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TRW Archives 2009 2nd quarter 04/01/09 - 06/30/09
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06/29/09 EPA to restart negotiations with Dow - Update #1

Negotiation Update #1: Negotiations Resume

EPA is resuming negotiations with Dow Chemical for a Superfund "administrative order on consent." On Friday, June 26, 2009, EPA notified Dow that the offer the company submitted to EPA on February 13, 2009, is sufficient to continue the negotiation process. EPA's fact sheet "Superfund Process and Negotiations at the Dow Site" provides more details about the topics that will be discussed.

EPA is tentatively scheduled to meet with MDEQ and Dow to begin discussions in mid-July. EPA will provide an update on the negotiations after this meeting. The negotiations will continue at least until August 25, 2009. EPA may extend this deadline if progress is being made during the negotiations.

* EPA's June 26, 2009, letter to Dow: http://tinyurl.com/dowletter
* EPA fact sheet "Superfund Process and Negotiations at the Dow Site": http://epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/pdfs/down-negotiation-fs-200906.pdf 

Jeff Kelley Chief, Community Involvement Section Superfund Division
U.S. EPA Region 5
ph: 312-353-1159

EPA Dow Web site: www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/

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06/24/09 EPA Cleanup Status Report: West Michigan Park

About 17, 310 tons of contaminated soil has been removed from West Michigan Park and transported it to People's municipal Landfill in Birch Run Michigan for disposal. The removal was carried out by The Dow Co. with oversight by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As of June 24, 2009, 100 percent of the park has been excavated and backfilled. As part of activities,the stream bank has been given a more gradual slope and the new bank has been stabilized using native plants. During resloping, two trees were removed at the riverbank and stone was placed at the toe of the slope to prevent erosion. Gravel access paths and pads have been placed to allow access to the riverbank for park users. Six trees were replanted throughout the park and the park has been reseeded. When vegetation is re-established the playground equipment will be re-installed and the park will be reopened to the public for use. The area in which the playground equipment will be replaced has been raised one foot from its original height. The gravel driveway and parking lot have been excavated and backfilled with certified clean fill. The parking lot driveway will be paved with asphalt. Implementation of the barrier control plans associated with the Elevated Contamination Areas 1-6 are continuing and are expected to be completed by July 1.

EPA Dow Chemical cleanup website

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06/18/09 EPA to start actual Tittabawassee cleanup in 2011

In the 6/17/09 community meeting EPA officials reveal the new plan to address the Dioxin cleanup of the Tittabawasee River

Meeting Handouts:

bulletTimeline for achieving comprehensive cleanup
bulletSuperfund process and negotiations at the Dow site
bulletProposed Community involvement activities

Recap of meeting provided by the Michigan Messenger

EPA Dow Chemical cleanup website

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06/07/09 Study finds possible link between dioxin and learning disability and ADH

In a study published June 6, 2009 in Environmental Health, Dioxins and related compounds are found suspect of causing neurological disruption. Epidemiological studies indicated that exposure to these compounds caused neurodevelopmental disturbances such as learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which are thought to be closely related to dopaminergic dysfunction.

For other Dioxin related Health Issues, click here


 


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06/07/09 EPA schedules next Dow Dioxin Meeting for June 17

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced an informational meeting on the Dow dioxin cleanup.

The meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 17, will be held in Curtiss Hall at Saginaw Valley State University.

The EPA states they plans to take a leadership role in seeing that Dow conducts a comprehensive cleanup of harmful pollutants discharged in past years to the Saginaw Bay watershed.

The purpose of the meeting is to update residents and answer questions about new developments in the cleanup of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and Saginaw Bay.

At the meeting, the EPA also will present details of its plan, including milestones and schedules for achieving "a comprehensive and expeditious cleanup,"

More information is online at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical

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06/07/09 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, Part Two, 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,  The Aftermath, a supplemental report, and Implementation of the Framework Agreement

Copies are available in local libraries

Mr. 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 1983-1998. 

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05/27/09 EPA announces new plan to deal with Dow's watershed contamination

bullet EPA Press Release: EPA Administrator pledges strong Federal Cleanup Presence at Dow dioxin site in Michigan and accelerated assessment of Dioxin's Human health impacts
bullet EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's letter

Statement of the Lone Tree Council and the Ecology Center on today's announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson related to a plan to address the dioxin contaminated watershed in the Saginaw Bay.

Our groups are cautiously optimistic based on the commitments made in the letter released today by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Our groups are particularly cheered to hear that transparency will be a pillar principle for the Agency moving forward. We are also heartened that the Administration has again committed to a timely completion of the dioxin reassessment and interim cleanup numbers for the site. We also believe the intention to create timelines and benchmarks will be critical to achieving a timely cleanup, and we look forward to participating in that process. The plan released today is an outline and we will continue to evaluate it as the details unfold. We look forward to the June 17 meeting in which more details will be made available. This will allow us to more fully evaluate the plan. While optimistic, we remain guarded given the history of this site.

We will hold the EPA's feet to the fire on the principles they articulated for the site. 1) expeditious with clear milestones and goals, 2) protective of health and the environment (for humans, wildlife and aquatic life), and 3) transparent in its process.

As we have previously communicated to EPA, we believe the following need to be the immediate priorities for the Agency. Some of these priorities have been addressed in the announcement, while others require more discussion.

bulletImmediately commit to open up negotiations on this site to concerned residents and environmentalists.
bulletImmediately address the concerns of residents living in highly contaminated areas whose daily exposure to dioxin threatens their health and the health of their children
bulletImmediately support ongoing state efforts, and launch additional efforts to inform subsistence anglers and sports people of the dangers of consumption of some fish and wild game. These exposures represent an immediate public health threat
bulletAppoint a local ombudsman for the cleanup to help residents cope with the many challenges of living in a contaminated area
bulletRespond to the mischaracterization of the science of dioxin, the threat posed by the contamination, and the role of government agencies in addressing the cleanup
bulletCommission a study of potential economic benefits to the region from a robust cleanup
bulletEnd the practice of co-hosting community information meetings with Dow Chemical, allowing the company to dictate the content of the meetings
bulletUpdate the EPA’s outdated dioxin soil standard which we believe is not scientifically defensible. Support Michigan’s 90 ppt residential cleanup guidance, as supported in the OSWER directive.
bulletAddress the deficiencies and misuse of the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Investigation

The history of this site has been one of regulatory inaction, and aggressive tactics by Dow Chemical to deny and delay, seeding controversy and confusion. The company’s efforts in this regard rival the most controversial cleanups in the nation’s history. It has been eight years since the extent of the contamination has been known, and it has been more than thirty years since dioxin contamination in the watershed was documented. Although the site would outscore most sites on the National Priorities List (NPL), the site has thus far escaped NPL listing. Although the site contains some of the highest levels of dioxin ever measured, there have been only a few limited soil and sediment removals to date.

Contact:

Terry Miller
Lone Tree Council
989-686-6386
989-450-8097 cell

Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
989-799-3313
989 327-0854 cell

Tracey Easthope
Ecology Center
734-761-3186

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05/24/09 Dow's Perception Management Message: Dioxins ok in fish, women and children should eat.

Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operationsIn contrast to the common business practice of Public Relations, Dow is investing in a more insidious version termed Perception Management. The purpose of PM of is to get the other side to believe what one wishes it to believe, whatever the truth may be

Recently exposed lies in Dow's annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings illustrate their Dioxin PM project, similar to a past Dursban campaign, is in full swing.

The Michigan Messenger reports:

"Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW) — which is sponsoring a walleye tournament, “Celebrity Chowder Challenge” and fresh fish market at BayFest in Bay City over the Memorial Day weekend — says that it learned about the state’s walleye consumption advisory just last week when it was brought to its attention by Michigan Messenger.

Midland-based Dow has been party to conversations about regional environmental contamination and fish advisories since the 1970s, but a disconnect between the company and state public health officials was revealed this week when Michigan Messenger reported that the company included inaccurate — and misleading — information about the state’s fish advisory in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission."

A few comments from local citizens:

"Like many others I have attended numerous DEQ meetings where MDCH presented power points or discussed at length the fish advisories for the Tittabawassee-Saginaw Rivers and Bay. Dow had no less than 10 representatives  in attendance at these meetings including their contractors--which by the way challenged MDCH on those advisories. Perhaps, Dow is not talking with their contractors or sleeping through the meetings. "
---------

"It's not 'ignorance', it's arrogance and our well meaning public protectors are shying away from confrontation. What Dow is doing this weekend (and during the last Walleye fest) is destroying what the DEQ/EPA/MDCH have done over decades of hard work.

Dioxin is toxic to Dow's profits and our protectors scurry in the shadows as Dow's outrageous lies grow in scope and recklessness.

Is the EPA that afraid of Dow? Are the politicians that far in bed with Dow's money? Are we to be left that much worse off because no one will waste the effort to stand up to the bully? This whole thing has been such a tragedy and it only seems to be getting worse. Dow is succeeding in making everyone that can stop them look like simpletons and idiots; powerless and toothless. So much for hope for a change. So much for a change of direction. If the government had the balls to confront these outrageous lies then things would change."

Excerpts from the the 2008 Michigan Family Fish Consumption Guide:

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05/18/09 Dioxin Update: May 6 DEQ Tri-Cities Community Meeting

1. DEQ dioxin meeting May 6 2009

A fairly comprehensive PowerPoint presentation by MDEQ detailed the progress on the upper Tittabawassee River. The presentation also detailed a veritable cesspool of chemicals Dow Chemical vented to the river via outfall pipes.  Dow Chemical declined to participate in the meeting, talk, discuss or share any of their disagreements or plans at the meeting. Even when asked a question they sat in silence--- The Power Point/PDF is up on the DEQ website at the following link.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-Dow-Community-Meeting-presentation-Rev-5-6-2009_277906_7.pdf

 

Information shared at the meeting or in the Power Point. (Pg numbers refer to the link above)  

1. Final plans from Dow for the Tittabawassee River are due June 1

2. Dow is refusing to pay for the enhanced fish advisory signs and will no longer pay for the stenographer so the meetings are transcribed and made available to the public.

3. Dow is not doing any work on the Saginaw River. Work that is being done is being conducted by the agencies and paid for by the financially strapped taxpayers

4. There are 30 plus historic out falls (pg. 21):  Literal sewers where Dow released hundreds of chemicals to the river besides dioxins and furans (pg 13). These areas are a priority and progress is being made. 

5. Detailed pictures of highly contaminated anode material used by Dow to shore up the banks near Founders Park. (Pg 9-10) This material has been an ongoing source of contamination to the river. This chlor-alkali material is in the river sediments as well as on the banks of the river.

 6. Miles of eroding and highly contaminated banks remain an ongoing source of contamination to the river (pg 26)

7.  Remediation at Reach D near the Dow plant site suffered significant scouring, releasing a number of chemicals from the sediment. The site was not fully characterized for contaminants and EPA jumped the gun a bit too quick in issuing their removal order in 2007.

8. Interim Response Decision Tree (pg 57) detailing a game plan to deal with various levels of contamination. This is important information for property owners and for contaminated river banks and sediments in the river.

9. Detailed graphic showing highly contaminated residential properties. ( pg 58)

10. Limited sampling (after all these years in the City of Midland). Most numbers are below a 1,000 ppt but greater than 200 ppt over large areas of residential properties. (Pg 60)

 11. Response activities are underway by Dow at West Michigan Park and Riverside(*one admonition see below)

 

2. Eat Smart Fish Smart

EPA came through (APPLUASE, APPLUASE ) with a $75,000 for MDCH to target at risk populations eating contaminated fish from our local chemically impacted waters

 

Women of childbearing age, pregnant women, mothers nursing babies

Children under the age of 15 years old

Shore-line fishers

People who fish and eat those fish for sustenance

 

Key Partners with MDC and EPA are Saginaw and Bay County Health Departments, First Ward Community Center and the Friends of Bay City State Park Recreation Area. Non federal matching funds in kind total $77,000 (More Applause) 

  

3. University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Investigation

Statistician John Kern, hired by the Department of Environmental Quality to review the UM dioxin exposure investigation recently advised regulators not to use the Dow-funded University of Michigan study as a basis for decisions about dealing with the dioxin contamination-at least until problems identified were fixed. You can link to the report on the TRW home page.

It was pointed out that out of 900 + residents whose blood was sampled only 14 lived on properties where concentrations exceeded 1,000 ppt of dioxin.

MDEQ stated when all the data had been evaluated the agency would then decide on the appropriate use of the UMEI.

 

4. EPA and the Superfund Alternative Site

Region V EPA representative stated they (Region V) were awaiting direction from headquarters on how the federal government would proceed with Dow Chemical.  However, Dow remains legally obligated under their operating permit (RCRA a federal regulation) to advance categorization, sample, provide work plans and take response action.

Here is the link to the EPA Region V website dealing with Dow’s mess: http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/index.htm

Here is the link to EPA Administrator’s letter to Lone Tree Council responding to our request and the request of river residents and state wide environmental orgs to evaluate the Superfund Alternative process initiated during the Bush Administration. To that end EPA has suspended the negotiation process. Administrator Jackson will make a decision on how to proceed.

http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/pdfs/admin-jackson-letter-200903.pdf 

Comments and perspective

 The sheer magnitude of this site is enormous in terms of complexity, toxicity and geographic size. And Dow digging in their heels and dictating the terms of engagement with state is destructive and disservice to the community and the resource.  Bottom line Dow does not want to deal with 1. MDEQ/RCRA 2. Saginaw River 3. Saginaw Bay ----- hence the company’s request for superfund alternative process which would give EPA the lead and not MDEQ.

 Will expound with greater detail in the next update but to demonstrate the impact of Dow’s refusal to  address Saginaw River issues? Dredging has started on the Saginaw River, which has minimal sampling to date. EPA and MDEQ both acknowledge this process will re suspend contaminated sediments in the water column advancing migration to the already sediment impaired Saginaw Bay. BUT DOW DUG IN THEIR HEELS AND REFUSES TO DEAL WITH THE SAGINAW RIVER OR INSTALL SEDIMENTS TRAPS.  Instead Dow took the cash strapped taxpayers represented by MDEQ to court (filed in Midland circuit court) knowing the state has no money to take on any legal battles.  

Based on new data MDCH has determined that enhanced fish consumption advisories are in order, which require amending warning signs along the river system. Anticipating future needs the signs were designed to be updated by placing a laminate with the new information over existing signs. This is a low cost item, which Dow is refusing to pay for even though it is required by law as an interim response. Again taking advantage of cash- strapped taxpayers; Dow knows the state cannot afford the signs or a legal challenge.

In summary Dow’s commitment to the community and resource is fickle:

Doesn’t want to deal with MDEQ unless on company terms

Suing the state

Looking for a new “path forward” with EPA behind closed doors

Refusing to place sediment traps

Refusing to pay for enhanced signs

Refusing to pay for a stenographer to create a public record

Refusing to answer question at a public meeting when asked (May 6 2009)

Refusing to do work on the Saginaw River required by their federal (RCRA) operating license which states:

At the end of the four year period beginning on the date this license is issued, the licensee shall continue or commence the corrective action process for any of the off-site areas that are identified in Condition XI.B.6.

Identified in Condition x1.B.6 is the Saginaw River, its floodplain and Saginaw Bay. Fours years from license issue (June 12 2003) is June 2007.

Dow acknowledged that commitment when Dow’s Sue Carrington signed on the dotted line in 2003 sealing a contract with the people of this region and this state to address their contamination. In early 2004 Dow began push back with MDEQ and have done so since then. Now they want the EPA to take over. Likely to set up a re-match of the 1980’s feud when Dow dominated push back with EPA and sent them running. EPA turned it over to MDEQ in the mid 90’s. Now EPA is entertaining getting back on the merry go round. Frankly it’s a nauseating 30 year old ride that has got to stop.

*Let’s look at Riverside and W. Michigan Park.  Dow’s work being done on Riverside and West Michigan Park is being done under orders from the federal government. Failure to do so would result in EPA doing the work and applying treble damages:  Treble damages, in law, is a term that indicates that a statute permits a court to triple the amount of the actual damages to be awarded to a prevailing plaintiff, in this case EPA, generally in order to punish the losing party for willful conduct.  Not to say what Dow is doing is not important, because it is, but let’s not hoist the red diamond and salute them for being good corporate neighbors-- they are doing it with a gun to their head.

Everyone appreciates what Dow’s philanthropy in these tough economic times. But they are also taking advantage of these most unfortunate times--- Dow is revealing a greater commitment to its public persona and PR then to real substance and commitment to GREAT LAKES BAY REGION. ---Michigan largest watershed.

More soon on the, SAS, dredge project (www.dredgeitright.org) Saginaw Bay and some  old EPA documents.

Best Regards,
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council

To view past Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Updates, click here

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05/15/09 Saginaw River dredging contaminating Mid-Michigan's water supply?

A few snippets from the Michigan Messenger :

This satellite photo shows a plume of sediments entering the Saginaw Bay from the Saginaw River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started a project to remove contaminated sediments from the Saginaw River without safety measures requested by the state, a move that sparked worry because toxins such as dioxin could make their way into the water supplies for Saginaw and Bay City, which don’t test for the toxins.

Early Sunday morning, an Army Corps contractor began scooping up sediments from shallow areas in a lower Saginaw River navigational channel, sending them via pipeline to an unlined slurry pit that straddles rural Zilwaukee and Frankenlust townships. The dredging project, which will be expanded with $4 million in federal stimulus grants, is expected to remove 600,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river. Local officials say that over the next six weeks, work will focus on areas between the 6th Street turning basin in Saginaw and the mouth of the Saginaw River at Bay City.

...Although local, state and federal environmental officials agree that dredging will cause contamination to migrate downstream, DEQ officials have been unsuccessful in getting Dow Chemical to install sediment traps to limit the migration of toxins.

...“We want to minimize stirring up contamination in these sediments,” he said, but the agency has not been able to negotiate installation of containment measures.

...Dioxin and other toxins dumped into the Saginaw River watershed have been shown to end up in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, where the cities of Bay City and Saginaw get their municipal drinking water.

...An EPA report from 1978 states that migration of dioxin from Dow’s Midland plant may pose a risk to anyone who gets their water downstream from the plant.

According to the report:

The evidence of [dioxin] contamination in widely dispersed fish notwithstanding, perhaps the finding of most concern is that the caged trout held six miles downstream from the Dow outfall were found to have detectable levels of [dioxin] (whole fish analysis) following a mere 30 days of exposure. This is most distressing for several reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates that [dioxin] is being transported downstream in flowing water. This point offers clear refutation of any argument that the instances of [dioxin]-contaminated fish resulted from movement of the fish downstream and not the movement of the [dioxin] itself. In addition, this raises concern of [dioxin] exposure for any persons taking their drinking water from the Tittabawassee or Saginaw Rivers or the Saginaw Bay.

...With the dredging underway, it appears that no agency has stepped forward with a plan to set up monitoring of area drinking water.

....Click this link to view the entire article.
 http://michiganmessenger.com/18976/saginaw-river-dredging-project-begins-without-safety-measures-sought-by-the-state
 

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05/14/09 Dioxin Update: 30% Dow Share holders urge transparency

Midland, Michigan. Almost 30% of Dow's voting shareholders voted to urge the company to report on progress to clean up a massive contamination site at Dow's mid-Michigan global headquarters. This is the third year in a row that this resolution has received significant support from shareholders.

Shareholders were responding to a resolution forwarded by the Sisters of Mercy challenging the company's potential liabilities associated with the slow pace of cleanup. The vote follows on the heels of continued controversy on the company's progress in cleaning up the contamination downstream from their global headquarters. There has also been continued controversy surrounding the ousted EPA Regional Director and her removal from office allegedly for requiring the company to remove contaminated sediments.

The resolution, which required the company to "issue a report to shareholders...summarizing the pace and effectiveness of the environmental remediation process being undertaken by Dow in the vicinity of and downstream from its Midland headquarters," garnered unusually strong support with 28.5% of shares voted, according to the preliminary count of votes reported by the company at the meeting. Shareholder resolutions requiring reports of this nature typically garner 3-10% of voting shares. Last year's vote garnered 22% of the voting shares.

Shareholders may be concerned about potential ongoing liability from the company's handling of the more than 50-mile long contamination stretching from the company's headquarters to the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Fish and wildgame in the region are contaminated and advisories were strengthened last year. Area residents have elevated levels of dioxin in their blood when compared with a control population. In a high profile move in the past two years, the company was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to remove highly contaminated "hot spots" from the river. Also in the last year, the highest level of dioxin ever measured in the country was found 25 miles from the Dow facility.

Dow's response has been to downplay the hazards of dioxin, the toxic compound which characterizes the contamination. Dow has also sought to negotiate behind closed doors, outside of public scrutiny.

"We believe this vote for the third year in a row signals an interest in a more forthright approach to protect shareholder value," said Valerie Heinonen of the Sisters of Mercy Detroit, who filed the resolution on Midland contamination. "As shareholders, we are concerned that the continued delays in Dow's remediation of dioxin exposures near their flagship Midland facilities could lead to increased long-term liabilities. Dow's reluctance to address such a publicly documented contamination problem, especially in its own backyard, raises red flags about how the company deals with environmental and human health concerns more broadly." She continued, "we are concerned that they are investing more in public relations than in efforts to provide real solutions."

"When nearly 30% of Dow's 939 million shares voted for more transparency and action on this issue, the company should take notice," said Sanford Lewis, attorney, who drafted the resolution. "The company has appeared in a series of high profile negative media stories related to the contamination. The reputational damage to the company is significant, and suggests a resolution to this issue is long overdue."

Sanford Lewis, Attorney is with the Strategic Counsel on Corporate Accountability Valerie Heinonen, O.S.U., is a consultant on corporate social responsibility for the Sisters of Mercy-Regional Community of Detroit and for the Mercy Investment Program
 

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05/3/09 University of Michigan study flawed,

An article in today's Detroit News by AP Environmental writer John Flesher reveals that

bulletA statistician, John Kern, hired by the Department of Environmental Quality recently advised regulators not to use the Dow-funded study as a basis for decisions about dealing with the dioxin contamination-at least until problems he identified were fixed.
bulletDEQ spokesman Robert McCann said the department still had concerns about the project and how company supporters in communities near the Dow plant in Midland had interpreted the results
bullet"There's a common misperception out there about what this report says.  Example: "At public meetings, people will say that the U-M study showed there's no problem with the dioxin," McCann said. "
bulletOne of the issues is that Garabrant's team did not assess the health of the people it examined
bulletKern also contended the study may have included too few subjects representing groups with the highest exposures to dioxin contamination from the Dow plant, a complaint echoed by the DEQ and the Michigan Department of Community Health.
bulletOnly about 14 of the roughly 900 people who provided blood samples lived in areas with the most highly contaminated soil, said Linda Dykema, manager of the community health department's toxicology section.
bulletAlso lacking were statistics on dioxin levels for people who regularly eat bottom-feeding fish such as catfish and white bass, which are known to carry particularly high concentrations of toxins, Dykema said.
bullet Click here to view the  Kern report

This is not the first critical review of the University of Michigan study.  Back in October of 2006, ChemTelligence Inc. released an analysis of the U of M study with the following points:

bulletMichigan dioxin blood serum levels are much higher than US national levels
bulletThe U/M found that breastfeeding reduces dioxin blood serum levels in women. The U/M claimed that benefits to the infant from nursing outweigh the potential health risks of dioxin exposure.
bullet

Midland dioxin serum levels were affected by sample location which the U/M has kept strictly confidential.

bullet

Dioxin blood serum levels found in the Jackson/Calhoun control group are considerably higher than the national levels.

bullet

Background. dioxin serum levels in the Midland/Saginaw area are much higher than expected.

The ATSDR and MDCH Health Consultation Pilot Exposure Investigation performed back in 2005 spent approximately $40,000 and used samples from 11 actual floodplain residents.  The Dow/Garabrant cost $15,000,000 study and uses 14?   Evidently the extra $14,960,000 Dow spent bought a study designed to obscure the facts.

The PEI reports the  "mean TEQ levels for age groups 45-59 years and 60 years and older were higher than the mean background estimates for people the same age. Because of the small number of people participating in the PEI, generalizing from these limited results to the larger population living in or near the flood plain is not possible."

The reports last statement above is important in real scientific studies such as the PEI but is evidently "optional" in the junk science of a Dow Chemical study and those who promote it as fact.

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05/3/09 Communities asks Obama to release the long delayed EPA Dioxin Reassessment

A letter was sent 4/28/09 to EPA Administrator Jackson and President Obama today encouraging the EPA to cancel the unnecessary Dioxin Science Advisory Board process and release the long-delayed Dioxin Reassessment.  We wish to thank the Center for Health, Environment, & Justice for organizing a united front on this issue.
 
The letter is signed by dozens of organizations from across the country representing communities impacted by Dioxin including:
         Community-based and environmental justice organizations;
         Indigenous groups;
         Health-impacted groups; and
         Organizations concerned about Agent Orange.
 Following the letter contains quotes from many of the dioxin impacted communities explaining why this issue matters to you.
 
We urge the EPA to cancel the Science Advisory Board’s review of EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, release this long awaited report, and move ahead in setting dioxin policies that will protect the health of the our communities and the American people.
 
 ------------------------------------------
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
Lisa Jackson
EPA Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
 
April 28, 2009
 
Dear President Obama and EPA Administrator Jackson,
 
As community members living in dioxin-impacted neighborhoods, indigenous groups, Vietnam Vets concerned about Agent Orange, and health-affected groups concerned about endometriosis, breast cancer, reproductive health, and learning and developmental disabilities, we are writing to implore you to cancel the Science Advisory Board’s review of EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, release this long awaited report, and move ahead in setting dioxin policies that will protect the health of  our communities and the American people.
 
A municipal incinerator in Connecticut . . .a Dow chemical plant in Michigan . . . a medical waste incinerator in Florida. These are some of the ways dioxin, the most toxic man-made substance on earth, is produced and released into our communities.  Every day, we continue to live with dioxin contamination in our neighborhoods, food, and bodies, while the EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment study has been delayed for almost twenty years. As a result, we have been left to argue with our state agencies over how much cleanup is needed and what’s a safe level of exposure.
 
Now, the EPA is proposing to form yet another scientific panel to review the dioxin report which will only delay the release of the report once again.  According to the EPA’s website, this next review will take until 2012 to complete.  Enough is enough.
 
Dioxin is a byproduct of the manufacture and burning of products that contain chlorine. Plastics made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are a major culprit. So is paper that is bleached with chlorine or chlorine compounds. Incinerators across the country belch out this toxic substance every single day. Airborne, dioxin falls on farms, settles on plants and works its way up the food chain. Dioxin also gets into water from industrial discharges. Dioxin is now pervasive in fish, beef, milk, poultry, pork and eggs. Infants are even exposed to dioxin in breast milk.
 
Dioxin has been ranked among the most dangerous of chemicals, a "known human carcinogen," by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Dioxin has been linked to liver, lung, stomach, soft and connective tissue cancers as well as Non‑Hodgkins lymphoma. 
 
Learning disabilities, birth defects, male and female infertility, endometriosis and diabetes have all been linked to dioxin exposure. Dioxin weakens the human immune system and decreases the level of the male hormone testosterone.  It can disrupt the proper function of hormones ‑- chemical messengers that the body uses for growth and regulation.
 
The EPA was poised to warn Americans about dioxin in 1994. But under industry pressure, the agency postponed their report. Now, fifteen years later, under pressure from the chemical industry, that study has still not been released and our communities suffer as a result.
 
We have a right to air, water, soil and food free of dioxin.  We the undersigned believe the public has a right to know about the health consequences of exposure to dioxin. 
 
We urge you to cancel the Science Advisory Board’s review of EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, release this long awaited report, and move ahead in setting dioxin policies that will protect the health of the our communities and the American people.
 
Thank you.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, Attorneys and Co-Directors
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
New Orleans, LA
 
Pam Miller, Executive Director
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Anchorage, AK
 
Laura Abulafia, MHS, Director, Environmental Health Initiative
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Formerly AAMR)
Washington, DC
 
Betty Mekdeci, Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children
Celebration FL
 
David Mickey
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Glendale Springs, North Carolina
 
Joyce Bichler, ACSW, Deputy Director
Breast Cancer Action
San Francisco, CA
 
Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., President and CEO
The Breast Cancer Fund
San Francisco, CA
 
Teresa Mills, Director
Buckeye Environmental Network
Columbus, OH 
 
Bruce Wood, President
BURNT
Nashville, Tennessee 
 
Steve Zeltzer, Chair
California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day
San Francisco, CA
 
Jane Williams, Executive Director
California Communities Against Toxics
Rosamond, CA
 
Lois Gibbs, Executive Director
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Falls Church, VA
 
Barbara Warren, Executive Director
Citizens' Environmental Coalition
Albany, NY
 
Laurence Tunsill
Citizens Organized For Environmental Justice Inc.
Caroline Snyder Ph.D.
Citizens for Sludge-Free Land
North Sandwich NH
 
Linda L. Young, Director
Clean Water Network of FL
Tallahassee, FL  32303
 
Jackie Elliott
C.L.E.A.R.
Claremont, NH
 
Tamara= Maschino
Clean Air Clean Lake
TX
 
Sharyle Patton, Director, Biomonitoring Resource Center
Commonweal
Bolinas, CA
 
Jana Chicoine, Spokesperson
Concerned Citizens of Russell
Russell MA
 
Mark A. Mitchell M.D., MPH, President
Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Hartford, CT
 
Becky Bornhorst
Downwinders at Risk
Dalas-Ft. Worth, Texas
 
Patricia Wiitanen,  Executive Assistant
Endometriosis Association
Milwaukee, WI 
 
Endometriosis Research Center
Delray Beach, FL
 
Paul and Ellen Connett
Fluoride Action Network
Canton, NY
 
Monica Wilson, International Co-Coordinator
GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives/ Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance
Berkeley, CA
 
Bill Owens, President
Glynn Environmental Coalition
Brunswick, GA 
 
Bradley Angel, Executive Director
Green Action
San Francisco, CA
 
Laura Weinberg, President
Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition
Great Neck, NY
 
Tracy Frisch
Greenwich Citizens Committee, Inc.
Greenwich, NY
 
Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Port Penn, DE
 
Brent Baeslack
Haverhill Environmental League
Haverhill, MA
 
Debra Hall, Founder
Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water
Hopewell Junction, NY
 
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director
Indigenous Environmental Network
Bemidji, MN
 
Ana Baptista
Ironbound Community Corporation
Newark, NJ
 
Sheila Buckley, Executive Director
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Pittsburgh, PA
 
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
Saginaw, MI
 
Terry Miller
Lone Tree Council
Bay City, MI
 
Mr. Edgar Mouton, President
Mossville Environmental Action Now
Westlake, LA
 
Nick Bennett, Staff Scientist
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Augusta, ME
 
Nancy Hone, Founder and Coordinator
Neighbors Against the Burner
St. Paul, MN
 
Rick Engler, Director
NJ Work Environment Council
Lawrenceville, NJ
 
Florence T. Robinson
North Baton Rouge Environmental Assn.
Baton Rouge, LA
 
Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Takoma Park, MD
 
Vivian Stockman, Project Coordinator
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Huntington, WV
 
Darlene Schanfald
The Olympic Environmental Council
Sequim, WA 
 
Jane Harris, Executive Director
Oregon Center for Environmental Health
Portland, Oregon
 
Eden Brightspirit Hendrix, President
P.E.A.C.H.-People for Environmental Action & Community Health
Fresh Abundance LOCAL & Organic Foods
Spokane, WA
 
E.M.T. O'Nan, Director
Protect All Children's Environment
Marion, NC
 
Shawna Larson
Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL)
Anchorage, AK
 
Judy Braiman
RAMP (Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides)
Rochester, NY
 
Alonzo Spencer
Save Our County Inc
East Liverpool, OH
 
Maureen Headington, President
Stand Up/Save Lives Campaign
Burr Ridge, Illinois
 
Joe Parrish
US Environmental Watch
Elizabeth, NJ, and New York, NY
 
Merle E. Ratner, Co-Coordinator
Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign
New York, NY
 
Michael Eckstein, Chairman, Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee
New Jersey State Council, Inc., Vietnam Veterans of America
Stanhope, New Jersey
 
Robert Gronko and Joe Miller
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Chicago, IL
Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman, Environmental Health and Community-Based Research Coordinator
WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Inc. (WE ACT)
New York, New York
 
Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research
Women's Voices for the Earth
Missoula, MT
 
John Taylor
Saginaw, MI
 
John Caulfield
Santa Barbara, CA

 
 
 
CC:         Nancy Sutley, Chair, the White House Council on Environmental Quality
 
Enclosure: Quotes from Dioxin-Impacted Communities
 
 
 
Quotes From Dioxin-Impacted Communities
 
“In Connecticut, our two largest and poorest cities, Hartford and Bridgeport, have the fifth and eleventh largest trash incinerators in the U.S.  More than 300 trucks per day from over 80 suburban towns bring their garbage to these two cities to incinerate.  We believe that our residents suffer from high rates of asthma, allergies, cancer, endometriosis, and diabetes from these facilities.  We must remove dioxins and other toxins from the waste stream,” said Mark Mitchell, President of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.
 
"People are sick and dying in our community because of the high levels of dioxins found in our blood,” said Mr. Edgar Mouton of Mossville Environmental Action Now.
 
“Dow's dioxin is a major and significant public health threat and environmental black eye for Michigan's largest watershed. Failure to release the dioxin reassessment has been instrumental in allowing  Dow to manufacture uncertainty about the toxicity of dioxin and manipulate the science of dioxin.  Failure to release the dioxin reassessment has allowed the polluter to prevail as the authority on dioxin--- delaying public health protection and a time= ly cleanup. The next generation of children are growing up on this contaminated floodplain. Enough already,” said Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council.
 
“ As Arctic Indigenous Peoples we are living in the frontlines of a toxic chemical assault. Dioxin is found in our traditional foods, our breast milk and our children. The United States has a Government-to-Government legal trust responsibility to the Federally Recognized Tribes and the EPA must stop the delay of getting this important information out. This information could be used to protect the health and environment of Indigenous Peoples. Why would the EPA want to delay protecting the health of our children and our Peoples?,” said Shawna Larson from the Chickaloon Tribe in Alaska.
 
“The Learning Disabilities Association of America, with affiliates in 43 states advocating for children and adults with learning disabilities, joins the call for EPA to take long-overdue action on dioxin.  Dioxin poses a major threat to healthy fetal development, and can particularly interfere with thyroid hormones, which are essential to healthy brain development.  Scientific studies have linked low levels of dioxin to lasting immune system and neurodevelopment effects such as learning deficits and lowered IQ scores.  Moreover, this highly toxic chemical persists for an extraordinarily long time in the environment,” said Maureen Swanson of the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
 
"The Ironbound community is the home of the Diamond Alkali Superfund site, one of the largest sites of dioxin contamination in the world, the place where Agent Orange was produced for many decades. Dioxin has poisoned our Passaic River and contaminated our land and our air also through the incinerator in our backyard,” said Ana Baptista of the Ironbound Community Corporation.
 
"California has many dioxin sources, despite  years of community activity to stop the construction and re-licensing of dioxin-spewing industrial activities such as incinerators, chemical manufacturing plants, cement plants, and refineries.  Communities have a right to know the truth about the toxicity of dioxin,” said Jane Williams, Executive Director of California Communities Against Toxics.
 
"With sources of dioxin present throughout our already over burdened community, we believe it is very important to consistently reevaluate the risk associated with exposures to these persistent organic pollutants.  With elevated cancer risk, developmental delays and chronic disease characterizing our community it is important that we take a holistic approach to identifying and evaluating sources of exposure.  We cannot stand and watch our community be impacted by the by-products of our unsustainable lifestyle linked to the sources of dioxin in US air.  We host a cement kiln, sewage treatment plants, many hospitals with waste incinerators and municipal waste facilities.  The time has come for science to meet activism and work for the greater good,” said Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Inc. (WE ACT).
 
"Agent Orange/Dioxin contamination still continues to effect Vietnam Veterans from the contamination in the Passaic River and other hot spots within New Jersey,” said Michael Eckstein of New Jersey State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America.
 
“We have one of, if not the largest, sites of dioxin contamination in our rivers. Over 50 miles of our waterways are contaminated with dioxin as a result of the Dow Chemical Company. We have a very strong interest in the release of this report, and hope it will counter Dow’s misinformation about dioxin,” said Terry Miller of Lone Tree Council.
 
“Many pulp and paper mills in Maine are still heavily dependent on chorine dioxide to delignify and bleach their pulp.  This makes such mills less competitive when compared to mills that use oxygen delignification and ozone bleaching, and Mainer’s still have to limit their consumption of fish from rivers where these mills discharge waste due in part to dioxin contamination,” said Nick Bennett, Staff Scientist of Natural Resources Council of Maine.
 
“AAIDD's Environmental Health Initiative firmly believes that all people have the right to live, work, play and pray in a safe and healthy environment. AAIDD is especially concerned about chemicals in the environment that are linked with adverse health outcomes such as learning and developmental disabilities.  Endocrine disrupting chemicals like dioxin pose a serious threat for both the developing brain and for those already living with disabilities.  Precaution should be taken in our communities to protect our most vulnerable populations, such as children and those living with a learning or developmental disability. Regulating harmful chemicals like dioxin is a necessary step in protecting these populations,” said Laura Abulafia of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Formerly AAMR).
 
“We have a superfund site in the middle of our largest city, Portland, Oregon, that is contaminated with dioxin among other things. This report has been more than 15 years in the making,” said Jane Harris, Executive Director of the Oregon Center for Environmental Health.
 
“I live on the Tittabawassee River about 12 miles downstream from the Dow Chemical plant and World HQ in Midland MI.    It has been 8+ years now since the revelation of the high concentration of dioxin, furans and a host of other highly toxic compounds was made public. 8 years of political corruption at all levels of government, by both major parties and all agencies involved. 8 more years of declining health for my entire family. 8 years of mostly inaction by both agencies, the EPA and the MDEQ to actively start a cleanup process. 8 years of ALL residents in harms way being placed on ignore.  The cleanup of an area of this magnitude, two rivers totaling 50+ miles, countless thousands of acres of flood plain and the entire Saginaw Bay is simply mind boggling. The length of the river alone dictates decades of clean-up. Yet, with this knowledge in mind, the EPA continues to barter with Dow and our Governor while considering us a sacrificial lambs,” said John Taylor of Saginaw, MI.
 
"Our community, Rochester, New York has been impacted by the release of dioxin by the Eastman Kodak Company.   We have= extremely high rates of certain cancers which we believe could have been caused by this most toxic of chemicals,” said Judy Braiman of Rochesterians Against Misuse of Pesticides.
 
"Glynn County, Georgia, is contaminated by dioxin from wood preserving, chemical manufacturing, pulp mill, and chlorine production.  For 20 years, the delayed assessment has contributed to keeping our community from being cleaned up and our citizens' health protected.  Release the Dioxin Reassessment now,” said Bill Owens, President of Glynn Environmental Coalition.
 
“The Merrimack Valley communities have survived the Industrial Revolution only to be burdened with a dioxin legacy from trash and sludge incineration, help us move to a more sustainable future by addressing the persistent pollution we have experienced,” said Brent Baeslack of the Haverhill Environmental League.
 
"EPA must protect our human right to health and immediately establish strict dioxin policies that will protect the health of all communities throughout America,” said Monique Harden of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.
 
“Dioxins are known breast carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. They can be detected in every human being, including newborns. It's time to stop studying dioxins and to start taking action,” said Jeanne Rizzo of the Breast Cancer Fund.
 
“Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and ice cream contain high levels of dioxins. One way dioxins get into dairy products is through milk from dairy cows that are legally permitted to graze on pastures that have been treated with  municipal sewage sludges and other industrial wastes. These contaminated soil amendments can legally contain high levels of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds that are excreted through lactation,” said Caroline Snyder of Citizens for Sludge Free Land.
 
"We live on the coast of Texas. We are deeply concerned that people living here aren't being protected with the information they need to keep their families safe,” said Tamara Maschino of Clean Air Clean Lake.
 
“The cleanup site in Pt Angeles WA is a dioxin laden area -- soils, sediments, marine animals -- from a pulp mill that bleached their pulp.  It is a CERCLA site.  Also, two of their landfills in neighborhoods are CERCLA listed due to the off site dioxin levels in soils and stream sediments. We have high levels of childhood cancer for a relatively small community.  The Strait of Juan de Fuca is cultural, subsistence and commercial fishing grounds for the Lower Elwha Tribe, now dioxin laden along with many other industrial contaminants.  People also recreate in these waters, although the State should make it off
limits.   Eighty five properties, mostly residential, have just been tested for dioxin. About all contained dioxin; 45 sites at 11.1 ppt and higher, but any amount is too much.  These must be cleaned up to levels protective of human health and the environment,” said Darlene Schanfald of the Olympic Environmental Council.
 
“Scientific evidence shows us that 50 to 70 percent of breast cancer incidence cannot be explained by genetics or personal behaviors and that involuntary environmental exposures to carcinogens play a large role in perpetrating the breast cancer epidemic. Dioxin is one of the most dangerous known carcinogens. BCA urges our environmental agencies to skip convoluted regulatory processes because our people's health cannot be put on hold any longer,” said Joyce Bichler of Breast Cancer Action.
 
“Every moment that further cleanup of dioxin is delayed, more people are endangered,” said Vivian Stockman of Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.
 
“Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese-Americans, and their children and grandchildren suffer from diseases and disabilities as a result of their exposure to dioxin laden Agent Orange. More than three million people in Vietnam, sprayed with Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and now living in toxic dioxin “hot spots,” endure an ongoing public health crisis. The American Public Health Association recognized the urgency of this crisis and called for assistance for all those affected and for cleanup of the “hot spots.” Veterans and others who are suffering deserve no less!,” said Merle Ratner of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign.
 
“We are very concerned about government making it legal to release powerful, long-lasting man-made poisons and carcinogens into the environment especially with no knowledge about their health effects or of the synergistic effects of multiple, routine exposures to pollutants such as dioxin and radioactivity,” said Diane D’Arrigo of Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
 
“I was exposed to Dioxin through climbing poles in 1982 at which time I was pregnant with my first child. That child that is now 28 has life long learning difficulties and will never reach her full genetic potential. I believe this was due to my exposure to pentaclorophenol a poll treatment that has a lot of Dioxin in it. The EPA knew in 1982 that lab animals exposed to low levels of Dioxin showed neurological damage the same king of damage I see in my daughter. I am mad as hell that I was exposed and my child was harmed. Stop the madness and release the report,” said Eden Brightspirit Hendrix of People for Environmental Action & Community Health.
 
“Protect All Children's Environment is a national support organization for individuals injured and or disabled by chemicals, mostly pesticides.  All of these injuries were unnecessary and due to the governments failure to protect us from chemicals.  Dioxin is yet another dangerous substance that continues to cause harm due to lack of precaution and failure to protect the people.  This is due to greed and politics which is clearly shown by the programs that are offered by the EPA and states that educate corporate poison pushers in how to avoid fines and regulation, while offering little or no information to citizens in how to detect poisons and their effects and even less information to physicians on how to diagnose or treat chemical injury.  This process amounts to decades of growing government and corporate conspiracy and treason against American citizens resulting in blatant premeditated random homicide,” said Elizabeth O’Nan of Protect All Children’s Environment.
 
“Because release of the Dioxin Reassessment has been delayed, our community has been assaulted with dioxin emissions for 22 years from a Wheelabrator waste incinerator. If the Dioxin Reassessment is released, communities like ours will have a powerful tool to convince regulators that waste incineration is a dangerous and unnecessary threat to public health and the environment,” said Jackie Elliott of CLEAR.
 
"We have waited far too long in North Carolina for the EPA to act.  Waste incinerators still operate 24 hours a day= and new waste to energy plants are on the horizon.  EPA must act now to reduce the threat of dioxin exposure,” said David Mickey of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.
“The presence of copper can be a concern in biomass power plants that burn waste pallets, four of which are proposed in Western Massachusetts at present. Copper-based fungicides are the most common chemicals used to control mold growth on pallets, and copper is a catalyst in dioxin formation. Dioxins are the second most lethal substances known to scientists after radioactive isotopes.  Periodic stack testing does not accurately reflect real dioxin levels, so continuous monitoring for dioxins is the right approach. Any biomass or other type of incinerator must have continuous emissions monitors (CEMS) for dioxins.  These continuous monitors have been tested and verified by EPA.  Requiring that biomass power plants monitor and disclose their dioxin emissions real-time should not be a problem.  Dioxin emissions can be hundreds to thousands of times higher than what annual stack tests indicate,” said Jana Chicoine of Concerned Citizens of Russell.
 
"At this point, we are trying to save lives. The last thing we need is a new study. It's time to release the study that was completed many years ago,” said Alonzo Spencer of Save Our County Inc.
 
"Dioxin is one of the most serious pollution-related health hazards.  It is particularly dangerous because of the potential for insidious damage to unborn infants and future generations impacted by genetic changes.  One facility in Delaware, DuPont's Edge Moor titanium dioxide plant, reported Toxic Release Inventory releases of over 60 pounds of dioxin for the year 2000. Dioxin-contaminated wastes from this plant have been used to treat Wilmington and Philadelphia drinking water--and probably that of many other places.  This facility, the world’s first chloride process titanium dioxide plant, has probably been emitting large amounts of dioxins since the 1950s.  Is it any wonder that DuPont, headquartered in Delaware, has been one of the most aggressive polluters stalling meaningful action against dioxins by the EPA and Federal health officials?  Is it any wonder that public health statistics in Delaware are so poor?  That infant mortality is so high?  I am speaking for a community, a state, that urgently needs ACTION to control dioxin emissions.  We need action NOW, not a continuation of the unending cycle of further study and review,” said Alan Muller of Green Delaware.
"Or nation--and world--must address the insidious chemicals we consume, create, landfill, and manufacture every day.  Our fundamental ability to reproduce and live is at stake.  A vital initial step is to acknowledge the pervasive pollution which plagues our bodies and environment.  Release this study,” said Bruce Wood of BURNT.
 
“There are many dioxin sites closed but may still pose a risk due to encroachment of homes.  Many other sites have shallow PCBs and outlawed chemicals such as Lindane, TCE, DDT, etc.  As was shown with Agent Orange, when polychlorinated chemicals combine with benzene, at high temperature and at some rate these mixtures of PCBs create an unintended perfect storm for Dioxin creation.  Dioxin is a bad actor and many people getting exposed to dioxin will contract a cancer 10 or more years later.  The knowledge and control of dioxin and limiting exposures will likely reduce cancer rates, and could have a significant impact on Health Care costs.  Just the costs saved by cancer would help the economy – just as cutting back on cigarettes dramatically reduced Lung cancer rates in the years following tobacco reforms.  Many friends have endometriosis and cancer.   My parents said they knew of no-one who had cancer in their 20s-40s.  Now sadly there are many Dioxin related health problems occuring at younger ages,” said John Caulfield.
 
“Cement plants in our community create dioxin as they burn hazardous waste. There’s not enough of an awareness of dioxin emissions because people are focusing on lead and other pollutants. We would be happy to see some attention and emphasis given to dioxin,” said Becky Bornhorst of Downwinders at Risk.

“It has now been 14 years since the closure of the largest known source of dioxin in the country, the Columbus, Ohio trash burning power plant.  And for 14 years we have waited for the release of the dioxin assessment.  No more studies, the assessment has been held captive long enough,” said Teresa Mills of the Buckeye Environmental Network.
 
It is bad enough to be tied to the archaic notion that burning waste is the answer, but we don’t even do that in the safest ways possible, with the benefit of modern scrubber technology.    Whether burning garbage, coal, tires, dioxin is one of the byproducts.  There is no safe level of dioxin.  It is unconscionable that the American public continues to be subjected to one of the deadliest carcinogens known to man.  My community, as many others, is a hot spot for pollution, no matter which direction the wind blows.  This is unfair.  Current laws must be enforced and new legislation that is truly protective of this and future generations must be enacted.  The lobbyist stranglehold must be broken, with conservation and renewable solutions as the only things to emerge from the ashes,” said Maureen Headington of Stand Up/Save Lives Campaign.
 
"As a women's environmental health group Women's Voices for the Earth aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate environmental pollutants that impact women's health and their families and communities.  Dioxin has long been of concern to us, given the research linking exposure to endometriosis, breast cancer and other types of reproductive harm in women.  Delaying the release of the dioxin assessment means a delay in actions which will help prevent these health conditions in women across the country.  We simply cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Alexandra Scranton of Women’s Voices for the Earth.

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04/30/09 Dioxin Community Meeting scheduled

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is hosting the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin Community Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, in Lecture Theater G160 at Delta College, 1961 Delta Road, University Center.  Please note the new location for this meeting.  Agency staff will be available one-half hour before the meeting and one-half hour after the formal portion of the meeting for individual discussion with the public.

 A meeting location and parking area map for Delta College is available at:  http://www3.delta.edu/maps/deltamaps/Map%20sheet%20w_legend%20(print).pdf   

 The press release and agenda for the meeting are available at:

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--213608--,00.html and

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-Dow-Comm-Meet-Final-Agenda-5-6-2009_276282_7.pdf

  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.  

 Cheryl Howe
Environmental Engineering Specialist
Hazardous Waste Section
DEQ Waste and Hazardous Materials Division
P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, MI  48909-7741
517-373-9881
 

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04/23/09 A new twist in the war on poverty

Dow sponsored walleye fest to donate contaminated fish to the poor

Comments from Science Blogs

"This Eartha Melzer story we have up at the Michigan Messenger this morning is absolutely unbelievable. Dow Chemical is located in the Saginaw/Midland area in Michigan and they have polluted the place like you wouldn't believe, especially with dioxin and PCBs. The state has warned people for years not to eat any fish caught in the rivers in the area because of the high dioxin levels, especially children and pre-menopausal women. They just shut down a major park near one of the rivers because even the dirt was so contaminated that it wasn't safe for people to be there.

So guess what they've decided to do there?

Next weekend they're going to host a walleye fishing festival in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers. Because it's walleye breeding season and the fish are running.  In fact, they run right through a zone that is in the process of being listed as a Superfund site, a site where the EPA recorded the highest levels of dioxin ever measured in this country.

That's dumb enough, right? It gets worse.

The fishing festival is sponsored by Dow Chemical, the company that put the pollution there in the first place. Yes, that's even more ridiculous. But it actually gets worse. They're donating the fish from the festival to a local food bank to give to the poor. Apparently they ran out of pox-ridden blankets."

Tittabawassee Township supervisor's contribution to women and childrens health: denial


The current Tittabawassee Township stupidvisor was selling these hats a few years ago at the festival.

Excerpts from the Michigan Messenger article

"Despite advisories that warn people to avoid contact with river sediments and consuming locally caught fish, thousands are expected to participate this weekend in a Dow Chemical-sponsored walleye festival along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, where the watershed has been contaminated with harmful dioxin and other toxic substances.

And just as the Michigan Department of Community Health is warning that children and pre-menopausal women should mostly avoid eating river fish including walleye because of contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin, organizers of the festival say they plan to donate walleye fillets to a local food bank. “Dow and MidMichigan Health [the local hospital system] have always been the biggest sponsors of the festival,” said Steve Doyle, spokesman for the Freeland Lions Club which has organized the festival for 24 years."

More information about Michigan fish advisories is available at the website for the Michigan Department of Community Health.
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04/09/09 Midland Dioxin Cleanup?

In regards to the dioxin contamination in the Midland area, I thought you would be interested in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s report, “Dioxin Contamination in the Midland Area” (July 2, 2004)? What health effects occur from exposure to dioxin in the city of Midland and adjacent areas?

 As reported by DEQ, higher exposures to dioxin in human populations have been linked with many adverse effects including chloracne, increased incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, birth defects, and blood disease (porphyria). Fetuses, infants, and children may be especially sensitive to dioxin exposure because of their rapid growth and development. Low-level exposures to dioxin in human populations have been linked to more subtle effects on developing fetuses including alterations in thyroid function, immune function, learning disabilities, behavior, and effects on tooth enamel.

Other effects of dioxins, including changes in liver enzymes, hormonal effects, and effects on the developing nervous system, appear to occur in many or most species, including humans. Based on available information, dioxins are believed to have the potential to cause a wide range of adverse effects in humans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has characterized the mixture of group of dioxins to which people are usually exposed as “likely human carcinogens.” The EPA has also characterized 2,3,7,8-TCDD – the most toxic chemical in the dioxin group – as a known “human carcinogen.”

In conclusion, the Midland city residential and industrial areas and adjacent properties, school sites, Tittabawassee River sediments and floodplain soils, all exceed the 90 parts per trillion (ppt) cleanup standard, ranging from 90 ppt to 17,030 ppt.

So, why is the city of Midland withholding information on dioxin contamination? To protect property sales? Now is the time for the city officials to end its withholding of information on dioxin contamination and start cleaning up the mess.

Richard A. Maltby

Midland  

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04/05/09 Obama's EPA Administrator Sussman a former Chemical Industry lobbyist

It appears President Obama's EPA Administration Policy Advisor, Robert Sussman, was recently a lobbyist for the chemical industry. Is this really the individual that should be making a recommendation as to whether Dow Chemical's dioxin contamination cleanup should be taken away from the state and "Alternative Superfunded"- A Bush era guidance that is not regulated?
 

“Sussman is "representing" Jackson on a wide range of issues within the agency. And an EPA source says Sussman has been "very active in the day-to-day business of" EPA…Despite his broad role, sources say he is unlikely to be elevated to a political role in part due to controversy over his past role as an industry lobbyist while serving at the law firm Latham & Watkins, where he represented chemical and energy industry clients.”
Inside EPA April 3, 2009   http://insideepa.com/

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