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TRW Archives 2005 3rd quarter 07/01/05 - 09/30/05

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09/20/05
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue:

bullet2005 Spent talking about public involvement
bulletThe results of these meetings has been a resounding rejection of the DOW DEQ Community Advisory Council model
bulletHand picked community panels are a staple of the Dow public relations strategy because it allows Dow to co-op community leaders and frame their issue
bulletThere is nothing more democratic than a town hall forum and we should all rejoice in the resounding public support for future meetings using this forum.
bulletFish Advisories
bulletThe final report, the Tittabawassee River Fish Consumption Health Consultation, was released last month by ATSDR and MDCH.
bulletSome news headlines stated walleye are "safe to eat".............but only if you're a man
bulletYou cannot, however, safely eat walleye if you're a woman of child bearing age or if you're a child
bulletIf you have to count the length of the fish and the number of permitted meals a year THE FISH ARE NOT SAFE.
bulletZilwaukee Twp- Dioxin and the pending DMDF (Saginaw River Dredging plan)
bulletZilwaukee Twp legal arguments (13 of them)
bulletLone Tree Council and National Wildlife Federations Legal Arguments (4)
bulletThe bottom line is this project has not been done correctly from day one and it is not acceptable.
bulletIt is the presence of Dow Chemical's dioxin in the Saginaw River which make this site in a floodplain of Zilwaukee Twp so unsuitable
bulletPutting contaminated sediments in a pit in a floodplain defies all science and logic.
bulletThis is a watershed issue because it will impact the entire ecosystem down river. This ill designed site will be a slurry pit of rotting, smelling organics to rival the odor nuisance of the sugar beet plants.
bulletSaginaw County taxpayers will own this site after 20 years; a site that has all the potential to be a huge liability and burden requiring cleanup by future generations
bulletThe Zilwaukee site is the model for Dow. In the Framework Agreement signed by the state and Dow ( after 8 months of closed door meetings).  Dow was assured they could use a site comparable to the one in Zilwaukee (see next 9/15/05 Current Update below)
bulletIf this project is not done correctly, in accordance with the law, then Dow Chemical doesn't have to do it correctly when they began cleanup along the rivers ( if ever)
bulletIf this project doesn't get off the ground the blame rests entirely with Saginaw County, the Corp of Engineers and the State of Michigan. No one is above the law. Not Dow Chemical and not the Army Corp of Engineers.
bulletThe courts provide us the opportunity to break through the bureaucracy and layers of politics and regulators who cannot think out of their regulatory boxes.

Click here to view the entire update

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9/15/05 Frankenlust township files lawsuit to stop dredge spoils site

Click here for details.  Tittabawassee River residents should sit up and take notice of this one.
Evidently the Dow/MDEQ "Framework" agreement allows Dow to use the same "technology"
to store river dredge spoils if they should ever be forced to clean up the Tittabawassee.  Can you
imagine large, open, stinking, leaking, cesspools of dioxin contaminated river muck spread up and down
the Tittabawassee? It gets worse: if they need your property to build the slurry pit and you refuse,
they may take it anyway by condemning it, click here for details of what almost happened to the Saginaw
River property owners earlier this year..

There is a right way to do this, a number of cleanup technologies are available and
not all of them require onsite cesspools.  IF built, the Saginaw River dredging spoils site
must meet all requirements for a hazardous waste facility.  Better yet, ship it all back to
Dow in Midland.

Below is an excerpt from the Framework agreement:

Management and Disposal of Dredged Materials

The parties understand and agree that Dow may propose dredged material
disposal options other than disposal in a Type II landfill, such as an
engineered disposal facility similar to confined disposal facilities used by
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to contain dredged materials. Any
disposal facility used by Dow must be operated and maintained in
accordance with applicable law.

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9/15/05 Dow Dioxin Class Action Certification Day One

September 15, 3995.  Class Action Certification Hearing

Plaintiff and Defendant began presenting oral arguments at 9 AM.

bulletPlaintiff's Attorney Teresa Woody presentation lasted about 1.5 hours.  She focused on why the case meets all the requirements of Rule 3.501: numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, and superiority.
bulletShe elected to not go into the merits of the case as they are not pertinent nor appropriate at this stage of the process.
bulletDefendant Attorney Doug Kurtenbach, followed up with an animated presentation, sometimes shouting at the Judge as he became more agitated. The performance lasted for about 3 hours.
bulletKurtenbach immediately jumped into the merits of the case as if the trial had already started. 
bulletPlaintiff attorney had just begun to make a rebuttal and was cut short because of the Defendant's attorney need to catch a flight to attend to a personal matter.
bulletThe hearing will resume on Friday at 10:30 to allow the Plaintiff attorney to continue with her rebuttal.
bulletThe judge stated he will rule on the certification by October 11, 2005.
bulletHe also stated he expected an appeal immediately thereafter from whoever lost.

For all the details of the case, visit our Court Activity page, click here.

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9/14/05 Dow Dioxin Class Action Certification hearing tomorrow 9/15/05

The Dow Chemical Co. and those wanting to sue the company for the value of their
homes are expected to appear in Saginaw Circuit Court Thursday.  Judge Leopold Borrello
is expected at 9 a.m. to begin hearing arguments on potential class certification for the
dioxin-related suit.  Click here for a summary from the Midland Daily News.

For all the details of the case, visit our Court Activity page, click here.

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9/7/05 ATSDR releases T.River Fish Consumption Health Consultation report

On July 27, 2005, the Federal Government Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released it's "Tittabawassee River Fish Consumption Health Consultation" final report for  the TITTABAWASSEE RIVER MIDLAND, MIDLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN , EPA FACILITY ID: MID980994354

Below are the Conclusions and Recommendation from the report, click here to view the report in it's entirety. 

Conclusions
Past DLC exposures from consumption of Tittabawassee River fish were similar to or greater than current dioxin exposures from consumption of Tittabawassee River fish. Current estimates of DLC exposure suggest elevated cancer and noncancer risk levels.
Therefore, past and current DLC exposures from consumption of certain diets of Tittabawassee River fish were and are a public health hazard.  MDCH has issued a fish consumption advisory on Tittabawassee River fish since the 1970s. Fish consumption advisories are necessary for people who eat fish from the Tittabawassee River to minimize DLC exposures and associated risks.
Future DLC tissue concentration cannot be predicted from the current fish tissue data. Therefore, future DLC exposures from consumption of Tittabawassee River fish are an indeterminate public health hazard.
Recommendations
1.People who eat fish from the Tittabawassee River should follow the Michigan Family Fish Consumption Guide.
2.Efforts should be undertaken to make the Michigan fish consumption guidance more available to women of childbearing age, young children, and frequent consumers of Tittabawassee River fish within the Saginaw Bay Watershed.
3.Fillets from species of fish such as bullhead, northern pike, panfish, and suckers should be tested for DLCs.
Public Health Actions
1.MDCH will continue to issue its Michigan Family Fish Consumption Guide.
2.MDCH will undertake an outreach and education effort to fish consumers and the sensitive population.
3.MDEQ will continue monitoring fish from the Tittabawassee River, and MDCH will request that the MDEQ analyze less frequently tested fish species for DLCs.

If any citizen has additional information or health concerns regarding this health consultation, please contact MDCH’s Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology Division, at 1-800-648-6942.
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8/30/05 Dow worker study on dioxin exposure flawed?

David Linhardt, a Chemical Engineer formerly employed by Dow,  has just released an analysis of the data and methods used by the Dow to measure exposure of it's workers to dioxin.  Visit his web site for more information: www.dioxinspin.com , the new report " Serum Dioxin Levels in  Former [Dow] Chlorophenol Workers" can be found on the Flawed Science page, volume 5.

"The study has value and significance to many Dow employees and residents in the
Saginaw area that have been exposed to dioxins emitted by the company. A previous
criticism that the study was handled more as a “PR event” rather than a high quality
scientific study remains valid."

Report Conclusions:

  1. The study does provide some sorely needed information on dioxin levels in the blood
    serum levels of some of The Dow Chemical Company’s most highly exposed chemical
    workers. However, there is information that suggests that the study primarily consisted
    of employees with low dioxin exposures. If this observation is correct, the intent of the
    company in producing such a limited study is not clear.
  2. The study confirms that Comparison Employees that worked in the Midland plant at
    jobs not associated with production plants producing dioxins and furans have dioxin
    blood serum levels significantly greater than the same age group in the US population.
    Dioxin serum levels in the sampled chlorophenol employees were found to be
    significantly higher than the background levels found in the US population.
  3. Dioxin blood serum levels found in the tested employees consist primarily (>96%) of
    H/OCDD dioxins and furans. Even an employee with the highest level of TCDD (266.7
    ppt) had an extremely high level of H/OCDD dioxins/furans (47,877.9 ppt) to the extent
    that H/OCDD dioxins represented 99.5% of the total dioxins and furans found in the
    subject’s blood serum.
  4. TCDD serum levels found in the study cohort are in the range in which other studies
    cited by Collins, 2005 reported a significant increase in All Cancers. Collins, 2005 did
    not provide any updated mortality information on its approximately 2,200 employees
    exposed to high levels of dioxins and furans.
  5. The study was based on 62 chlorophenol workers and tradesmen. To achieve a 95
    5% confidence level that dioxin serum levels in the still living members (1,378) of the
    original cohort are accurately known, a sample size of 301 employees would be
    required. The study did not provide any guidance on the confidence level and interval
    associated with the smaller sampling.
  6. The study failed to adjust background age group dioxin serum levels found in the US
    population in 1996, 1997 and 2001 to the year of the chlorophenol employee sampling :
    2003. When this adjustment is made (plus exclusion of four abnormally high serum
    levels), both Comparison and Chlorophenol employees were found to have significantly
    higher levels of dioxin in the blood serum than US population background age groups.
  7. The TCDD bio-accumulation rate (ppt increase per 10 years) found in the
    chlorophenol workers was approximately 50% of the rate found in persons residing in
    close proximity to a Dow 245-TCP/245-T manufacturing facility in New Plymouth, New
    Zealand. Based on the much higher degree of TCDD exposure to the chlorophenol
    workers, the employees lower bio-accumulation rate is unusual.

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8/24/05 CDC blood dioxin background levels follow-up

"I discussed the four abnormal serum levels with Dr. Patterson. He indicated that he was not aware of any reason to exclude them from the study. He offered two possible reasons why the four levels were so high.

1. The four subjects eliminate dioxins from their systems at rate much slower than the average US population.
2. Prior exposure to high levels of dioxins had occurred but the four subjects were not aware of the exposure.
 
After some thought, I believe that there might be a third possibility. All the test subjects were questioned about dioxin exposure and only those that indicated no prior high level exposure were included in the study. Study members were told that they would be informed as to their own dioxin levels. A less than honest subject -- interested in knowing his/her own serum level -- might indicate no exposure if only to obtain info on personal serum levels without spending $3000.

A resampling of the four subjects five years later should be able to verify if biological half-lives are normal or abnormal.

The issue still remains that four abnormal serum levels have had a profound effect on the background ranges being reported by the CDC. In addition, as we have already seen, subsequent researchers are using the CDC background levels per se without any comment that some maximum age group ranges were based on a single sample.

I'm somewhat surprised that the CDC issued the study without a discussion of the impact of the four serums -- one might think that someone in CDC management felt that very wide ranges in background levels might have a calming effect on dioxin exposed citizens. "

Dave Linhardt, www.dioxinspin.com

TRW: see 8/23/05 post below for additional information.

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8/23/05 Class action hearing date set

August 23, 2005 1:30 PM.  Plaintiff and Defendant attorneys meet with Judge Borrello for a status conference in preparation for a hearing on class certification.  The news media showed up with reporters and cameras which evidently prompted the Judge to move the proceedings to his private chambers.  After about an hour and a half, the lawyers emerged running to catch their planes. Plaintiffs lawyers stated the Judge set September 15, 2005 for the Henry vs. Dow Class Certification hearing.  The matter of the competing case for the Steinmetz's will be addressed sometime after the Henry case hearing.

For all the details of the case, visit our Court Activity page, click here.

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08/23/05
Dioxin "Background" ranges for humans not exposed to dioxin in question

David Linhardt, a Chemical Engineer formerly employed by Dow,  has just released an analysis of the data and methods used by the CDC, Dow, and the MDEQ to calculate the so called "background blood serum levels" of dioxin  in non-exposed populations.  Could the data be flawed?   Visit his web site for more information: www.dioxinspin.com , the new report can be found on the Flawed Science page, volume 4.

Excerpt:

Dow Chemical and Michigan Department of Community Heath studies of dioxin blood serum levels in Midland area residents and Dow employees reference a ATSDR-CDC study, Patterson, et al, 2004, that provides an estimate of background blood serum levels in 588 U.S. citizens supposedly not exposed to dioxins other than in their diet or in an environment distant from known sources of dioxins. 

However, Patterson, failed to exclude four unusually high serum levels and, as a result, the reported ranges of dioxin levels by age group are much greater than if only the 584 more normal levels were used.  As a result, some of the dioxin serum studies being carried out in Michigan erroneously report that ranges of serum levels being found are "lower than" or "are consistent" with US background levels.

In addition, the Dow and MDCH studies determined dioxin serum levels in the test subjects in 2004 and 2005.  However, Patterson was based on serum levels measured in 1996, 1997 and 2001.  The Dow and MDCH studies failed to adjust the Patterson serum levels to 2004/2005 levels which would be reduced through biological degradation.

A conclusion from his report:

Adjustment of the Patterson findings to 2005 and exclusion of the four abnormally high
dioxin serum levels indicates that Tittabwassee River residents have dioxin blood serum
levels that are higher than the estimated U.S. background serum levels. While the
maximum serum levels found in the PEI are not appreciably different than the maximum
levels found in the U.S. population, the minimum levels found are significantly higher.
The increase in the lower range of serum levels indicates a greater exposure to dioxins
of an extended period of time.

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08/21/05
Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue:

bulletPensacola agrees to reduce cleanup level at `Mount Dioxin'
bullet...Florida has a residential cleanup number of 7 ppt for dioxin but settled for the lower commercial cleanup number of 30 ppt. Here in Dow Chemical's back yard we have the chemical giant and a number of legislators calling for residential cleanup numbers greater than 1,000ppt even though the MDEQ says the number most protective of human populations is 90 ppt...
bullet Click here to view a summary of dioxin cleanup levels used in other States, most are MUCH lower than Michigan's.
bulletThe Great Lakes: An endangered legacy
bullet...One of the biggest toxic threats to Lake Huron is Dow's dioxin. Every delay, every year that goes by without a cleanup plan endangers this water resource...
bulletLegislators, DEQ spat over brochure
bullet...Would appear DEQ bashing is always in fashion for some legislators.................... in particular when their arguments are lame. That this mailing "never had department approval" is ridiculous at best and a shameless attempt to malign the agency. ...
bulletTown Hall Meetings Planned to Discuss Dioxin Response Efforts
bulletWednesday, August 24, Holiday Inn 1500 W. Wackerly Street Midland MI
bulletThursday, August 25, Horizons Conference Center 6200 State Street Saginaw, MI

Click here to view

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8/20/05 Class action trial hearing discussion

August 23.  Plaintiff and Defendant attorneys to meet with Judge Borrello for a status conference in preparation for a hearing on class certification.

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8/10/05 Class action hearing date delayed

August 8, 2005  Plaintiff and Defendant lawyers met briefly with Judge Borrello to discuss future court dates to resume the class action certification trial.  A date was tentatively set for August 23, 2005.  The news media reported the information they had at press time, however later in the day the Judge discovered a conflict and said the 23rd would not work for him.  As of August 9th, the trial date has not been determined.  Judge Borrello indicated he will re-schedule it ASAP.  For all the details of the case, visit our Court Activity page, click here.

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8/09/05
Manufacturing Uncertainty

The American Journal of Public Health July 2005

PUBLIC HEALTH MATTERS

Manufacturing Uncertainty: Contested Science and the Protection of the Public’s Health and Environment

David Michaels, PhD, MPH and Celeste Monforton, MPH

Abstract:
David Michaels and Celeste Monfortonis are with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC.
 
Opponents of public health and environmental regulations often try to "manufacture uncertainty" by questioning the validity of scientific evidence on which the regulations are based. Though most identified with the tobacco industry, this strategy has also been used by producers of other hazardous products. Its proponents use the label "junk science" to ridicule research that threatens powerful interests.

This strategy of manufacturing uncertainty is antithetical to the public health principle that decisions be made using the best evidence available. The public health system must ensure that scientific evidence is evaluated in a manner that assures the public’s health and environment will be adequately protected.
http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/95/S1/S39?etoc

Lone Tree Council Comments:

The manufacturing of uncertainty and leveling the accusation of junk science continues to reach new heights in the Dow Chemical dioxin contamination of the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Why? Because it works. Dow continues to use their hired academics, researchers and consultants to muddy the waters and obscure the issues and the facts: dioxin is toxic dioxin is pervasive the entire 22 miles of the Tittabawassee river sediment and soil levels are in violation of state law (Part 201) game and fish advisories are in place dioxin is found in every living think along the flood plain children, pregnant women are most at risk there is a RCRA license in force that says it Dow responsible for cleanup Using incomplete studies to draw conclusions that are gobbled and spread like wildfire through the media are a mainstay of Dow's PR campaign. Dow's ultimate goal is to use their corporate funded studies to create enough uncertainty, that in the end, Dow bought science will dictate the cleanup (or not) of their dioxin. The cleanup of PCB's in the Saginaw River was no easy task and some of the settlement issues questionable -----but at the end of the day GM took responsibility, put up the money and dredged the river. GM didn't launch a PR campaign, demand studies, call in hired consultants, or lavish the community with money. GM didn't a launch a campaign denying the toxicity of PCB's. So why is it different with Dow Chemical ? Because it is tolerated across the political spectrum as the expedient thing to do.

What corporations choose to do, how they choose to be responsible ( or Not) has a direct impact on the quality of the Great Lakes and tributaries. Dioxin concentration in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw River have reached excesses of 19,000ppt and 16,000ppt respectively. These numbers are real and the concentrations are going to make their way to Lake Huron. The state cannot set back and tolerate Dow's incessant "manufacturing of uncertainty" and the subsequent paralysis by analysis. Dow's dioxin is toxic and so is their PR and corporate attitude.

Michelle Hurd Riddick Lone Tree Council
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8/05/05  Research indicates next step: Clean up the river

Dr. Hector Gailbraith's presentation to the public on August 3rd revealed some new insight into the dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee River:  His recommendation: "How do we clean this up and what level do we clean it up to?"

He stated the Aquatic Risk Analysis conducted in 2003 provides sufficient evidence that some species of birds feeding on dioxin laden fish from the T.River are at over 200 times the risk of those from non-contaminated areas to develop problems with their egg embryo's, etc.. 

He also explained the concept of a "population sink" where healthy animals continue to move into the contaminated area, supplementing the population decline of the contaminated animals and therefore give the illusion that nothing is wrong. 

Click here for a power point of the Risk Assessment presented to the now defunct CAP back in 2003 which also contains a link the 58 page final report.

Click here for a Midland Daily News article summarizing the meeting.

During the "peer" review session following his presentation, a number of Dow employees and the staff of their hired consultants from Entrix and MSU asked some good questions for which Dr. Gailbraith provided answers supporting his conclusions.  However, the  line of questioning seem to indicate that Dow funded $5 million dollar MSU study may have already arrived at their conclusion, their remaining efforts will focus on Dow's goals to confuse the public and discredit any legitimate science.  This observation was enforced after the conclusion of the meeting as we observed Dow and Entrix employees rolling their eyes at each other and almost skipping down the parking lot hand in hand singing "la la la".

One might also question why one of the MSU scientists made comments to the press about the Dow/MSU study data when everyone in the room seem to agree that such a study will take 5 years before any credible observations can be made.  Could it be Dow's influence and money that prompted the headline "Researcher finds no dioxin impact on animal population" in the local newspapers on the same day Dr. Gailbraith's presentation? Could this be Corporate Science at it's best?

Even more ludicrous was that nights local TV coverage of the event. Had their reporter actually stayed for the presentation instead of just filming a few sound bites at the beginning, they would have known that their broadcast contained grossly inaccurate information.   To add insult to injury, the only comments they included from the attendees where those from a pseudo celebrity in the area by the name of Mike Avery who stated something to the effect that everything is wonderful in the area and basically encouraged folks to consume wild game and fish from the Tittabawassee River. Mr. Avery was obviously asleep during the meeting and did not wake up until he joined Garrett Greer (Dow spokesperson) in the parking lot to light up a cigar and joke about the situation.  We wonder who prompted him to make his statements on TV?
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8/03/05  Dow Press Release says workers safe, EPA and other disagree

Evidently Dow decided they are not getting enough press and decided to hold a Press Release yesterday to discuss some old news about a Corporate Science project they had designed to confuse the public about about dioxin and it's effects on a few workers.   This is a perfect example of Dow's interpretation of "Sound Science", manipulate the data to get the desired outcome.

After it's PR bit, the EPA and others had this to say (as published in the Saginaw News):

bulletState and federal health officials, however, say they doubt the validity of the results.
bullet"There are countless studies showing that dioxin has negative health effects at even lower levels," said Robert McCann, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Quality. "It is a jump (for Dow) to make some of those conclusions."
bulletLinda S. Birnbaum, a renowned dioxin expert and director of the Experimental Toxicology Division for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, also is skeptical of the company's findings.
bulletBirnbaum believes the study is flawed. She said the company misclassified some workers, potentially putting employees with high dioxin levels in its control group.
bulletHer concern lies with tradesmen -- mechanics, plumbers and pipefitters -- who worked periodically in the chlorophenol plant. Those employees could have elevated dioxin levels, but are in the control group as an unexposed population.

The project found dioxin concentrations as high as 17,847 parts per trillion in exposed workers. Normal levels are between 6 and 36 parts per trillion, depending on age.

Below are comments made back in October 2004 when these results where originally released:

bullet10/30/04 David Linhardt, a former Dow Chemical Engineer, questions a recent quote by
Dr. Robert Budzinsky, a Dow toxicologist with expertise in dioxin exposure: "There is
no scientific evidence that background levels like this pose any increased risk."

"I would like to ask Dr. Budzinsky to provide some information on the basis for his
assurances. I have examined the large number of mortality and health studies that
Dow has posted on its Dioxin Data website and I have found no information that
correlates dioxin body burden levels with human health effects. To the best of my
 knowledge, Dow has never determined dioxin body burden levels in the 2,200
Midland plant employees who were potentially exposed to industrial dioxins. "

Mr. Linhardt made the comments in an editorial to the Midland Daily News 10/30/04.
  Click here to read the entire article.  Visit the authors website, www.dioxinspin.com ,
for additional details of how Dow manipulates the data from their "Sound Science" to intentionally twist and distort the truth. 

bulletTRW Comments 11/10/04
"For one thing, the report notes that "exposed" Dow workers experienced "slight excesses" of prostate,
stomach, lymphatic, blood and other types of cancers when compared to "unexposed" workers. Furthermore,
the more workers were exposed, the more likely they were to die from stomach and prostate cancers.

The report also noted that, when Midland's two ZIP codes were analyzed separately, "higher-than-expected
numbers of all cancers combined" were found in the ZIP code where Dow's chemical plant is located when
compared to the entire state of Michigan for the years 1994 through 1998. "

The above is NOT yesterday's Dow Chemical Press Statement  about it's internal,
non-peer reviewed, sound science worker study.   It's actually an excerpt from a 2002
newspaper article summarizing State and Federal health officials review of a  similar
declaration by Dow that all is well in Midland back in 2001.  Please read this article,
"The Shadow of Dow" 1st, then read the Dow press releases on our Newspaper page
Note that the press releases where timed late in the day so as to not allow reporters a
chance print a "fair and balanced" story before their deadlines.  What you will read is pure Dow spin. 

"Background" levels are NOT "normal" or "safe" levels.   Why does the "control" group
have dioxin blood levels greater than 90% of background levels in other areas of the country
Why does Midland have one of the highest incidents of diabetes in the country?   Why
where certain prior studies data omitted?  

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7/25/05  Tittabawassee River Watershed Ecological Risk Assessment

Dr. Hector Galbraith will present the findings of two ecological risk assessments specific to dioxin and furan compounds found in the Tittabawassee River. In addition he will incorporate data in his lecture from several other studies in the region and articulate what these studies may suggest regarding ecological risks present in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw River as well as the Saginaw Bay.

 

Bay City State Park Visitors Center, Wednesday August 3 @ 7pm. Inform park personnel you are attending this event to have the entrance fee waived

 

SPONSORED BY:

bullet

The Partnership for the Saginaw Bay Watershed & the Lone Tree Council

bullet

 Facilitated by MDEQ

bullet

 Contacts:

bullet

  Kristi Laundra - 989-284-9997

bullet

  Michelle Hurd Riddick- 989-799-3313

 

 

Dr. Galbraith's work for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality can be found at:

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3308_21234_9847-43808--,00.html


Click here for additional details

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7/21/05  MDEQ mails residents Revised Supplemental Advisory

 Frequently asked questions for owners of property affected by migrating dioxin contamination.

The MDEQ mailed a 4 page newsletter to local residents addressing it's new 'Facility' language contained in a "Revised Advisory".  The revision clarifies language used in the original "Supplemental Advisory Regarding Part 201 Requirements Applicable to Property Contaminated by Dioxin" published in June of 2003.

The newsletter also answers 8 Frequently Asked Questions

bulletWhat is a facility?
bulletWhat are cleanup criteria?
bulletWhy is the term facility important in Part 201?
bulletDoes the DEQ designate a property a facility?
bulletWhat obligations apply to the owners of property that is part of a facility as a result of contamination migrating onto their property?
bulletHow did the DEQ determine which areas of the Tittabawassee River floodplain are part of the facility?
bulletHow did the DEQ determine which areas in the city of Midland are part of the facility?
bulletCan my property be part of a hazardous waste facility?

Click here to view the Revised Advisory newsletter (large 6 mb pdf).  An additional document, "Facility Status under Part 201number 09-009" published July 15, 2005 is available, click here.

Click on image to the left to view a few excerpts from the newsletter clarifying a facility.

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7/19/05  MDEQ clarifies 'Facility" designation

Soil sampling may not be required to designate a property a 'facility'.

As reported in the Midland Daily News:

..."A subtle change to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality policy more clearly defines the term and applies it only to those properties -- 103 in Midland and about 400 in the Tittabawassee River floodplain -- that have been deemed "Priority 1" areas and are undergoing interim remediation activities." ..."Those that already are identified as contaminated and are a part of cleanup plans are included. For others, testing must have confirmed contamination or enough data must exist to make a reasonable inference about the extent of contamination"..."The DEQ argued at House hearings on Moolenaar's bill that the proposal could slow the pace and increase the cost of cleanup statewide, and could limit possibilities of state and local financial incentives for redevelopment of brownfield sites. It also could release polluters from cleanup duties and expense, shifting the responsibility to property owners -- qualification as a facility is a prerequisite for landowners to receive relief"..."The DEQ plans to introduce the clarification to communities at upcoming town hall-style meetings tentatively scheduled for Aug. 17, 24 and 27. Locations have not been confirmed."
Click here for the actual language of the new Part 201 rules.

TRW note: the MDN article infers that a property owner must be classified as a 'facility' before they must disclose suspected dioxin contamination.  This is not true, Michigan Real-Estate Seller disclosure requires a seller to disclose even if they only suspect the property may be contaminated.

Click here for the Michigan Seller Disclosure form and check out item 10:
"Environmental Problems: Are you aware of any substances, materials, or products that may be an
environmental hazard such as, but not limited to, asbestos, radon gas, formaldehyde, lead-based paint, fuel or chemical storage tanks and contaminated soil on the property?"

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7/13/05  Dow workers test high for dioxin

Excerpts of study results published in the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology, July 13, 2005:

"While workers previously diagnosed with chloracne had high serum dioxin levels, some workers without diagnosed chloracne also had high levels. Among tradesworkers with plant-wide responsibilities, we observed serum dioxins and PCB levels higher than background indicating workplace exposures"...

"We conclude that our findings are consistent with other studies reporting high serum dioxin levels among chlorophenol workers after occupational exposures. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, 13 July 2005; doi:10.1038/sj.jea.7500439."
 

Click here for the abstract

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7/13/05 State & Federal agencies confirm bodies, homes, & properties contaminated

7/08/05 The ATSDR and MDCH released their ATSDR & MDCH Health Consultation: Exposure Investigation Report: A Pilot Exposure Investigation: Dioxin Exposure in Adults Living in the Tittabawassee River Flood Plain, Saginaw County, Michigan EPA FACILITY ID: MID980994354

bulletThe report was made public on July 13, 2005, the SAME day the Michigan Supreme Court denied floodplain residents the ability to make Dow pay for a trust fund to assist in monitoring their health due to the increased risks of living in Dow dioxin.
bulletOur suspicions are confirmed.  The official report states:
bulletTittabawassee floodplain residents on average have higher blood, home, and property dioxin levels than background levels found in the rest of the country.
bulletNew data in report includes actual blood levels for 2,3,7,8-TCDD.  This is the most toxic of the Dioxin Like Compounds (DLC).  Participant blood levels of this compound are almost double of those found in non-contaminated areas.
bulletThree homes have dioxin levels in their indoor dust that are higher than the states 90 ppt Residential Direct Contact Criteria for soil found OUTSIDE the home
bulletSoil samples collected from 15 properties located at least partially within the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River showed total dioxin TEQ levels greater than the MDEQ residential criterion of 90 ppt for DLCs. These findings further confirm earlier results indicating that elevated DLC levels within the 100-year flood plain downstream of Midland are widespread.
bulletThis report has undergone countless reviews during the 8 months prior to it's release.  Rumor has it Michigan Lt. Governor Cherry had to give final approval to the language of the report before it was released.  Evidently Cherry is now one our top scientist. Seriously, what did the scientist say that was edited out by politicians?
bulletClick here to visit our PEI page for the results of the study.
bullet

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7/13/05 Michigan Supreme Court denies Medical Monitoring aspect of Dow Law Suit

The Michigan Supreme Court rendered an opinion on the Medical Monitoring portion of the Henry Vs Dow case:

bulletThe bad news: The Court denied the Medical Monitoring portion of the case by a vote of 5 to 2. Dow win's, the citizens of Michigan and the rest of the country lose.
bulletThe good news: The property damages portion of the case is now freed up and will go back to the Saginaw Circuit Court for Class Certification in the near future.
bulletCoincidence or not, today the ATSDR and Michigan Department of Community Health released the Pilot Exposure Investigation final report of 21 individuals who live in the contaminated T.River flood plain.  Guess what?  They confirm our speculations from last summer: The dioxin blood levels of those tested are elevated well beyond those of similar ages found in other parts of the country.  The State and ATSDR took almost a year to "review" the data and therefore was not available to the Court when they made today's opinion on Medical Monitoring.  The plaintiffs lawyers informed the Court of the preliminary results in October 2004, evidently the Court decided preliminary reports of Dow dioxin assimilation by humans in the flood plain was inconsequential.  What would they say now? 
bulletIt is unfortunate that the 5 "Justices" have decided that a corporations cost-benefit ratio is more important than the lives of our States citizens. We feel empathy for the 100's, if not thousands of individuals who feel their health may have been compromised by the gross Dow dioxin contamination of our bodies and properties. We have been abandoned by the State of Michigan and have no further recourse other than in the voting booth.  The justices voting against the Citizens of Michigan: Clifford Taylor, Elizabeth Weaver, Maura Corrigan, Robert Young, and Stephen Markman.

The two justices voting in favor of the plaintiffs rights are Michael Cavenaugh and Marilyn Kelly.  They wrote an excellent "Dissenting Opinion" on the "Majority Opinion" of the other five.  It's a startling read and expresses TRW's feelings to the hilt.  While we lost this battle, it's good to see that at least a few in our government remember who they really represent.

Below is a one paragraph "sound bite" of excerpts from the two Justices Kelly and Cavenaugh's 27 page "Dissenter Opinion"  to the other 5's decision on Medical Monitoring:

"plaintiffs’ physical health is inexcusably deemed secondary to defendant’s economic health...Plaintiffs have suffered actual harm and damages...defendant’s Midland plant was identified as the “‘principal source of dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River sediments and the Tittabawassee River flood plain soils...the fact remains that they are at a much greater risk because of defendant’s acts...Experts continuously urge vigilant detection as the most realistic means of improving prognosis...This is fabrication at its most unforgivable–refusing to acknowledge that providing these plaintiffs with the opportunity to merely seek an equitable remedy is well within the bounds of judicial discretion...it seems clear that it is reasonable that defendant pay the costs...the majority’s result protects a wrong-doing corporation at the expense of the health of the people wronged...If defendant cannot produce its product without behaving responsibly, then it has no business operating within our state. …The lives of the people in the affected area are worth more than defendant’s financial well being,...The prolonged exposure of plaintiffs to such high levels of dioxin puts them at a vastly increased risk...the majority’s approach shifts the costs resulting from defendant’s actions to Michigan taxpayers...it behooves corporations like defendant to continue with business practices that harm our residents because the courts will shield them from liability...Sadly, this Court has resorted to a cost-benefit analysis to determine and, consequently, degrade the value of human life...Today, our Court has shirked its duty to protect plaintiffs and the people of our state, thereby leaving defendant’s practices and interests unassailed..."

Click here to view the entire Dissenting Opinion by Cavenaugh and Kelly.  If you feel the need to read the opinions of the other 5, read a Dow Newsletter, it's the same stuff.

Click here for additional details of the lawsuit on our Court Activity page

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7/12/05 MUCC approves T.River Ecological Restoration Resolution

In June, 2005, the Michigan United Conservations Clubs unanimously approved  a resolution for the Tittabawassee River and Flood Plain Ecological Restoration.  MUCC is the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation, with nearly 100,000 members and more than 500 affiliated clubs. 

Resolution No. 28

Tittabawassee river and flood plain ecological restoration

WHEREAS, the DOW Chemical Company (DOW) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have adopted a "Framework for an Agreement" for progress toward a "…comprehensive, final solution to the mid-Michigan dioxin/furan situation", and

WHEREAS, the Tittabawassee River and flood plain have been identifies as significant reservoirs of toxicants which is a major ecological issue, deserving of the full attention of MUCC in accordance with MUCC policy, and

WHEREAS, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) recognizes the critical importance of these resources and those of the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, and

WHEREAS, the "Framework" contemplates the essential participation of a wide range of stakeholders in an iterative development of a final solution to these ecological concerns, shaping the final resolution of this matter, now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the long term goal of the final solution must be the restoration and subsequent protection of the public trust in the river and floodplain as a major, inseparable natural resource, and

that this public trust includes full public access to the river and to public lands in the floodplain, and

that this public trust includes restoration and protection of aquatic and upland wildlife resources and habitat at all trophic levels, and

that this public trust requires that where it is not feasible to restore the full value of the natural resources, that a full restitution of this damage be made through the establishment of a trust fund of appropriate value to be used to benefit the citizens and resources of the area, and

that this pubic trust requires the assessment of human health risk, at all stages of human life, associated with fish and game consumption, as well as all other routes of human exposure, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that MUCC, including representatives of MUCC member clubs, be participants in the stakeholder process, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that MUCC critique and evaluate the adequacy of the proposed final solutions developed under this process, formally submit MUCC comments to the DEQ, and advocate for their full consideration in the final settlement of this matter.

District 10 – Region IV – Dr. Fred Brown

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07/11/05  Lone Tree/TRW Dioxin Update

Excerpts from this issue below, click here for all the details

bulletEPA - Fox River Presentation
bulletPowerPoint used during presentation: Part 1  Part 2
bullet Michigan United Conservation Club (MUCC) unanimously pass resolution
 on the Tittabawassee River at their state wide convention
bullet Recent Secret Studies by Dow
bullet MDEQ presentations scheduled for this week
bulletJuly 12, 2005: Dr. Linda Birnbaum
bullet6:30 pm - 8:30 pm Presentation on health effects of dioxin by Dr. Linda Birnbaum, the U.S. EPA's Director of Experimental Toxicology Division, is scheduled for July 12, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, Midland Michigan.
bulletJuly 14, 2005: EPA SITE program
bullet7:00 pm - 8:00 pm The U.S. EPA Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program staff will speak on “Testing of Monitoring and Measurement Technologies for Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds in Soil and Sediment”, Saginaw Township Fire Hall Classroom, 155 N. Center Road, Saginaw.  A technical discussion will be held on the morning of 7/14/05 from 10 am - 12 noon in Lansing at the  Michigan Library and Historical Center Forum 702 W. Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, MI 48915, click here for the morning session flyer.
bullet House Bill 4617 passes the Michigan House
bullet Dow Clean Up Your Dioxin Now signs
 

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07/09/05   MDEQ presentations scheduled for next week

July 12, 2005: Dr. Linda Birnbaum
Click here for the DEQ press release announcing a public meeting being held on Tuesday, July 12 by the DEQ, Department of Community Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) in Midland where U.S. EPA dioxin expert, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, will be speaking on dioxins and their health effects.
In addition to the post-meeting availability described in the press release, agency staff will have maps and graphics on the local contamination and will be available for informal one-on-one discussion from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. before Dr. Birnbaum's presentation.

July 14, 2005: EPA SITE program
The U.S. EPA Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program staff will speak on “Testing of Monitoring and Measurement Technologies for Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds in Soil and Sediment” on Thursday, July 14 at the Saginaw Township Fire Hall Classroom, 155 N. Center Road, Saginaw, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. This talk will discuss the results of work sponsored by the U.S. EPA to evaluate methodologies to complement high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to determine the dioxin-like toxicity of soil and sediment samples. The SITE program looked at a number of methodologies that are more affordable and faster than the highly accurate, but costly and time consuming, HRMS. The high cost of dioxin analysis is an important issue in the characterization of dioxin levels in the Saginaw Bay watershed. Many of the samples that were used in this study are from Midland soils and from sediments and floodplain soils from the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers.
Click here for a flyer that describes the more technical seminar to be given on this topic the morning of July 14 in Lansing.

 

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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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