Note: the CAP described below is dead and gone. The state has
capitulated to Dow and has not held a meeting in over 240 days (as of 1/21/05).
The open and transparent process promised by Governor Granholm has evaporated.
The MDEQ does not have an official CAP
website, some of the related documents can be viewed on the MDEQ website, click here
What is the Citizen Advisory Panel?
The Community Advisory Panel was formed
to provide input to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on issues
related to corrective action activities for Midland area soil contamination and
Tittabawassee/Saginaw River sediment and floodplain soil contamination. The CAP is
intended to be an advisory group to the WHMD on corrective action activities for
contamination beyond the facility boundary of The Dow Chemical Company, Michigan
Operations, Midland Plant under the hazardous waste facility operating license that was
issued on June 12, 2003, and related issues.
Mr. Bruchmann indicated that this
expanded corrective action public involvement effort is strongly supported by DEQ Director
Steve Chester.Since this is the WHMDs
first effort of this type, he asked for everyones patience through the process.The initial work of the CAP will be to provide
input to the DEQ on the Scopes of Work (SOWs) for Remedial Investigation for Midland area
soil contamination and Tittabawassee River sediment and flood plain soil contamination
that Dow is scheduled to submit on August 11, 2003.Mr.
Bruchmann mentioned that the operation of the CAP could be affected if Dow contests the
operating license [Note:Dow did not contest
the operating license.The deadline for
filing a petition for contested case hearing on the operating license is also August 11,
2003.Cheryl Howe, the WHMDs project
manager for the Dow operating license, will moderate the CAP and provide staff support,
along with several other agency technical staff.It
is expected that the group will control the topics that are of interest to the CAP and
topics will emerge as meetings progress.
Meetings of the CAP will not be public noticed and are not subject to the Open Meetings
11/15/04 The Department of Environmental Quality regrets to inform you
that the Community Advisory Panel meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on November 17 in
Freeland has been canceled. Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum, the scheduled speaker at the event, is
unfortunately in the hospital and will be unable to travel to Michigan in time for the
meeting. Dr. Birnbaum, Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Experimental
Toxicology Division in the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory,
was to have provided information relating to dioxins and their health effects.
The meeting will be rescheduled at a later date. Please contact DEQ Press Secretary
Patricia Spitzley at 517-241-7397 for more information.
Canceled: 11/17/04 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Department of
Environmental Quality announces a Community Advisory Panel meeting that will be open to
the general public on November 17 in Freeland. Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum,
Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Experimental Toxicology Division in
the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, will be the featured
speaker. Her presentation will be on dioxins and their health effects. The meeting
will be held at the Freeland High School Auditorium, at 8250 Webster Road, Freeland, from
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Please contact DEQ Press Secretary Patricia Spitzley at
517-241-7397 for more information.
05/26/04 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Note Time Change. James Twp Hall, 6060 Swan Creek Rd., Saginaw: At
the last meeting on March 10, it was expected that the SOW review and approval would
be completed in April prior to the DEQ CAP meeting scheduled to be held on May 5.
Although DEQ staff have made a great deal of progress on the SOW review, they will not be
able to complete the review and the SOW modifications for approval in time to meet
with Dow prior to the May 5 DEQ CAP meeting and finalize the approval documents to
share with the CAP members. The new date is May 26.
03/10/04 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm, CAP meeting, Saginaw Township Firehall #1,
6171 Shattuck Rd., Saginaw (corner of Shattuck and Lawndale Rds., one mile east
of Hospital Rd. and one mile west of Center Rd.). This meeting rescheduled by MDEQ
on 1/22/04, had been scheduled for 2/4/04. Future meetings will be held on a
bi-monthly basis. MDEQ says rescheduling is necessary due to current Dow related
The Science behind Michigans 90 ppt RDCC
Cleanup criteria for environmental contamination are determined under Part 201,
Environmental Remediation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994
PA 451, as amended (Act 451). The soil generic residential direct contact criterion (DCC)
for dioxin is 90 parts per trillion (ppt). That criterion was developed in 1995 using the
best information available at that time. The scientific information that has developed
since 1995 indicates that dioxin poses even more of a risk than considered in 1995. Recent
work conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization, the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food, and in the
United States Environmental Protection Agencys (EPAs) draft dioxin
reassessment supports standards even lower than those in effect in Michigan. The United
States Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health and the WHOs International Agency for Research on Cancer, as well
as the EPA, have concluded, based on literally hundreds of animal and human studies, that
2,3,7,8-TCDD is a potent human carcinogen." Source: MDEQ response to Midland 5/26 meeting
The Part 201 DCC
of 90 ppt for dioxin is based on exposure assumptions and toxicity information available
in 1995. The toxicity of dioxin is currently being re-evaluated in a major reassessment
done by the EPA, including review by the National Academy of Sciences. When promulgating
the Part 201 cleanup criteria rules in 2002, the DEQ determined that it was more
scientifically defensible to continue to apply the 1995 DCC of 90 ppt than to update the
criterion before the results of the federal dioxin reassessment are available. It is
anticipated that revision of the dioxin DCC to reflect current science and risk assessment
would result in a generic residential soil DCC in the range of 10 to 70 ppt. An update of
the soil DCC for dioxin would require: (Source: MDEQ response to Midland 5/26 meeting)
A re-evaluation of the cancer potency value.
An evaluation of noncancer toxicity.
An appropriate animal-dose to human-dose
conversion to account for differences between species.
Selection of the most sensitive toxicity
Identification of an appropriate relative
source contribution factor (which accounts for the fact that a significant source of
dioxin exposure is from the diet).
Incorporation of the updated generic
exposure assumptions (i.e., the exposure assumptions used in the Part 201 Administrative
On January 30, 2004, Dow published a press
release stating they will provide a grant to the University of Michigan to design a
study to determine the typical blood level of dioxin in residents of Saginaw and Midland
Dow states the test results will "compliment" the MDCH Pilot Exposure Study by developing " an understanding of whether residents who live along the
Tittabawassee River and in Midland have higher dioxin levels in their blood compared with
a similar group of residents living outside of those areas."
In our opinion, the word "compliment" suggests the Dow study will provide
control group data for the MDEQ PIE study. Unfortunately, this is not true.
The MDCH PIE protocol states:
"Another purpose of this Pilot Exposure Investigation
is to test the sampling criteria, questionnaire, and blood and indoor dust sampling
methods prior to the implementation of a larger investigation that will include residents
from the city of Midland, the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw County,
Michigan and a control community with no known exposure to polychlorinated
dioxins, furans, and coplanar PCBs beyond background."
The problem is this: non-floodplain residents of Saginaw and Midland
Counties may be contaminated as a result of dioxin exposure as well. For decades,
Tittabawassee floodplain soils may have been used all over the area for fill dirt and landscaping. In addition,
airborne contaminants and fish/wildgame consumption may increase local residents
dioxin exposure. Saginaw and Midland counties are not a good choice for a
"control community with no know exposure" to dioxins and furans.
Hopefully, the ATSDR and MDCH will review the Dow study protocol and clearly indicate
what is or is not "complimenting" the MDCH PIE. Until more is know about
the study and it's contractor, Dr. David Garabrant, we remain skeptical of Dow's
motives in funding this "study". Why? Click here
preliminary review of Dow's SOW - needs lot's of work.
The preliminary review identified a number of key issues that must be
resolved prior to approval of the SOWs. Many of these issues were discussed
by WHMD and Remediation and Redevelopment Division staff at our August 5
meeting with Dow and in the follow-up e-mail on August 7. Our preliminary
review included a side-by-side review of the SOWs in comparison to Condition
XI.B. of the operating license. This review indicates that Dow did not
adequately address all of the applicable elements that are required by the
license to be included in the SOWs.
Specifically, Condition XI.B.3.(a) of the license requires the SOWs to
identify and propose the implementation of specific interim response
activities (IRAs) for the protection of public health for the areas
identified in Condition XI.B.2. of the license that are known through prior
environmental sampling to be impacted by releases from the facility.
Your proposal to conduct sampling and an exposure evaluation without controlling
potential ongoing exposures is not acceptable as an IRA. As noted in the August 7
e-mail to you on this issue, consideration should be given to offering the residents in
this area a range of alternatives to begin reducing the potential for exposure
immediately - before the results of an exposure study are available. Sampling and
exposure investigation can and should be a part of the IRA for this area, but direct
mitigation is also required.
In addition, the Tittabawassee River Area SOW should propose to identify any
other residential properties in the Tittabawassee River area of concern that
are or could be contaminated so that immediate IRAs (sampling and exposure
controls) may be implemented, if necessary.
The SOWs do not appropriately prioritize work in a schedule based on
consideration of potential risks to human health and the environment in
accordance with Condition XI.B.3.(b) of the license.
It is also not clear why a six-month period is necessary to prepare a
current conditions report or why approval of that report is necessary to
begin the development of a Remedial Investigation work plan.
Condition XI.B.3.(b)(i) of the license requires Dow to identify in the SOWs
additional potential exposure pathways that do not have Part 201 of Act 451
generic criteria (e.g., food chain exposures, house dust, etc.). Currently
the SOWs state that additional exposure pathways will be identified and
evaluated and, therefore, do not address this requirement.
Condition XI.B.3.(b)(ii) of the license requires the SOWs to identify the
specific areas proposed for investigation and the process proposed for
selecting those areas.
The SOWs appear to only address dioxins and furans as the "contaminants of
concern." It is not appropriate to narrow the SOWs to dioxins and furans at
As we have discussed, Dow may begin to implement interim measures to begin
reducing exposure immediately, without waiting for MDEQ approval.
Timely resolution of these issues is necessary and prudent for
the protection of public health and the environment. Meeting prior to the
September 3 CAP meeting will afford Dow the opportunity to address the
preliminary concerns and provide a meaningful basis for discussion at the
September 3 meeting and subsequent public meetings as to how you intend to
address concerns already identified.
As mentioned previously, we will be meeting with the CAP on September 3 and
will be hosting two public meetings later in September to solicit public
comment on the SOWs. We have requested Dow participation in these meetings
to present your SOWs. To date, we have not received confirmation that Dow
intends to present the SOWs. Please let us know so that we can coordinate
George Bruchmann, Chief
Waste & Hazardous Materials Division
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Today, At the 11th hour, Dow submitted it's preliminary Scope of Work (SOW) to the MDEQ
as mandated in it's new Hazardous Waste Site Operating License and Corrective Action
Consent Order. This was not something Dow did on it's own recognizance to serve the
public, rather, it was something the State of Michigan forced them to do after a long and
drawn out battle. This is not an announcement of a solution to the problem.
Two SOW's where submitted, one for Tittabawassee River and flood plain, the other for
soils outside Dow's facility in the Midland area. In summary, their purpose is as
follows (links to actual document are at the end of this article):
Dows Hazardous Waste Site Operating License ("License"),
Condition XI.B.2., issued on June 12, 2002, requires Dow to submit to the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") for review and approval a Scope of
Work ("SOW") for conducting Remedial Investigation ("RI") of the
Midland area soils and the Tittabawassee River Sediments and Floodplain. The SOW outlines
the general steps involved in the implementation of a RI, which will be elaborated upon in
the RI Workplan that will be submitted to MDEQ for review and approval following approval
of the SOW. The License also requires Dow to propose Interim Remedial Activities and a
Public Participation Plan along with the SOW. The SOW is intended to be a
preliminary outline that provides an overview of the contents of the RI Workplan that Dow
will prepare after approval of the SOW by MDEQ. The RI Workplan will be developed by
Dow working with the MDEQ after Dow and MDEQ receive public input on the SOW. As it is
developed, the RI Workplan may vary from the SOW in its organization, task, prioritization
of activities, or other aspects, subject to MDEQ approval.
After a very brief review of the SOW's, a few opinions by TRW (more in-depth analysis
Some good things:
Dow admits they are responsible for the dioxin (are we out of the denial stage?)
Parks will receive immediate attention to reduce exposure until a permanent solution is
Those most likely to be contaminated will be focused on first.
Some bad things:
Both SOW's state that Dow intends to use "Probabilistic Risk Assessment"
techniques to measure human health risks.
This is the same junk science that the MDEQ and EPA strongly criticized last fall during
Dow's failed attempt to raise the human contact
level from 90 ppt to 831 ppt!
Cancer is a terrible disease, however dioxin can lead to many non-cancer related
illnesses. Click here for a list. In
our opinion, the SOW must be modified to include these other diseases.
Dioxin testing: So far the MDEQ has done a lot of dioxin testing with the limited
funds available. It can cost over $1200 per sample. Why does Dow want to perform
it's own testing? A better solution would be for the MDEQ to continue testing using
funds from Dow. Why let the fox into the chicken coop? Check with a lawyer
before your let Dow on to your property to perform dioxin testing on your family or
property. If you do not have a lawyer or want to talk with one that
understands the issues, click here.
Dow's says emissions have decreased to nearly zero.
TRW asks them to prove it. They have said this in the past, yet scientific data
and methods of analysis have never been released to the public (to our knowledge).
What relevance does the term "near zero" have when measuring dioxin pollution.
We are talking about toxic chemicals that can have a severe, detrimental impact on the health of you and your
children. The State says we should not be exposed to more than 90 parts
per trillion in residential soils. That's 90 parts per TRILLION ( a
9 preceded by 10 zeros to the right of the decimal point, 0.000000000090). Looks
pretty close to zero to Dow, however to the rest of the world, it's a big number.
Dow stated the dioxin pollution occurred back in the early 1900's.
TRW asks them to prove it, wasn't Agent Orange manufactured by Dow in the 60's and 70's?
Has anyone read the book "The Pollution Signature" by Richard A. Maltry?
Check it out, library number 628.1. It chronicles Dow's outrageous disregard
for the Tittabawassee River over the last 100 years. Watch out, you might get sick