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TRW Archives 2010  01/01/10 - 12/31/10
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12/31/10  Another year goes by

As we come to the close of another year, sadly, there is no real progress to report on the clean-up of Dow Chemical's massive dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee River/Saginaw Bay watershed. After EPA's spring of 2009 promise to our community to expedite a clean-up, and for the completion of their dioxin reassessment by the end of 2010, they have delivered on neither promise. Tittabawassee River residents continue to be exposed to one of the most toxic substances in their own homes, despite requests for relocation. 

The EPA's results of the second round of municipal water supply testing for the Great Lakes Bay Region promised to be delivered last summer is still MIA.

The EPA's Community Advisory Group has essentially ceased functioning due to the action of Dow's Chamber of Commerce puppets.

The class action lawsuit filed by the residents most affected by the contamination in 2003 sits in limbo, with no movement by the courts since August of 2009. The case has still not been granted class action status.

We can only hope for accountability from our government in 2011, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

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10/31/10 New dioxin rules might force more cleanups

Snippets from the The Associated Press

The government has spent many millions of dollars in recent decades cleaning up sites contaminated with dioxin and, in extreme cases, relocating residents of entire neighborhoods tainted by the toxin.

But tough new pollution standards proposed by the Obama administration could require additional dioxin cleanups at scores of abandoned factories, military bases, landfills and other locations declared safe years ago, officials say.

If the guidelines receive final approval, federal and state officials will examine sites with known dioxin contamination to identify those needing work and what the work will cost. Among those expected to be reviewed are notorious places such as the former village of Times Beach, Mo., where about 2,000 people were relocated in the 1980s after dioxin-laced waste oil was sprayed on roads to control dust. 

The Environmental Protection Agency plan has escalated a decades-long debate over the danger of dioxin, a family of chemical byproducts from industries such as pesticide and herbicide production, waste incineration and smelting. One form of dioxin was in Agent Orange, the defoliant used by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War.

The EPA is expected to make a final decision this fall on the new standards. But congressional critics and chemical companies say the agency is acting hastily and should wait until it completes a reassessment of dioxin's health effects in the coming months. ...

The debate is playing out along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers in Michigan, where sediments and floodplains were polluted last century with dioxin from a Dow plant in Midland.

The company acknowledges responsibility but has argued with regulators over what cleanup is necessary. ...

Spokeswoman Mary Draves declined comment on the proposed standards and said the company wouldn't speculate on how they might affect the cleanup. ...

"Signs along the rivers warn anglers to limit consumption of their catch because of dioxin and other contaminants. Even so, the village of Freeland holds a yearly walleye fishing tournament."

"The dioxin is real, it's pervasive, it's toxic," said Michelle Hurd Riddick, a member of a local environmental group called the Lone Tree Council. "But some people just want to look the other way."

Click here for the details

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08/28/10 Garabrant challenged on links to Junk Science in court

Snippets From the Madison Record:

An epidemiologist testifying for 3M in a Madison County benzene trial told jurors Thursday that studies indicate that benzene does not cause the type of cancer at issue in plaintiff Veto Kleinaitis's case.

Dr. David Garabrant, an epidemiologist from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, testified Thursday morning that there is no link between benzene exposures and developing mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) or other Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). ....

Plaintiff's attorney William Kohlburn spent much of the early part of his cross examination of Garabrant attacking his work for other chemical producers and defendants.

"So, lately a great deal of the money you make testifying that things don't hurt people comes from the companies that make those things?" Kohlburn asked. ...

Kohlburn questioned Garabrant at length about his studies of Dioxin that were funded by Dow Chemical Company ....

"How do you feel about offering testimony on behalf of a company that was studying people while exposing them to bad things?" the plaintiff's attorney asked. ...
http://www.madisonrecord.com/news/229237-defense-experts-testifies-no-link-between-benzene-non-hodgkins-lymphoma?

Click here for more of Garabrant's questionable record.

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08/09/10 Sediment traps are not rocket science

From the Lone Tree Council http://www.cleanwatershedcampaign.org :

At the July 19th EPA public meeting, EPA was asked about the ongoing failure to place sediments traps in the river system to mitigate the migration of contaminated sediments to Saginaw Bay. EPA stated the delay is because the agency does not want to do it wrong. There is no doubt the sentiment is true even if it is a red herring.

EPA Superfund division took over on this site early this year but it is a disservice to many people to ignore the facts, issues and efforts of the past several years to make the traps a reality. EPA Superfund does not have a clean slate on which a new narrative can be written. The past several years matter. Significant time, taxpayer’s money, resources and effort have been expended on these traps. Had this issue been pursued on its merit, absent the politics, we would not be having this conversation today

Click here for all the details

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08/03/10 Enbridge vs. Dow

Enbridge recently offered to buy out homeowners of the 30 mile section of river affected by their massive oil spill near Kalamazoo. 
 
BP appears to be stepping up to the plate over their massive oil spill in the Gulf.
 
Over the course of the last 10 years, Tittabawassee River floodplain residents have repeatedly asked Dow to buy their homes or remove their massive dioxin contamination. 
 
Instead of dong the right thing, Dow continues to spends millions on PR and obstructing clean up efforts despite public health warnings to floodplain residents not to let children play in their own yards.
 
It's just sickening how some of our residents have been treated by Dow, with no support from elected officials and our community "leaders" in the Great Lakes Bay Region.  Other communities seem to have good corporate citizens and leaders.  We are sorely lacking here.
 
TRW

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07/16/10 EPA unlikely to meet December 2010 dioxin reassessment deadline

Excerpts for the "Inside EPA" website 7/14/10:

EPA is urging a Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel reviewing the agency's re-assessment of dioxin to focus on the core risk assessment document, not related risk and regulatory documents, saying the agency has been working on the measure for decades and is “really unlikely” to meet Administrator Lisa Jackson's December 2010 deadline for completing the measure.
 

Peter Preuss, director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment, urged the panel in July 13 comments to help agency staff quickly complete the long-delayed assessment, by focusing on recommendations the agency could complete in a reasonable amount of time.
 
“Our goal is simple. We’d like to finish this document,” Preuss said. “Twenty-one years ought to be enough gestation time to finish just about anything. ...
 
But a speedy panel review may be unlikely as the agency's draft document is already drawing significant concerns from industry and others. ...
 
Jackson in a May 2009 letter to community activists said the agency’s “goal is to issue a final dioxin assessment by the end of 2010." But Preuss, who oversees the center that crafts assessments for the agency’s key Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database, told the SAB panel that the agency “is really unlikely” to meet Jackson's goal “unless SAB sends a one-page letter” saying that the dioxin document does not require any changes. ...

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07/16/10 EPA Informational Meeting July 19

Informational Meeting about the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River & Bay Site: 7 p.m., Monday, July 19,

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07/02/10 Need a dioxin refresher course? Listen to Dr. Birnbaum's "Dioxin, Are We At Risk?" presentation

70 minutes of audio and slides of Dr. Linda Birnbaum's presentation  during the "Toxic Chemicals in the Great Lakes Basin" seminar in December 2001.  Almost 10 years later it's just as relevant as it was then.  Dr. Birnbaum, formerly the EPA's Director of Human Studies Division National Health & Environmental Effects Research Lab, is a world renowned expert on the human health effects of dioxin.

Excerpt from segment 1: "Dioxin has been called one of the most dangerous chemicals ever known. Purging uncertainties and clarifying myths about dioxin, Dr. Birnbaum will discuss dioxin in generalwhere it comes from, how we interact with itand specifically, its staggering impact on human health. She will also talk about dioxin effects in the Great Lakes. " LocalMotion

Click here to begin.  (each page downloads a mp3 audio file, give it a few seconds to load)

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06/27/10 Circuit Court denies Dow's request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing

In November of 2009, Dow Chemical filed a motion to disqualify the clerk assigned to retired, visiting Judge Leopold Borrello for the Tittabawassee River /Dow dioxin class action case.  Dow claimed that because that clerk normally works for a different Saginaw Judge who is a potential member of the class, this clerk could be bias to the case.

To avoid any appearance of impropriety, a new clerk was assigned to assist Borrello in the case.  On June 22, 2010, the Judge issued a new order once again denying Dow additional discovery and oral arguments in the case.  We are hopeful that he will soon issue his opinion on issues brought forward by the Michigan Supreme Court in July, 2009, so that this case can receive it's class action status for the second time, and finally move forward once and for all.

Henry vs. Dow Chemical is already in it's 8th year of litigation, with no relief from exposure for the residents who continue to live on grossly contaminated properties created by Dow

Click her for additional details on the case

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06/22/10 Dow & their shill dominates Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group Meeting June 21
 

TRW stopped in last night on the latest and greatest Dow dioxin community involvement group meeting, this latest one lead by the US EPA.  This is the 3rd or 4th such community groups to form over the years, formerly headed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  Past community groups were never to Dow Chemical's liking however, so the processes were scrapped, only to emerge most recently from the EPA as probably the biggest dog and pony show of all.
 
Only 23 residents are allowed to be in this EPA community group, and others in the community are not allowed to comment until the last 15 minutes of a 3 hour meeting.  If you raise your hand, they will just ignore you.  Yet, the public is "welcome to attend".
 
The problem TRW sees with this plan is the apparent domination of the meeting by Annette Rummel, CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Region Convention and Visitor Bureau.
 
The stuff coming out of Ms. Rummel's mouth last night was pure Dow and American Chlorine Chemistry Council's propaganda: Her theme? Dioxin is not a problem, It's not toxic, and Only causes Chloracne.   Dow must actually have a class for shills such as Rummel to attend in preparation for public meetings because she continues to recite the Dow mantra at every one.   Worse yet, you have a room full of other residents who haven't really a clue and just seem to sit and soak it all in.  The EPA and the MDNRE staff  rarely challenge what this member is saying.  In this meeting the best the EPA could offer was "we want to prevent problems dioxin might cause before they happen".  Nothing more.
 
Dow Chemical is also allowed to give presentations at each meeting TRW has attended.  These presentations to date are just a rehashing what was done under Emergency Orders by the former EPA administrator, Mary Gade, until Washington EPA fired her for making Dow Chemical actually clean up a couple of the thousands of hot spots here.
 
 Better yet, this community advisory member appears to have more concern over commercial development than her own community's health risks from the exposure to Dow's dioxin.  Perhaps a play date with BP's Tony Hayworth is in order to refine her tactic's.  Dow Chemical has been denying poisoning their own home town for decades and Rummel continues to push their agenda.  BP at least acknowledges their responsibility for their disaster, apparently Dow  never will.  
 
 Are we getting the picture here as to who's running the show?
 
Very sad indeed.

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06/17/10 Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group Meeting June 21

The next meeting of the Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group will be 6-9 p.m., Monday, June 21, at Saginaw Valley State University, Regional Education Center, Room ES 202, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw.

The CAG meets monthly to discuss issues related to the Superfund site and its cleanup. These meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Monday of the month. The community advisory group was established to represent the interests of the community and to share information and make recommendations to U. S. Environmental Protection Agency on the cleanup of the rivers and bay.

If you have questions or need special accommodations at the meeting contact:

Patricia Krause
312-886-9506
krause.patricia@epa.gov

You may also call Region 5 toll-free at 800-621-8431, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekdays. More site information is at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical .

 

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06/13/10 EPA corrects Saginaw News dredging misinformation, we question timing of sampling

A recent Saginaw News article published June 10 stated "Crews are getting ready to dredge the Saginaw River to make the channel deeper and safer for passing ships"

ALC.Dredging001.JPG.

Which leads to the question: If they are just getting started, why did the June 11 EPA site update indicate water sample took place in the last week of May?

 

 

EPA's response:

"Today I verified with the US Army Corps of Engineers that dredging started 8 AM Monday, MAY 17, 2010 and it is a 24/7 operation. The US Army Corp Project Engineer I talked with mentioned that the dredge barge moved in the last couple of days to a location closer to Bay City, and that is a possible reason why dredging was reported by the paper to be starting now.

The municipal water supply sampling was conducted the week of May 24th." Russell.Diane@epamail.epa.gov

 

So the new question: Why not sample Bay City when dredging is near the intake?  Evidently Bay City water testing was performed in late May when dredging was many miles upstream near Saginaw.

Click here to view Field Sampling Plan for Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Water Supply Sampling

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06/11/10 EPA Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River, Saginaw Bay site update

Technical Assistance Plan approved -- application period through July 5

EPA has approved Dow's technical assistance plan for the site. This plan explains how the company will provide technical support resources to a qualified community group. Dow was required to develop such a plan as part of the January 2010 settlement. The selected group will receive help from an independent technical advisor to understand complex site issues and to communicate technical information in an understandable way. Applications from qualified groups are being taken through July 5. The application can be found as Exhibit A to the TAP.

    * Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River & Bay site technical assistance plan: http://bit.ly/axLYlh
    * Advertisement run by Dow in local papers to solicit applications: http://bit.ly/cSnJCF

Evaluation of high-use properties begins

Continuing to evaluate and address potential exposures on high-use properties along the rivers is one major activity under the Superfund agreement. The first phase has begun and you may see teams from EPA, Michigan DNRE and Dow working along the river evaluating properties. This work will continue in phases through summer and fall and into next year.

Municipal water sampling

Last year EPA agreed to take water samples from the drinking water systems for Midland, Saginaw and Bay City in response to some community concerns about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigational dredging in the Saginaw River. At issue is whether contaminants stirred up during dredging could move downstream and affect drinking water.

EPA took samples in 2009 after the Corps of Engineers finished dredging for the season. The results were below EPA's standards for drinking water safety. No dioxins or furans were found. EPA agreed to sample again in 2010 while dredging was underway. This second round of sampling was completed during the last week of May and results will be available later this summer.

EPA is testing for for a wide range of chemicals including dioxins, furans, volatile organics, semi-volatile organics, PCBs, pesticides and metals.

    * Field Sampling Plan for Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Water Supply: http://bit.ly/d1F7Qf
    * Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Water Supply Sampling Report: http://bit.ly/9P7w8G
    * Midland/Saginaw/Bay City Water Supply Sampling Report Addendum: http://bit.ly/dvDaGk

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06/8/10 A new look at Dioxin

"There’s a class of chemicals called dioxins that've polluted rivers between Midland and Saginaw Bay. They cause cancer. The federal government’s made the polluter, Dow Chemical, promise to clean contaminated soil from the river bottoms as well as from yards and parks, but at the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency never finished a report on just how toxic dioxins are. This makes some people mad, like Bob McKellar from Midland. ..."

Click here for details or here to listen to podcast.

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05/21/10 Michigan Farm Bureau not informed of dioxin dangers in locally grown food

Excerpt from The Michigan Messenger:

 http://michiganmessenger.com/38058/locals-unaware-of-dangers-of-farming-in-tittabawassee-floodplain

"Scott Piggot, manager of the Agricultural Ecology Department at the Michigan Farm Bureau, estimates that there are around 5,000 acres of cultivated farm and cropland in the Tittabawassee floodplain.

Several years ago, he said, when state officials issued a warning about reducing contact with soil, he was contacted by farmers with concerns about the impact of the pollution on farmland value, but concerns about the pollution seemed to have died down in recent years.

“[Department of Environmental Quality] had discussed putting out some documentation saying that farmers should use protective gear, not that people should not eat product,” he said.

Piggot said that he was unaware of U-M’s recommendation against farming on dioxin-contaminated soil."
 

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05/21/10 EPA Dioxin Reassessment moving forward after decades of delay?

2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzofuran2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin3,3',4,4',5,5'-Hexachlorobiphenyl

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a significant milestone toward the completion of the agency’s dioxin reassessment with the public release of its draft scientific report, EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments. The draft dioxin report is EPA’s response to key comments and recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences on the agency’s draft dioxin reassessment. EPA is moving forward with Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to complete the long-awaited dioxin reassessment. This comprehensive human health and exposure risk assessment on dioxin, one of the most toxic environmental contaminants, aims to protect the health of the American public. The draft report will now undergo scientific peer review by independent, external experts as well as public review and comment.

bulletFull EPA Press release
bullet EPA Reanalysis of Key Issues website
bullet

EPA's reanalysis of key issues related to dioxin toxicity and response to NAS comments (691 page pdf)
 

From the EPA web site National Center for Environmental Assessment:

EPA Action
Scientists in EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment are currently working on a comprehensive reassessment of dioxin exposure and human health effects. The latest draft assessment, Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds posted in Dec 2003, is still undergoing revisions in light of the review by the National Academy of Sciences(NAS) in November 2004. A Workshop in Feb 2008 was held to discuss EPA's reponse to the NAS reports.

History
bulletSep 1985 EPA released the Health Assessment Document for Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins report.
bulletJun-Aug 1994 EPA released the draft documents: Health Assessment Document for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds Volume (1 of 3) , Volume (2 of 3), and Volume (3 of 3)
bulletSep 1994 EPA launched the Dioxin Exposure Initiative, a research program to further evaluate the exposure of Americans to this class of compounds.
bulletSep 1995 EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) released the report, A Second Look at Dioxin. (PDF, 129 pp., 330,353 bytes)
bulletJul 2000 EPA released the consolidated comments from the Peer Review of the Draft Dioxin Reassessment
bulletMay 2001 EPA's SAB released the Dioxin Reassessment - An SAB Review of the Office of Research and Development's Reassessment of Dioxin. (PDF, 80 pp., 188,323 bytes)
 
bulletOct 2003 EPA requested the NAS Review Draft of the Dioxin Assessment with updates on the Questions and Answers about Dioxin.
bulletOct 2004 EPA released the NAS External Review Draft of the Dioxin Assessment, in preparation for the first NAS panel meeting (held 11/22 -23/2004), in Wash., DC. This is still the most current version of the EPA Dioxin Assessment.
bulletJul 2006 NAS released Health Risks from Dioxin and Related Compounds: Evaluation of the EPA Reassessment.
bulletSep 2008 The Interagency Dioxin Workgroup released an update to the Questions and Answers about Dioxin 2008 .
bulletNov 2008 EPA released a preliminary search list to address EPA's Reponses to the NAS comments on the 2003 Dioxin Reassessment report.
bulletFeb 2009 EPA hosted a 3-day public, scientific workshop to assist EPA in responding to the NAS reports on Dioxin. [ Workshop Announcement and details]
bulletMay 2009 EPA released the 2009 Science Plan for activities related to Dioxins in the environment.
bulletJun 2009 EPA released the Dioxin Workshop Summary report containing discussions and conclusions from the Feb 18-20, 2009 workshop held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
bulletSep 2009 EPA released the University of Michigan study of dioxin exposures in Midland, Michigan.
bulletDec 2009 EPA released the Review of State Soil Cleanup Levels for Dioxin.
bulletMay 2010 EPA released EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments under the IRIS process, which includes the release of the interagency comments and pre-release drafts.

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05/12/10 Contradiction?

From the Michigan Messenger 5/12/10:

"A Dow Chemical-funded study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan has found that consumption of food grown in the dioxin-contaminated Tittabawassee floodplain resulted in a toxic burden in the bodies of some local residents. Elevated levels of the chemical were detected even in people who stopped eating locally raised beef and vegetables more than a decade ago"

From the Midland Daily News 5/7/10 (Dows backyard):

"In comments filed with the EPA, Dow stated that the agency has ignored recent scientific studies that demonstrate that dioxin levels in human blood have declined and that elevated levels of dioxin in soil do not result in elevated levels of dioxin in blood."

From the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/remedy/sfremedy/remedies/dioxinsoil.html

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05/12/10 Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group Meeting May 17

The Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group meets monthly to discuss issues related to the Superfund site and its cleanup.

These meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Monday of the month. The community advisory group was established to represent the interests of the community and to share information and make recommendations to U. S. Environmental Protection Agency on the cleanup of the rivers and bay.

The next meeting will begin at 6 p.m., Monday, May 17, at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Banquet Room C, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw. If you have questions or need special accommodations at the meeting contact:

Patricia Krause
312-886-9506
krause.patricia@epa.gov

You may also call Region 5 toll-free at 800-621-8431, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m..,weekdays. More site information is at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical

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04/26/10 Study released detailing high furan levels of Tittabawassee River Resident

The Dow sponsored University of Michigan dioxin study in the Great Lakes Bay region presents a follow up study that has yet to be reported to the local communities of Midland, Saginaw, and Bay City.

The findings presented were:

"Consumption of beef and/or vegetables raised on dioxin-contaminated soil may be an important completed pathway of exposure.
Relevance to Public Health Practice: Animals and crops should not be raised for human consumption in areas contaminated with dioxins".

To view the report, click here or visit the EHP website :

To date every study has shown that every living creature, including humans, are picking up Dow's dioxin contamination into their bodies from living on the Tittabawassee River flood plain.  If this is not compelling enough reason for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finally do something after 30 years, maybe they should all go fishing!  
Great Lakes Bay residents have already been found to have increased rates of cancer from Dow's dioxin contamination by the National Institute of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577707/

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04/21/10 Video: Dioxin! What Citizens, Workers, and Policymakers Need to Know

Update from the Ecology Center:

"Linda Birnbaum, who is currently the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.  discusses what dioxin is, how toxic it is, and whether it causes cancer. Although the interview was conducted in 2004 when Dr. Birnbaum  was head of the EPA  Division of Toxicology, we believe it continues to provide a useful and easy to understand summary of some of the available evidence against dioxin. We hope it will be a useful tool for citizens' campaigns. The video was originally commissioned in 2004 by the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and the Public Interest Research Group In Michigan, but has never been released publicly until today. Thanks to the Ecology Center and Dr. Birnbaum for agreeing to make this public."

Click her to view the 12 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50E0eGwqPv4

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04/20/10 Freeland Walleye Festival - Have fun but watch what you eat

With concern for the Freeland walleye festival coming this last week in April, Tittabawassee River Watch wants to remind folks about the fish consumption advisories for the Great Lakes Bay region.

2009 Michigan Family Fish Consumption Guide

 

Women of childbearing age and children under 15 years old should be extra careful to consider eating fish in the Great Lakes Bay region of Michigan.  This include the cities of Midland, Saginaw and Bay City.

Dow Chemical in Midland Michigan, the sponsor of this event, has contaminated the local waterways, parks and floodplains with the highest levels of dioxin ever recorded in the history of the United States.

bullet http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/wickespark/polrep-wp01.htm

Eating the dioxin contaminated fish won't make you sick right away. But the chemical found in fish can build up in your body and make you very sick later on. Dioxin can harm your immune system, reproductive system, brain functions, and increase your risk of cancer. Children and babies that get too much of these chemicals may develop physical, mental or behavioral problems that they would not have had otherwise.

bullet http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126141550.htm
bullet http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-209385.html
bullet http://detnews.com/article/20071123/METRO/711230361/Saginaw-River-dioxin-find-spreads-fear 

Great Lakes Bay residents have already been found to have increased rates of cancer from Dow's dioxin contamination by the National Institute of Health.

bullet http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577707/

We urge the community of Freeland to rebrand their spring festival to reflect a more public health based, healthy activity like "the mother of all community garage sales".  We also hope the festival no longer donates the contaminated fish to local community shelters and food banks for the poor.

bullet http://michiganmessenger.com/17368/dow-sponsored-walleye-fest-to-donate-contaminated-fish-to-the-poor

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04/15/10 Community Advisory Group Meeting April 19
The Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay community advisory group meets monthly to discuss issues related to this Superfund site and its cleanup.

These meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Monday of the month. The community advisory group was established to represent the interests of the community and to share information and make recommendations to U. S. Environmental Protection Agency on the cleanup of the rivers and bay.

The next meeting will begin at 6 p.m., Monday, April 19, at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Seminar Room G, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw. If you have questions or need special accommodations at the meeting contact:

Patricia Krause
312-886-9506
krause.patricia@epa.gov

You may also call Region 5 toll-free at 800-621-8431, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.,weekdays. More site information is at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical .

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04/02/10 TRW public comment submitted to EPA on the interim dioxin remediation for soil.

Our response  to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s draft cleanup goals for the cancer‐causing chemical dioxin:

On the behalf of many Tittabawassee River/floodplain residents, residing down stream from the Dow Chemical Company's Michigan dioxin contamination site, we would like to thank the US EPA for finally addressing the outdated dioxin remediation levels for soil.
 
We welcome the lower 72 ppt interim number, but feel this level will still not be protective for the residents from the risk of cancer simply from living in their homes.  Lowering the level to 3.7 ppt or to a similar default background number would be much more protective.
 
In this interim, we also urge the US EPA to consider the residents immediate safety concerns, and open discussion to enter the residents into a Superfund relocation program.  Residents are currently living with dioxin soil levels sometimes in the tens of thousands of ppt. 
 
Remediation of the Tittabawassee River and floodplain is going to take years if not decades.  It's unacceptable and cruel for the agency to expect these residents to "wait it out" for this extended period of time until something is finally done.  Having a viable responsible party, The Dow Chemical Company, could help this process by not using tax payer money for this particular relocation.
 
Thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to comment.
 

Click on link below to view other comments submitted to the Federal Register

http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#searchResults?Ne=11+8+8053+8098+8074+8066+8084+1&Ntt=SFUND-2009-0907&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchall&N=0

Click here to view comments from Center for Health, Environment & Justice

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03/03/10 Tittabawassee loaded with Group 1 Carcinogen's

An article published in the December 2009 issue of the Lancet Oncology Journal summarizes the findings of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) review of human carcinogens.  

"In October, 2009, 23 scientists from six countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to reassess the carcinogenicity of several chemical and occupational exposure Click to open tablecircumstances previously classified as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1) and to identify additional tumour sites and mechanisms of carcinogenesis (table). These assessments will be published as the sixth and last part of Volume 100 of the IARC Monograph Evidence for carcinogenicity in humans and for genotoxicity as the main mechanism of the Group-1 agents assessed."

 

Of particular interest are their comments on 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran.

"Like TCDD, 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran and 3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-126) are complete carcinogens in experimental animals, and there is extensive evidence that they act through the same AhR-mediated mechanism. The Working Group classified these two chemicals in Group 1."

And what is one of the major Dow Chemical contaminants in the Tittabawassee River?  2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran

A recent MDCH poster indicates blood levels of this congener is elevated in flood plain adolescent and adult residents.

     

 

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02/12/10 Here we go again: EPA puts Dow in charge of identifying dioxin cleanup areas

What started out as a promising future under the new EPA administration has turned full circle.    At least the old EPA recognized Dow's persistent delay tactics, below are EPA comments from from 2006 identifying the risks of letting Dow do the work:

"EPA has concerns with Dow’s past failures to provide timely corrective action information to MDEQ. Recently, MDEQ cited Dow for its failure to provide MDEQ information as required by Dow’s RCRA License. EPA continues to have concerns that Dow may not have produced all relevant information it possesses concerning the historic releases of hazardous constituents from its facility. EPA is working with MDEQ to obtain this additional information."

Comments on decision by Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council

Below is today's Michigan Messenger story. Many residents are disillusioned with EPA for allowing Dow Chemical to take responsibility to perform the required work along the Tittabawassee River. The required work under the Administrative Order on Consent is not unlike the work Dow was required to do but didn't do under RCRA. MDEQ permitted Dow ample opportunity for a 8 years to do the work in compliance with their RCRA license. Over the years, EPA heavily criticized Dow (and MDEQ) for failure to get the job done---then EPA turned around and did the same thing. Yes, EPA's latest agreement is letting Dow do the work.

During the public comment period on the agreement, residents along the river and Lone Tree Council requested EPA to do the work, bill Dow for it, and not permit Dow to create further delays. EPA declined. At a minimum residents wanted EPA to investigate the extent of the contamination. After all it is not in Dow's interest to "discover" more dioxin.

Dow signed the agreement in October, signaling to their surrogates/apologists in the community to support the agreement. Hence, many comments from the business/chamber crowd and some elected officials insisted EPA just sign the document without any changes, arguing the need to put the issue behind the community. These would be the same folks who over the past eight years never once held Dow accountable or lamented the delays created by Dow’s deficient, incomplete and late work plans, the company’s legal challenges or political interference. In the end, EPA obliged, announcing they signed the agreement unchanged. It didn't matter that the fox was once again in charge of the hen house.

Nothing negotiated will address exposure of residents living on contaminated property any time in the foreseeable future.

You can read the public comments at: http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/pdfs/compiled_redacted_comments_during_dow_rifs_aoc_comment_pd.pdf

Michelle Hurd Riddick Lone Tree Council:  www.cleanwatershedcampaign.org

EPA deal puts Dow in charge of identifying dioxin exposure hazards  bt Eartha Melzer Michigan Messenger
 

A few comments of local river floodplain residents (from MM article link above)

bulletEPA recently set an interim dioxin cleanup level at 72 parts per trillion. “My property is in the 3,000 range,“ Taylor said, “We get nothing.” “I am being used as a lever,” he said, “not treated as a victim.”
bulletDamore said that Dow, which recently announced an uptick in profits, has failed to act as a good corporate citizen by addressing the company’s contamination in a timely way. ... “I think the whole 52 miles of contaminated rivers and lakes, the entire area is the hot spot,“ she said. “The entire river system has to be cleaned up before this can be resolved.” ...“As I get older I see younger people coming in, I worry about these little kids that are going back where there is contamination and they are playing in the ditch.”
 

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02/07/10 Comment period open for major modification to Dow Hazardous Waste Operating License

Written comments are being accepted until April 5, 2010 on a major modification of the hazardous waste management facility operating license (License) that was issued to The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Michigan Operations, Midland Plant, in June 2003 pursuant to Part 111, Hazardous Waste Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended.  The License modification is being proposed to fulfill the requirements of paragraph 47 of the Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study and/or Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis, and Response Design, CERCLA Docket No. V-W-10-C-942 (AOC) for the Tittabawassee River/Saginaw River and Bay “Site.”  The AOC was entered into by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ, now the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment [MDNRE]), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and Dow on January 14, 2010, with an effective date of January 21, 2010.

 The MDNRE will hold a public hearing on the draft Dow major License modification from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, 2010, at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Seminar Room G, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw, Michigan.  Written comments must be submitted by April 5, 2010, to Cheryl Howe at howec@michigan.gov or the address below.   

bullet

The public notice is available at: 
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-dow-Final-Major-Mod-Public-Notice-2-3-2010_310067_7.pdf

bullet

The Fact Sheet is available at: 
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-dow-Draft-Major-Mod-Fact-Sheet-wo-Atts-2-4-2010_310068_7.pdf

bullet

Attachment 1 to the Fact Sheet is available at:
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-dow-Fact-Sheet-Att-1-AOC-Appendix-E-Final-9-24-2009_310070_7.pdf

bullet

Attachment 2 to the Fact Sheet is available at: 
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-dow-Fact-Sheet-Att-2-Draft-License-Mod-w-Atts-31-and-32_310071_7.pdf

bullet

The direct link to the Dow Hazardous Waste Facility Operating License Information Web page is available at:
http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3312_4118_4240-193388--,00.html

 If you are also on the U.S. EPA listserve or the U.S. EPA or MDNRE mailing lists, you may have received or will receive a similar notice.  Please share this notice with others who might be interested in attending this public hearing or commenting on the draft major License modification.  If you have any questions, need further information, or would like to have your e-mail address removed from this distribution list, please contact me.  

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

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01/23/10 Dow lobbyist pushing it's flawed U of M dioxin study

A few snippets from the 1/22/10 Michigan Messenger article:  Chemical industry pushes Dow-funded U-M dioxin study

The group that represents American chemical manufacturers wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to back off criticisms of a Dow Chemical-funded dioxin exposure study conducted by researchers at U-M’s school of public health.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is a powerful advocate for chemical manufacturers and spent nearly $5 million on lobbying in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Dow Chemical is a member of the ACC. ...

However, in publicly funded reviews of the study, the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality and the federal EPA found that it did not focus enough on people who live in the most contaminated areas, it included no information on how much dioxin children absorb, and it didn’t focus on people who are exposed to dioxin in other ways, such as eating fish from the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers. ...

The agencies have also expressed concerns that the study was confusing people about the seriousness of the pollution and the need to ameliorate it. ...

Richard Clapp, professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, said that the ACC letter reads like a document filed on behalf of defendants in a lawsuit. ...

“This is an attempt again by the industry folks to create a distraction and require more review of info by EPA,“ said Stephen Lester, a scientist with the Center for Health Environment and Justice. “They will never be satisfied with the degree of review conducted by EPA.”

“That is their pattern of behavior for nearly 25 years now. A continual pattern of behavior to not be satisfied with anything the agency does.”

Click here to view the entire article

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01/23/10 Richard Maltby publishes his latest 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, Restoration of the Saginaw Valley, 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, Implementation of the Framework Agreement, Implementation of the Framework Agreement, Part Two, A Postscript to Implementation of the Framework Agreement Parts One and Two, and Community Involvement Plan

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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01/16/10 EPA decides not to reopen settlement with Dow after reviewing public comments

Lone Tree Council Chairman Terry Miller had mixed feelings about the agreement.

    "I think it's good to get on with the process of the cleanup," he said. "It's a bit disappointing they didn't acknowledge some of the concerns the citizens had and didn't modify the agreement in any way."

From the EPA:

EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a 60-day comment period which ended on Dec. 17, 2009, on the proposed Superfund administrative order on consent with Dow Chemical Co. and received comments from more than 60 people and organizations. The majority of the comments were supportive, and many made suggestions on how the agencies should implement the agreement. Because the comments are primarily related to implementation of work under the settlement agreement, rather than to the agreement itself, the agencies decided not to reopen the settlement. Instead, in approving the agreement the agencies have committed to a number of community involvement activities, detailed in the fact sheet below. All documents are online at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/ .

bullet Responsiveness Summary - provides both a summary of the public comments received and EPA's and MDEQ's responses to those comments
bullet Fact sheet - describes community involvement commitments and provides an overview of the sorts of comments received
bullet Final AOC - the final administrative order on consent, approved Jan. 14, 2010
bullet Final SMOA - the final site-specific memorandum of agreement between EPA and MDEQ

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01/15/10 EPA and Michigan launch comprehensive Superfund evaluation of area dioxin contamination

Release date: 01/15/2010

Contact Information: (EPA) Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov (EPA) Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov (MDEQ) Robert McCann, 517-373-7917, mccannr@michigan.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA004

(CHICAGO - Jan. 15, 2010) Following an extended public comment period, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and the state of Michigan have signed an administrative order on consent with Dow Chemical Co. The agreement outlines a series of steps that will result in a comprehensive Superfund evaluation of dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay and their floodplains. It also requires Dow to identify cleanup options and to design the remedy that EPA ultimately selects.

"Community involvement has been and will continue to be a centerpiece of our efforts to comprehensively address the site," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response Mathy Stanislaus. "This order reflects Administrator Jackson's commitment to first review the site status, and then move toward an effective cleanup."

"The order is the result of an incredible effort by MDEQ and EPA staff who have worked tirelessly to develop the information necessary to get to this point," said Jim Sygo, Interim Director for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "I am confident that the progress we have made will continue forward, and real cleanup action will come soon to this region."

The order signed by the agencies is unchanged from the draft presented to the community in October 2009. The agreement includes a detailed responsiveness summary by EPA and MDEQ that addresses, in categories, the issues raised during the public comment period. Among the issues: proceeding with cleanup promptly, attention to the concerns of property owners along the river, potential economic impacts to the region and requests for more detail on how community input will be considered as the project proceeds.

The vast majority of the more than 60 individuals or groups who provided comments in writing or at a November public meeting were supportive. Because many of the comments related to implementation of work under the settlement, rather than to the agreement itself, EPA and MDEQ aim to address those concerns with a robust schedule of community involvement activities.

For 2010, the agencies anticipate an active role for the community advisory group-including monthly meetings-to discuss progress on the technical work. The CAG was established in late 2009 with 23 board members. Technical assistance will also be provided through a "technical assistance plan," or TAP. This TAP will start off with $50,000, with more funding available as required. The CAG, and other organizations, will be eligible to apply for the TAP. An open, transparent process will be used to select a recipient that best represents the community.

On Sept. 25, 2009, EPA and MDEQ announced that they had completed negotiations and reached a proposed settlement with Dow. Though Dow had already signed the proposed settlement, the agencies chose to hold off on approving the agreement until public comments had been considered.

"The agreement spells out tasks and a schedule that Dow must follow," said Richard Karl, Superfund Director for EPA Region 5, which includes Michigan. "While the Superfund work proceeds, Dow must also continue to comply with its Michigan-issued RCRA license."

Highlights of the approved order include:

         Technical activities Dow is required to complete, including addressing high-use properties along the rivers, addressing erosion and movement of highly contaminated soil and sediment, and identifying cleanup options in an upstream-to-downstream fashion.

         How the Superfund process will be used to meet Dow's investigation and clean-up obligations under its MDEQ RCRA active facility waste regulations license.

         Legal terms addressing EPA and MDEQ's site costs, fines Dow may be required to pay in the event of noncompliance with the agreement and the process for resolving disagreements among EPA, MDEQ and Dow.

         How the community will be able to obtain technical assistance.

With the agreement approved, immediate next steps include establishing a segmented approach to the Tittabawassee River and filling in data gaps for the first segment, and planning for how to address high-use properties along the rivers and the erosion of highly contaminated soil and sediment.

The administrative order on consent and the responsiveness summary, as well as a plain language fact sheet, will be available to review at Alice and Jack Wirt Library, 500 Center Ave., Bay City; Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, 1710 W. St. Andrews St., Midland; and Hoyt Main Library, 5050 Janes Ave., Saginaw. They will also be posted at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/ . Residents with questions about the agreement may contact EPA community involvement coordinator Patti Krause at 800-621-8431, Ext. 69506, or krause.patricia@epa.gov.

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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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