the brief: Stueve Siegle Hanson Woody, Spencer Fane Britt & Brown, Trogan & Trogan.

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8/29/04  Dow / U-M Dioxin Study Public Meeting Recap

bulletMidland Daily news coverage
bulletSaginaw News Coverage

If you happen to be one of the few chosen to participate, please do so.  Our concern is not so much with the science as it is with the misrepresentation & statistical manipulation of the data by Dow such as it did with it's Wild Game Study and past exposure studies of it's own employees.  Much of the supporting documentation for the study is still unavailable to the public.  Even with a $10 million dollar budget, the website for the study, www.umdioxin.org is incomplete as 8/31/04.   The residents at the meeting did not have a chance to pose all their questions as the Q&A session was cut short by the Chamber of Commerce UM CAP chair person.  Another UM Cap member assured residents in the Dow Lawsuit that they can participate if selected.  Until more information is provided by the U of M, you can view background information about the study on our "Studies" page.

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8/26/04  Dow Wild Game Study revisited: see the data without the spin & Don't eat the fish

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See the Dow data from a whole new perspective.   This information was gleaned from the 321 page Dow Final report which intentionally presents the results in a manner that most people would never understand.    Included are reviews of the Dow WG data by the EPA's Dr. J. Milton Clark  and GES's Dr. Hector Galbraith. To date, the MDEQ and MDCH have been ominously silent about the results, what's going on in Lansing?

Click here to begin

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8/18/04  Dow gets a taste of it's own 'medicine'

A recent news story in the Midland Daily News stated an "appraisal submitted in The Dow Chemical Co.'s property tax appeal against the City of Midland indicates dioxin contamination at its corporate headquarters has a negative impact on its property value."

Dow, welcome to the club!  Regardless of how you attempt to spin these facts, the evidence is clear.  Your own appraisers state what we have been saying for years: the property damage to the owners of dioxin contaminated flood plain property is real. 

In the article,  Dow goes on to say that home sales and property values in the affected areas are not impacted by Dow's dioxin contamination.   The fact that we disagree should not surprise anyone, that's why a lawsuit was filed.  Unfortunately, Dow is doing everything in it's power to avoid the truth and it's day in court

There are many aspects to understanding the real estate value of chemically tainted property.  The fact that houses sell for a while after the announcement of the contamination is true, what happens later is the crux ot the matter.  This phenomenon  is well researched and documented in other contamination cases.

Click here to read an excellent paper on the subject "Appraisal of Contaminated Property in the United States" published in October 2003 by Mundy Associates, a well respected expert in Economic, Market & Valuation Analysis.   The paper cites many other references to support it's position.  Subjects include:

bulletReal estate evaluation methods in contaminated areas
bulletDetermine impaired values
bulletThe "stigma" phenomena
bulletThe risk of holding contaminated property
bulletThe market phases of real-estate sales in a contaminated area
bulletPre-annoucment phase
bulletDiscovery phase
bulletAnnouncement phase
bulletCleanup identified phase

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8/12/04  SEC asked to investigate Dow's misleading statements made to investors

BOSTON, August 10, 2004 – Shareholders of Dow Chemical have formally asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate misleading statements by management concerning the company’s potential environmental and personal injury liabilities. In a letter sent August 10, 2004 to the SEC, Attorney Sanford Lewis, representing the shareholders, requests scrutiny of "a number of inadequacies and irregularities in disclosures and public statements" that are "highly relevant to the financial interests of investors."

bulletMisleading Statements Regarding Potential U.S. Liabilities
bulletFinancial Services Firm Identifies Reporting Omissions about Agent Orange
bulletMisleading Statements About Bhopal

Click here to read the entire press release.  Click here for additional information.

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8/11/04  The rest of the world recognizes dioxin is toxic, why is our community in denial?

Why is there no mention of the fact that Dioxin and other Persistent Organic Pollutants are so toxic that there is an international convention, the Stockholm convention (see http://www.pops.int/  ) under which numerous countries including Australia have agreed to eliminate where possible sources of POP's including Dioxin. People in the US have far higher dioxin body burden and dioxin intake than Australia and New Zealand, but even Australia has signed up for Stockholm, finalized 12 technical reports on Dioxin (see http://www.deh.gov.au/industry/chemicals/dioxins/index.html   ).

A proposed remediation of Homebush Bay (near Sydney 2000 Olympics) has done substantial health analysis on dioxin risk from soil in residential areas and in Homebush Bay. (see http://www.rhodesnsw.org/  )

The New Zealand Government has done substantial research into Dioxin levels and intakes for its population, as has the United Kingdom. See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/environment/dpcb.pdf   for the document "Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in the UK environment" ).

The World Health Organization also has lots of information on Dioxins. (See http://www.google.com/u/who?q=dioxin&sa=OK&sitesearch=who.int&domains=who.int   )

It's time Dow cleaned up its mess.

Paul Hanly
Rhodes, Sydney, Australia

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8/10/04  How long will it take?   Lone Tree Council/Trw Dioxin Update

Time for DEQ, MDCH, local health departments and every elected official to get serious about this issue. Look at the facts. According to 3 rounds of DEQ soils sampling we have high dioxin concentration pervasive and deep the entire length of the T-river. We have concentrations in people's backyards from 200 to 5,000ppt. Imerman, Freeland Festival, West Michigan Parks and Green Point all have levels from 150 to 7,000ppt. We have contaminated fish, which present an "unacceptable risk to human health," we have contaminated duck and chicken eggs and we have deer and turkey which far exceed levels permitted by the federal government. We are three years into this contamination in the floodplain and 20 years plus into the contamination in Midland. We've had two episodes of flooding this year which deposited additional contaminated sediments onto the floodplain. This river will continue to flood and deposit dioxin in our yards, public parks and communities.

In addition, Dow has a legal obligation under Part 111 and Part 201 of Michigan law to address their contamination. Dow has a federal license which identifies the City of Midland and the T-River Floodplain as offsite release which Dow is responsible to address. What does Dow do:

1. Threaten the state with jobs
2. Hire lobbyists to apply political pressure
3. Derail months of hard work by DEQ and MDCH to address the contamination
5. Deny dioxin's toxicity
6. Study the issue to death
7. Initiate a misinformation campaign
8. Lie about the results of their studies
9. Rally legislators to initiate legislation that will financially cripple the regulatory agencies charged with protecting our water resources

Of course, elected officials don't respond to the science or the law; they respond to whomever yells the loudest, and Dow and Midland have a huge voice.................. .Dow is not above the law and Dow is not and should not be the entity to define the toxicity or science on dioxin. The next time you hear Dow say that your largest source of dioxin comes from the food you eat ( that's correct for most people) ask Dow how it got in the food supply. In order to protect the food supply, you have to prevent dioxin from being released, and clean it up when it contaminates watersheds, farmland and communities. As we have seen, the dioxin in soils DOES translate to dioxin in wildlife, eggs and fish. We are never going to get dioxin in the diet reduced until we address dioxin in the environment.    (Click here for entire update)

Regards,
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council

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8/10/04  EPA stepping in?  New documents indicate unacceptable public health & ecological risks.

A recent EPA memo (7/30/04) to the MDEQ indicates the results of the Dow Wild Game study in the Tittabawassee River Flood plain are much more serious than the Dow Press release indicates.  The EPA goes on to state that they may need "to become engaged in the dioxin contamination problem and to re-enforce existing risks to public health and wildlife".  A summary of the memo was published today in the Midland Daily News.  Highlights of the memo:

bulletThe contamination has similar characteristics regarding levels of risk and area affected as the Kalamazoo and Fox Rivers, which are currently a focus of the US EPA remediation plans.
bulletIt is clear than a persistent, un-addressed dioxin problem exists.
bulletUnacceptable, elevated cancer risk's to public health to frequent consumers of fish.
bulletPotential health risks to persons consuming game.
bulletDioxin contamination of game indicate contamination of the terrestrial food chain
bulletUnacceptable, serious aquatic ecological risks to fish, fish eating birds, and mammals.
bulletStrong consideration should be given to removal of dioxin contaminated  sediments and flood plain soil.
bulletThere is particular concern regarding distortions of risk information which are causing inaccurate risk messages to the public.

Click here to read the EPA memo.

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7/29/04  Dow files brief in Michigan Supreme Court against medical monitoring

What is Medical Monitoring?

The premise of medical monitoring is that it provides a trust fund (funded by Dow, administered by the court) from which individuals who have been exposed to elevated levels of contaminants can receive screening, and if necessary, follow up care, for diseases associated with those contaminants.  The objective of medical monitoring is to screen individuals for risk, and to identify at an early stage illnesses or syndromes associated with contaminant exposure so that ill effects of exposure can be detected early and addressed while there is a better chance of treating and curing, or at least reducing the effects of, diseases associated with the contaminant exposure.  Medical monitoring is not a substitute for personal injury claims for individuals who do develop diseases from contaminant exposure.  Those individuals will have their own separate claims, which have been held by the courts to be claims that are not suitable for a class action.

On 7/29/04, Dow Chemical filed a brief in Michigan's Supreme Court requesting the Medical Monitoring aspect of the suit be dropped.  The plaintiffs now have 35 days to file their brief in response to Dow's.

Teresa Woody, lead Council for the Plaintiff's, disagrees with Dow and believes the Flood Plain residents claims is fair.  "Where they (Dow) have been (the) cause of the problem, they ought to take responsibility for the medical problems and concerns that these people have".  "Most of the progressive states understand that medical monitoring allows (the court) to give the appropriate amount of medical care to people who are exposed to toxic substances".  Saginaw News 07/29/04

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7/29/04  Dioxin levels in the State of Michigan

Average of 68 sites in Lower and Upper Michigan:  6.3 TEQ

3 highest:
LP-25 Battle Creek 34.7 TEQ
LP-34 Karlin 33.8 TEQ
UP-4 Seney Wildlife Refuge 35.0 TEQ

3 lowest:
LP-15 Cadillac 0.6 TEQ
UP-9 Iron Mountain 0.7 TEQ
UP-14 Ontonagon 0.5 TEQ

Click here for to see dioxin measurments from all 68 sites in Michigan
Click here for Nov 1999 MDEQ map of Michigan dioxin sample locations and results (large pdf file)

Tittabawassee Flood Plain MDEQ Phase 1 sampling: Average 998 ppt, highest 7,261 TEQ
Tittabawassee Flood Plain MDEQ Phase 2 sampling: Average 799 ppt, highest 3,400 TEQ
Tittabawassee Flood Plain MDEQ Phase 3 sampling: Average 309 ppt, highest 5,660 TEQ

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7/27/04  Lone Tree / TRW Dioxin update:

Contents:

bulletDow Chemical’s Wildgame Study Released
bulletDow’s Problematic Behavior
bulletLegislature in Session one Day Last Week ---Wednesday the 21st
bulletComments on local newspaper articles and editorials
bulletNew Names on the Dioxin Update List

Click here to view details

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7/20/04  New Zeeland dioxin human exposure study recommendations

"New Zeelands Ministry for the Environment has collected information on the sources and environmental levels of dioxin-like compounds in New Zealand, and on population exposures to these chemicals, including data on dietary intakes and concentrations in serum. These, and other data collected by the Ministry of Health on PCDD/F body burdens of New Zealanders, have been used in this health risk appraisal. This report also presents a concise review of our current understanding of the health risks associated with exposure to dioxin-like compounds, and reviews various health guidelines that have been established by other jurisdictions

In the light of ever-increasing scientific information concerning the toxicity of dioxin-like compounds, and data on body burdens present in the New Zealand population, we make the following recommendations:

  1. A precautionary approach should be adopted concerning dioxin-like compounds in New Zealand.
  2. A goal of ongoing reduction in population body burdens of dioxin-like compounds should be stated.
  3. Identifying a tolerable daily intake is not recommended.
  4. A health exposure criterion (HEC) should be established to regulate point sources of exposure.
  5. Application of the HEC should involve consideration of the plausible maximally exposed person from the point source activity.
  6. The New Zealand population burden of dioxin-like compounds should be monitored periodically, perhaps every 5-10 years.
  7. Policies and the HEC should be reviewed after consideration of trends revealed by future population monitoring. "

To view the details of the report, vist our Studies page, click here

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7/18/04  Dow does the community a disservice

Differing dioxin standards have differing purposes
Saginaw News July 18, 2004

My View Column by Dr. Ted Schettler and Dr. Peter Orris

We have followed the recent controversy surrounding dioxin contamination of Midland and the Tittabawassee River flood plain with concern and a sense of déjà vu. In the early 1990s, after contaminating Maine rivers and wildlife with dioxin for years, pulp and paper companies adopted tactics similar to those that Dow Chemical Co. is using today. Then they argued that there was no evidence of harm and that dioxin was not as toxic as previously thought. Today Dow argues that there is no evidence of harm and that the state threshold criterion for soil dioxin, 90 ppt, is too low. Those arguments deserve a response, but not before acknowledging that Dow has, regrettably, contaminated its home community and an extensive downstream watershed with hazardous amounts of dioxin—a potent toxic chemical that causes cancer, neurodevelopmental disorders, and problems in the immune, reproductive, and endocrine systems at extremely low levels of exposure.

Much of the recent controversy centers on Michigan’s 90 parts per trillion (ppt) standard vs. the Federal 1000 ppt threshold for dioxin concentrations in soil. Various commentators have compared these as apples to apples. They are not. Michigan’s 90 ppt soil criterion for dioxin is a level that is meant to be protective of public health in properties for unrestricted residential use. It is generally consistent with similar criteria in many other states. The Federal 1000 ppt threshold serves a very different purpose. It is a level at which there is significant concern about health effects. In fact, the lead Federal agency for public health research and education, the Centers for Disease Control, advises that soil levels exceeding 50 ppt should be a cause of concern, necessitating a more thorough analysis.

Further, State and Federal criteria restrict their focus to cancer as the outcome of concern, though we now know that other health effects occur at lower levels of exposure and may affect the entire population. In fact, due to the array of low-level effects, scientists today are uncertain about the threshold amount of dioxin that may begin to cause or contribute to illness in people. Moreover, dioxin-related health effects are often "hidden" in the general burden of disease and disability in the community. Trying to identify them as "caused by dioxin" is a fruitless task.

The important issues here should not be obscured by inappropriate comparisons of Federal and state criteria. These numbers, which serve two different purposes, are merely aids to understanding the magnitude of contamination and its likelihood of causing human health effects. Dow does the community a disservice by attempting to minimize the significance of their toxic contamination of the community by adjusting the ruler against which it is measured. That sleight of hand does nothing to protect public health.

It may be disruptive for owners if their property is labeled a "facility" when soil levels of dioxin exceed 90 ppt, but no one should be deceived into thinking that the problem goes away by changing some numbers. The world already knows that Midland and the downstream watershed are contaminated with Dow’s dioxin. As this story unfolds, residents should be very careful to protect their own health and economic interests, and not forego remedies that will likely be welcome, including, but not limited to, access to clean up.

Ted Schettler MD, MPH
Peter Orris MD, MPH

Ted Schettler MD, MPH
Department of Internal Medicine and
Science Director, Science and Environmental Health Network
Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA

Peter Orris MD, MPH
Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
University of Illinois School of Public Health.
Chicago, IL

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7/16/04  Dr. Linda Birnbaum presentation cancelled.

The EPA's world renowned dioxin expert, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, will not be giving a presentation in the Saginaw area in July as previously promised.  The reason for the cancellation is not clear, we are hearing rumors ranging from a "scheduling conflict" to "State officials agreed to postpone meeting at Dow's request", pick the version you like best.  The MDEQ is now talking with her about other dates, possibly in October 2004.  The reason we remain skeptical:    At the Tittabawassee Township board meeting on 7/13, a Mr. Heinzelman stated something to the effect "you will not be seeing her anytime soon" in response to TRW's statement that board & residents should hold off on their dioxin resolution (see 7/13 below) until they hear Dr. Birnbaum presentation on July 27.  Mr. Heinzelman is the lead in a local group of Dow supporters trying to alleviate Dow's responsibility for the dioxin contamination.  We suspect they they have a direct conduit to Dow PR group as they are constantly reciting Dow spin and attacking anyone with a differing opinion.   A member of the Tittabawassee Township adhoc-dioxin committee was totally unaware of this development.   Where did Mr.Heinzelman get this information?  Why would Dow have an interest in this? Is this the begining of the demise of an "open and transparent process" promised by the Dow and the State of Michigan?   Until the meeting is rescheduled, you can listen to a 70 minute presentation (in 3 minute sound bytes) Dr. Birnbaum made in Ann Arbor accompanied with her PowerPoint presentation, click here.

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7/13/04  Tittabawassee Township board approves dioxin resolution

Tittabawassee Township passed their dioxin resolution tonight that reads as follows:

bulletWHEREAS, WE APPRECIATE THE STATE OF MICHIGAN'S CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH FOR THE RESIDENTS IN THE TITTABAWASSEE RIVER FLOODPLAIN; AND
bulletWHEREAS, WE BELIEVE THE MDEQ HAS LOOSELY DEFINED A BROAD GEOGRAPHIC AREA AS A 'FACILITY'; AND
bulletTHEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, THE TITTABAWASSEE TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES
REQUESTS THAT THE STATE OF MICHIGAN REMOVE THE 'FACILITY' DESIGNATION FROM
FLOODPLAIN PRIVATE PROPERTIES IN TITTABAWASSEE TOWNSHIP WHERE THOSE PRIVATE
PROPERTY OWNERS WISH TO HAVE IT REMOVED
UNTIL IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT
THEIR PROPERTY IS IN FACT A FACILITY
; AND
bulletTHEREFOR BE IT RESOLVED, TITTABAWASSEE TOWNSHIP OF TRUSTEES SUPPORTS A PROCESS THAT WORKS EFFECTIVELY TO MAKE REGULATIONS PREDICTABLE; AND
bulletTHEREFOR BE IT RESOLVED TITTABAWASSEE TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES SUPPORTS USING A SCIENTIFIC BASIS TO ESTABLISH AN APPROPRIATE AND JUSTIFIABLE LEVEL
OF CLEAN-UP; AND
bulletTHEREFOR BE IT RESOLVED, TITTABAWASSEE TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES SUPPORT A SYSTEMATIC AND SCIENTIFICALLY BASED RE-EVALUATION OF THE 90 PPT STANDARD;AND
bulletTHEREFOR IT BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, THAT THE TOWNSHIP CLERK BE DIRECTED TO SEND A COPY OF THIS RESOLUTION TO OUR GOVERNOR, STATE LEGISLATURES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.

6 of the 7 board members were present with a unanimous vote.  The board is a political entity and said they had no choice but to produce some type of resolution as they are elected to represent the community. The original draft submitted by a group of Dow supporters was full of the typical Dow propaganda including raising the states RDCC from 90 ppt to 1000 ppt.  Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and the Townships adhoc dioxin committee did a great job in removing most of the crazy stuff. All of the actions referring to science are already in motion.  Recent science being considered by the EPA, ATSDR, WHO, etc indicate the 90 ppt is based on sound scientific principles and that if the number is ever revised, it will be down, not up. 

No one is clear on what the Dow group hopes to gain by removing the "facility" label from untested properties.  The obvious objectives are: 1) they think they can avoid disclosing the contamination in real-estate transactions to unsuspecting buyers, and 2) remove Dow's responsibility to clean up a property by duping residents into removing the facility label. 

Nothing can be further from the truth, Michigan's "Sellers Disclosure Form" requires the seller to disclose to the buyer if they are aware of any possible contaminated soil on the property [more].   MDEQ dioxin testing of random samples in the flood plain indicate a high probability that most properties in the frequently flooded areas of the floodplain are contaminated with levels exceeding the 90 ppt RDCC with a significant number of them  greater then 1,000 ppt (highest measure so far is 7,200 ppt TEQ).  The Dow supporters are obviously aware of the dioxin and cannot pretend they where unaware of the possible contamination of their properties.  Fortunately, they all signed a petition which should make it relatively easy to monitor their actions in the future.

The "resolution" is just a piece of paper at this point, however, Dow supporters in other communities will now be tempted to produce a similar document.    It will be interesting to see what the Dow funded legislators do with it.   We suspect they will spin the resolution by not mentioning any of the above and/or omit the language which gives a person to right to remain a Dow facility so that Dow remains responsible for the contamination.    Stay tuned....
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7/12/04  New evidence supports IARC classification as Class I carcinogen

Steenland, K., Bertazzi, P., Baccarelli, A., Kogevinas, M., 2004. Dioxin revisited: developments since the 1997 IARC classification of dioxin as a human carcinogen. Environ. Health Perspect. In Press. doi:10.1289/ehp.7219 (available at http://dx.doi.org)

In 1997 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified 2,3,7,8-TCDD

(tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin, the most potent dioxin congener, hereafter referred to as simply TCDD) as a Group 1 carcinogen based on limited evidence in humans, sufficient evidence in experimental animals, and extensive mechanistic information indicating that TCDD acts through a mechanism involving the Ah receptor which is present in both humans and animals. The judgment of limited evidence in humans was based primarily on an elevation of all cancers combined in four industrial cohorts. The Class 1 classification has been somewhat controversial, and has been challenged in the literature in recent years. Here we review the epidemiologic and mechanistic evidence which has emerged since 1997. New epidemiologic evidence consists primarily of positive exposure-response analyses is several of the industrial cohorts, as well as evidence of excesses from several specific cancers in the Seveso accident cohort. There are also new data regarding how the Ah receptor functions in mediating the carcinogenic response to TCDD. We conclude that the new evidence generally supports the 1997 IARC classification.

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7/8/04  MDEQ responds to Dow/Midland dioxin "misperceptions"

In response to the half truths, omissions, misinformation, command and control of questions and meeting agenda at the City of Midland public meeting on May 26, the MDEQ has produced a 15 page report addressing 19 alleged questions posed by Midland residents.  This report provides the answers State and Federal staff and scientists where not allowed to address at the meeting. 

bullet

1. Misperception: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is not using "sound science" in evaluating dioxin contamination in the Midland area.

bullet

2. Misperception: Dioxin is being held to a different standard than every other chemical that DEQ regulates.

bullet

3. Misperception: The DEQ is looking at dioxin contamination in Midland and the Tittabawassee River when the EPA indicated no risk was presented in 1984?

bullet

4. Why does the DEQ require cleanup to 90 ppt when the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) uses 1000 ppt?

bullet

5. Why does the DEQ require cleanup to 90 ppt when the EPA allows 1000 ppt?

bullet

6. Misperception: The DEQ uses unreasonable assumptions in setting cleanup criteria.

bullet

7. Misperception: Michigan requires cleanup at much lower levels than other states.

bullet

8. What health effects occur from exposure to dioxin?

bullet

9. Misperception: Dioxin ranks 72nd on the ATSDR/EPA National Priority List (NPL), which means there are 71 chemicals felt to be more toxic.

bullet

10. Misperception: Dow’s studies of its workers show no increase health effects compared to other workers.  TRW note: see www.dioxinspin.com for more on this matter.

bullet

11. Why is dioxin a concern when Midland citizens show no increased health concerns over other Michigan citizens?

bullet

12. Misperception: There is no reason to take any steps to address dioxin until there has been a health study of Midland area residents.

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13. Why is the DEQ declaring residential properties as "hazardous waste facilities?"

bullet

14. Misperception: The DEQ is being prescriptive and inflexible in requiring Dow to undertake cleanup activities.

bullet

15. Misperception: The DEQ is requiring people’s yards to be dug up.

bullet

16. Misperception: The DEQ views the situation as an "emergency" and is rushing to action.

bullet

17. Misperception: The DEQ is preventing Dow from responding to the dioxin contamination.

bullet

18. Why is additional sampling needed in Midland and along the Tittabawassee River?

bullet

19. Misperception: Dioxin is everywhere. Why is the DEQ worried about the Midland and Tittabawassee River levels?

bullet

Click here for the report (pdf format)

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7/8/04  The science behind Michigan's 90 ppt RDCC dioxin standard

Contrary to Dow's and it's hired representatives, Michigan's 90 ppt dioxin RDCC standard is based on science, no adjectives required.   It's the same science used around the world to address dioxins impact on human health.  Refer to the end of each document for references to the scientific research supporting the standard, including studies done by Dow (Kociba, R. J. et al. 1978.)   For those who believe the science is flawed, speak up and provide specific examples and perhaps the EPA, ATSDR, or MDEQ can clarify (this invitation is not extended to Dow or Dennis Paustenbach, the EPA has already commented on their flawed theories, click here)

bullet

"Cleanup criteria for environmental contamination are determined under Part 201, Environmental Remediation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (Act 451). The soil generic residential direct contact criterion (DCC) for dioxin is 90 parts per trillion (ppt). That criterion was developed in 1995 using the best information available at that time. The scientific information that has developed since 1995 indicates that dioxin poses even more of a risk than considered in 1995. Recent work conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO),  the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food, and in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) draft dioxin reassessment supports standards even lower than those in effect in Michigan. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, as well as the EPA, have concluded, based on literally hundreds of animal and human studies, that 2,3,7,8-TCDD is a potent human carcinogen."  Source: MDEQ response to Midland 5/26 meeting

bullet

The Part 201 DCC of 90 ppt for dioxin is based on exposure assumptions and toxicity information available in 1995. The toxicity of dioxin is currently being re-evaluated in a major reassessment done by the EPA, including review by the National Academy of Sciences. When promulgating the Part 201 cleanup criteria rules in 2002, the DEQ determined that it was more scientifically defensible to continue to apply the 1995 DCC of 90 ppt than to update the criterion before the results of the federal dioxin reassessment are available. It is anticipated that revision of the dioxin DCC to reflect current science and risk assessment would result in a generic residential soil DCC in the range of 10 to 70 ppt. An update of the soil DCC for dioxin would require: (Source: MDEQ response to Midland 5/26 meeting)

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A re-evaluation of the cancer potency value.

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An evaluation of noncancer toxicity.

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An appropriate animal-dose to human-dose conversion to account for differences between species.

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Selection of the most sensitive toxicity endpoint.

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Identification of an appropriate relative source contribution factor (which accounts for the fact that a significant source of dioxin exposure is from the diet).

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Incorporation of the updated generic exposure assumptions (i.e., the exposure assumptions used in the Part 201 Administrative Rules).

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The 90 ppt calculation simplified

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Part 201 Generic Soil Direct Contact Criteria

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Carcinogenicity Slope Factor

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EPA Great Lakes Water Quality Criteria for protection of Human Health

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7/2/04  Moolenar wants to spend $800,000 of taxpayer money to fund a study for Dow

SB 1066 -- MDEQ Budget - fiscal year 2004-05, the House approved a budget for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) that reinstated the Hazardous Waste Management Program, but retained reductions in staffing levels by 8%, and reduces general fund support for the department by 15%.

The bill also includes $800,000 to pay for a dioxin bio-availability study using Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) funding (1998 bond approved by the voters for contamination cleanups).

bulletThe authorizing language established in the CMI legislation back in 1997 states that if a responsible party exists that taxpayers will not be burdened with the cost.
bullet(e) That the responsibility for the cost of response activities pertaining to a release or threat of release and repairing injury, destruction, or loss to natural resources caused by a release or threat of release should not be placed upon the public except when funds cannot be collected from, or a response activity cannot be undertaken by, a person liable under this part.
bullet(f) That liability for response activities to address environmental contamination should be imposed upon those persons who are responsible for the environmental contamination.

The use of CMI money to pay for a study to benefit the Dow Chemical Company is an inappropriate use of those funds - and breaks a promise to voters who supported the CMI bonds.  At the same time, no new sites of environmental contamination are being addressed by the state due to budget shortfalls.   Click here for additional details.

Contact the conferees before 7/6/04, tell them to:

1) Restore the 15% cut
2) Remove language requiring a 8% staff reduction
3) Delete bio-availability study (section 703).

Senate - Senators McManus, Goschka, Barcia
House - Representatives Pastor, Moolenaar, Brown

Contact Information:

Sen. McManus: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/ima_form.asp?name=COMMENT35&form_path=c:/webforms/rep

Sen. Goschka: senmgoschka@senate.michigan.gov

Sen. Barcia: SenJBarcia@senate.michigan.gov

Rep. Pastor: johnpastor@house.mi.gov

Rep. Moolenaar: johnmoolenaar@house.mi.gov

Rep. Brown: richbrown@house.mi.gov
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7/1/04 EPA Dioxin Reassesment Report status update

STATUS:  July 2004  The release of the U.S. EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment Report, a study on the sources and health risks of our exposure to dioxin that has been 16 years in the making, continues to be delayed for an indefinite period of time.  An Interagency Working Group (IWG) reviewed the dioxin reassessment report in 2003, communicating a level of concern to EPA that triggered a request for the National Academy of Sciences to conduct another review of the science.   The IWG is co-chaired by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), agencies that have an overriding interest in minimizing the economic impact of dioxin regulation on the cattle, dairy and other food industries.  Inside sources have revealed to CHEJ that although the funding has not yet been given to the National Academy for its review, HHS and USDA have finally settled on their charge to the committee:  to find anything that is not perfect about the draft reassessment!  This fishing expedition is just one more piece of evidence that the Administration’s over-riding concern is to keep this potentially explosive report sitting safely on a shelf until well after the November elections – in fact, for as long after that as possible.  Source: www.chej.org

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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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