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E-M:/ Dow dioxin news - third message

Enviro-Mich message from pirgim1@juno.com (Brian M Imus)

News Release			    News Release

July 14, 1998			Contact:  Diane Hebert
					Terry Miller
				(517) 686-6386

Dow Dioxin Discharges To Tittabawassee River Far Exceed 
DEQ Safe Level In 18 Of Past 42 Months

New Watchdog Group Releases Dow Data Documenting Dioxin Exceedances

	Dow Dioxin Watch today released data documenting Dow’s discharges
of dioxin to the Tittabawassee River at levels as high as 5,400 percent
in excess of the safe level set by the DEQ.  These same data show that
Dow’s dioxin discharges have exceeded the safe level in 18 months of the
past 42.
	“Dioxin is the most potent toxicant on earth, according to the
U.S. EPA,” said Diane Hebert, spokesperson for Dow Dioxin Watch and the
chair of the Midland-based Environmental Health Watch.  “Dow’s own
monitoring reports establish the company’s repeated and frequent
discharge of dioxin at concentrations far greater than the safe level set
by the DEQ.  Dow’s excessive dioxin discharges put at risk the
Titabawassee River, its aquatic life, and all the people who use it.”
	Dow Dioxin Watch obtained Dow’s data from Discharge Monitoring
Reports that Dow files each month with the DEQ.  A summary of Dow’s
dioxin discharges accompanies this news release.
	The Discharge Monitoring Reports document that, since January 1,
1995, Dow has discharged the most toxic form of dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD,
into the Tittabawassee River at concentrations at least 1,000 percent of
the DEQ-defined safe level in at least 18 different months.  The safe
level, defined by the DEQ in Dow’s discharge permit as the “water quality
based effluent limitation” for Dow’s discharge, is one-tenth of one part
per quadrillion averaged over each month.  For each of the months listed,
Dow discharged an average of between 1 and 5.4 parts per quadrillion,
with a daily discharges as high as 24 parts per quadrillion.
	Dow discharged dioxin 1,000 percent to 2,000 percent over the
safe level in three months in 1998, according to Dow’s Discharge
Monitoring Reports.  Copies of Dow’s Discharge Monitoring Reports are
available from Dow Dioxin Watch upon request.
		“Dow’s dioxin discharges have contaminated the
Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers,” said Terry Miller, chair of the
LoneTree Council.  “The state of Michigan has issued public health
advisories warning us not to eat carp and catfish caught in those rivers
downstream of Midland because of dioxin contamination.  And according to
the U.S. EPA, Dow is responsible.”
	 “Dioxin compounds bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue and
can cause cancer, birth defects, reproductive harm and developmental
injuries at very low quantities,” said Tracey Easthope, MPH, director of
the Ecology Center’s Environmental Health Project.   “The DEQ’s safe
level for the most potent form of dioxin,  2,3,7,8-TCDD, is 100,000 times
lower than the safe level set for mercury and 1,000 times lower than the
safe level set for PCBs--other substances known for their extreme
	 According to the U.S. EPA and the Michigan DEQ, the impacts of
dioxin are felt throughout the Tittabawassee and Saginaw River
watersheds:  on microorganisms, fish, and the people who eat them.
	“The Michigan DEQ is supposed to stop those excessive discharges,
but it has dropped the ball,” said Caroline Schwarz, campaign director
for PIRGIM.  “In Dow’s latest discharge permit, the DEQ has allowed Dow
to discharge at levels that are 80 times higher than the DEQ safe level. 
A number of us have challenged this permit for that very reason.”  The
permit challenge is pending before the DEQ.
	Dow Dioxin Watch is a new project aimed at monitoring Dow’s
release of dioxins into the Midland region’s air, water and soil.  It
plans each month to release the data it gathers.  This is the first such
release.  Sponsors include Midland’s Diane Hebert, Bay City’s Terry
Miller, the Midland-based Environmental Health Watch, the LoneTree
Council, PIRGIM (the Public Interest Research Group In Michigan, a
statewide environmental and consumer watchdog organization), and the
Ecology Center’s Environmental Health Project.

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