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E-M:/ feds support testing of dioxin contamination in Midland and floodplain

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has
released for public comment a "health consultation" that urges a public
health action plan to address widespread dioxin contamination in the city of
Midland and downstream in the Tittabawasee River floodplain.

These are the documents that DEQ Director Russell Harding tried to suppress
in late January and February.  The recommendations contained in them are a
rebuke to Harding, who has so far blocked DEQ staff from testing areas that
ATSDR and the Michigan Department of Community Health say must be tested to
address public health concerns.

One document, referring to contamination in the river floodplain near
Saginaw, concludes, "The levels of total dioxin TEQs detected at
concentrations exceeding the ATSDR action level at the Mitigation Site
(7,261 ppt), the golf course (2,588 ppt), and some areas of the SNWR (1,055
ppt) would pose an urgent public health hazard if people were routinely
exposed to soil at these locations.  The level of exposure on these
properties is currently not known."

The level of exposure might be known -- or would be closer to being known --
if DEQ staff had been authorized to do sampling last fall as they proposed.

The documents also say, "The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)
recommends that the MDEQ implement sampling plans to determine if dioxin
contamination is present in the Tittabawassee River watershed between the
city of Midland and the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers.
MDCH specifically recommends soil sampling at residential properties in
closest proximity to previously identified areas of concern.  These plans
should include contingencies for potential public health actions if dioxin
is detected at concentrations greater than the ATSDR action level."

The release of the documents opens a public comment period.

If any citizen has additional information or health concerns regarding the
Tittabawassee River Floodplain consultation or the Dow Chemical Company
Midland petitioned health assessment, MDCH urges them to contact the
Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology at 1-800-648-6942.

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