TRW Archives 2009 1st quarter 01/01/09 - 03/31/09
03/29/09 Dioxin affects ability to fight off flu
As reported in
Environmental Health News
"Researchers find for the first time that mice exposed to the contaminant dioxin
during development or while nursing have a diminished capacity to fight a flu
infection later in life. Mouse pups born to pregnant mice that were exposed to a
small amount of the ubiquitous and persistent pollutants had fewer white blood
cells that normally kill the flu virus and more of a different kind that
increases lung inflammation. The increased inflammation can make the disease
more severe and recovery more difficult." ...
"This study looked at the long term immune effects of dioxin when exposure
occurs during development. The authors tried to identify the critical windows of
exposure where fetuses are most sensitive to dioxin's harmful effects." ...
"The number of specialized white blood cells -- referred to as CD8+ T-cells
specifically recognize and kill the flu virus, were significantly reduced in the
pups but not their moms, who had been exposed to dioxin." ...
"Dioxin exposure in the womb, and/or during nursing, impacts the development of
the immune system in mouse pups. Ultimately, the immune system of the pups is
permanently changed such that their response to an infection later in life is
seriously impaired. These results demonstrate the importance of the critical
windows of exposure for dioxin induced immune suppression: there are periods in
life where individuals are especially sensitive to exposure to harmful chemicals
potentially resulting in long-term." ...
Hogaboam, J, A Moore and BP Lawrence. 2008. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor
affects distinct tissue compartments during ontogeny of the immune system.
03/19/09 EPA in town to listen
From the Midland Daily News
"A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency team is in
the Tri-Cities today and Thursday to listen to groups with a stake in the
cleanup of dioxins and furans released by The Dow Chemical Co. ......"
Click here for the rest of the story
03/18/09 LTC airs TV commercial on local cable.
The Lone Tree Council has created a short but
succinct TV commercial that really puts Dow's dioxin contamination of our
watershed in perspective. It began airing on local Charter cable TV
stations yesterday. Not sure how long it will remain available on line,
check it out while it's hot.
(once page opens, click on Lone Tree Council link)
03/12/09 EPA to speed up Dioxin Reassessment
Environmental Protection Agency said this week that it will try to speed the
release of its reassessment of dioxin, a chemical that has contaminated
Michigan’s largest watershed. “The new administration is familiar with the
history of this issue and will be focusing on expediting the study,” EPA
spokeswoman Suzanne Ackerman said this week.
“We’re pleased to hear EPA plans to expedite the study,” said Mike Schrade of
the Virginia-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice, which together
with 100 other groups sent a letter to the Obama administration in late January
asking that the dioxin reassessment be released.
Click here for the complete article
Click here for additional details on the
history of this report
03/06/09 Dow negotiations halted by Obama EPA
As published in the Michigan
Clinton-era EPA deputy assigned to review dioxin
cleanup talks begun at close of Bush era
In one of her first actions as director of the Environmental Protection
Agency, Lisa Jackson has ordered the Great Lakes office of EPA to
stop negotiations with the Dow Chemical company — begun in the last days
of the Bush administration — over controversial dioxin cleanup in the
Saginaw Bay watershed.
The move is being celebrated by Michigan
environmental groups that have appealed to the new administration to
intervene in a process they say could shuffle the cleanup of a serious
public health hazard into a non-regulatory process favored by the
“I think its pretty exciting that they are going to stop and take a
look at this,” said Kathy Henry, a former resident of the Tittabawassee
River floodplain whose property was contaminated with dioxin from Dow’s
Midland plant. “We have been fighting this thing for so long.”
In January, Henry and representatives from a dozen environmental and
community groups wrote to Jackson and appealed to her to intervene in
EPA’s efforts to designate the areas contaminated by Dow as a “Superfund
Alternative Site.” Such alternative status would lead to a vague process
likely to shortchange citizen involvement and oversight, the activists
Click here for the rest of the story
03/03/09 Michigan Supreme Court hears oral
The Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Dow Chemical's
appeal over class certification for residents living on the Tittabawassee River
floodplain. Opening comments by one of the Justices stated "This case has
whiskers". We could not agree more, the case is approaching it's six year
The arguments in Lansing centered around whether the lawsuit should have been
given class-action status. Lawyers have said the designation could boost the
number of plaintiffs from 170 to about 2,000. Arguing for the plaintiffs
was Teresa Woody. Dow brought in their big gun
Christopher Landau from the Kirkland & Ellis Washington DC office. The
lead Dow attorney up to this point, Doug Kurtenbach, was not present
A decision should be made sometime this summer, hopefully sooner.
Click here for almost 6 years of case details
03/03/09 EPA to oversee Dow dioxin cleanup at
Saginaw Township's West Michigan Park
CONTACT:Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, <mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, <mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org
(MDEQ) Robert McCann, 517-241-7397
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EPA to oversee Dow dioxin cleanup at Saginaw Township's West Michigan Park
CHICAGO (March 3, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 said
today that Dow Chemical Co. has agreed to conduct another Superfund removal
action to clean up dioxin contamination in the Tri-Cities area. The new project,
at Saginaw Township's West Michigan Park and nearby properties, is set to begin
in mid-April. The work is expected to be finished and the park reopened by early
West Michigan Park is three miles upstream from the confluence of the
Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers. Historically, the park and the neighborhood
around the park have flooded a number of times, resulting in dioxin-contaminated
river sediment being deposited in the area.
Dow will provide EPA with a detailed work plan for the cleanup by March 13. If
EPA approves the plan, it will oversee Dow's cleanup of the 5-acre park. The
cleanup includes excavation of soil in most areas and backfill with clean soil,
paving of the park's driveway and parking lot, and elevation of playground
equipment to avoid recontamination if the area floods again. The work will also
address contamination hot spots at a condominium complex to the west and in
several residential lots east of the park.
"The West Michigan Park cleanup marks the sixth Superfund removal of dioxin
contamination EPA has supervised in the Tri-Cities area since July 2007," said
Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We'll be devoting extra attention
to the areas of the park where children play."
"Thanks to our combined efforts we continue to see progress made in moving the
overall cleanup efforts forward," said Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality Director Steven E. Chester. "The cleanup at West Michigan Park is an
important step in this process, and we are looking forward to its reopening this
summer once the work is complete."
Dow Midland facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant. Dioxins and
furans are byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine-based products. Past
waste disposal practices, emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on-
and off-site dioxin and furan contamination.
Find more information at
# # #
et al vs. Dow Lawsuit Update
The Michigan Supreme Court has set Tuesday, March 3rd at 9:30am in the
Michigan Hall of Justice for oral arguments for Dow Chemical's appeal over class
certification for residents living on the Tittabawassee River floodplain.
Residents property and homes have been contaminated with extremely high levels
of dioxin by Dow. They are asking for property and nuisance damages. March 2009
marks 6 years since the original case was filed in Saginaw Circuit Court. In an
earlier decision, Michigan's Supreme Court denied a medical monitoring claim for
these same residents even though they have been found to have increased levels
of dioxin in their blood.
The Michigan Supreme Court has chosen to review this case broadly. The ability
to certify an environmental class as a remedy in the State of Michigan may be
decided by this case.
Henry v Dow Case 136298 in the Sct.
02/12/08 A new database of Endocrine disrupting chemicals
News flash from the "Gather"
Click here to open database in a new browser window:
Critical Windows of Development
After database displays, click on "Dioxin" in upper right corner of screen to
view the impact of low dose Dioxin on fetal development.
02/12/08 EPA's response to OIG's evaluation of Superfund Alternative Site
EPA's response to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report dated June
2007. "Please be aware that based on EPA's attached response and on
EPA's "Evaluation of the Superfund Alternative Approach implementation", the OIG
closed their report on this matter."
02/08/09 Richard Maltby
publishes his last book in the Pollution Signature series
TRW appreciates Mr. Matlby's efforts in keeping track of
Dow's contamination of the Tittabawassee River.
This volume, Implementation of the Framework
Agreement, is the latest in a series of books including the Pollution Signature,
The Dioxin Story, and Revival of the Tittabawassee,
The Aftermath, Restoration of a Failed Ecosystem, and The Aftermath, a
Copies are available in local libraries.
Maltby a retired professional urban and environmental resource planner is a
member of the American Institute of Certified Planers (AICP) and the American
Planning Association. He has 38 years of experience in Michigan, Illinois, and
New York; the most recent as the Midland county planning director from
Tree / TRW Dioxin update
See previous article for related documents
Alternative Site is not the way to go
US EPA is poised to take over clean up actions under a Superfund Alternative
Site (SAS) process for the Dow Chemical dioxin contamination of the
Tittabawassee/Saginaw Bay watershed. A process is already in place
that has lead to cleanup actions this
past year after decades of delay. These new negotiations could lead to
substantial further delays, and will waste additional state and federal
The new proposed process works with a guidance, rather than a legal
set of regulations, which appears to remove any teeth the EPA ordinarily would
have. This change was
requested by the Dow Chemical Company to US EPA under the Bush
Mary Gade, the former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief for
Region 5 in Chicago, paid a surprise visit to Thursdays meeting at Saginaw
Valley State University. Mary Gade was
removed from her post in May
2008 by the Bush administration for forcing Dow to take action.
According to local media reports, Gade drove to SVSU to tell EPA and state
Department of Environmental Quality officials that she thinks a new
Superfund process will only delay a comprehensive cleanup, potentially for
years. In the past, Gade has stated:
“ In my experience, Dow only enters into
negotiations if they can cut a better deal for themselves, not the environment,"
of the meetings numerous
Chamber of Commerce sponsored "dioxin not dangerous" statements and
Wendy Carney did manage to reaffirm that the
levels of dioxin and furans found in our watershed remain dangerous to
humans (a comment notably absent in
Community leaders commented at the meeting that they want this process to move forward quickly in
order to resolve the entire issue by 2010, while assuring a healthy community.
In our opinion, moving forward with the SAS will have the exact opposite effect, and keep our communities public
health, reputation and stigma as toxic communities for decades to come.
Abbreviated history of
Dow activities 2007-2009
Superfund Alternative Site Issues
January 15, 2009
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of
Environmental Quality are hosting a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday,
January 15, 2009, at Saginaw Valley State University, Seminar Rooms, 7400
Bay Road, Saginaw. This is an opportunity for people to learn more about
what is being done about dioxin and other contamination in the Tittabawassee
and Saginaw Rivers and Saginaw Bay watershed. For more information, see the
Fact Sheet located at:
The next Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin Community Meeting
(that would normally have been scheduled to be held in early February) is
being deferred to a later date.
Materials related to Dow's off-site corrective action activities are
available at the following locations:
Please share this notice with others who might be interested in attending
this meeting or forward their e-mail addresses to me for inclusion on the
distribution list. If you should have any questions, please contact me.
Environmental Engineering Specialist
Hazardous Waste Section
DEQ Waste and Hazardous Materials Division
P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, MI 48909-7741