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E-M:/ Dow Tops Dioxin Releasers in Michigan - TRI 2000 data
- Subject: E-M:/ Dow Tops Dioxin Releasers in Michigan - TRI 2000 data
- From: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 13:05:51 -0400
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Tracey Easthope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Title: Dow Tops Dioxin Releasers in Michigan - TRI 2000
More Information Contact:
Diane Hebert 989-832-1694
Terry Miller 989-686-6386
Michelle Hurd-Riddick 989-799-3313
Tracey Easthope 734-663-2400 x 109
NEW FEDERAL DATA SHOWS DOW LARGEST TOTAL DIOXIN EMITTER IN
Groups Reaffirm Call for a Full Assessment of Dioxin Contamination,
and a Phase Out of Dioxin Releases
According to data released
yesterday by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dow Chemical
in Midland was overwhelmingly the largest dioxin emitter in Michigan.
Dow Chemical's dioxin emissions in Michigan are more than all other
reporting industries in Michigan combined.
Dioxin is toxic in tiny amounts. Significant health effects in
the laboratory are seen at exposures to the most toxic form of dioxin
in the trillionths of a gram.
Of the 510 grams of dioxin
released in the state during the year 2000, Dow is responsible for 326
grams. Dow's dioxin releases to water represent 97% of all
releases to water in the state. Similarly, Dow's dioxin releases
to land represent almost 96% of the total.
"The EPA's new data lends significant support to speculation that
Dow is an ongoing source of dioxin downstream in Saginaw County",
said Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council.
"For those communities living downstream and downwind, indeed,
all those who eat fish from Michigan's waters, this new information
highlights the need to focus on Midland; until Dow commits to a real
effort to reduce its dioxin output, we all stand at risk, " added
Lone Tree's Terry Miller.
Dow's dioxin releases were entirely to the surrounding
community, and were not sent off-site. Of on-site releases,
Dow's contribution made up nearly 90% of the state's total.
For all dioxin releases, both on-site and to off-site treatment
facilities, Dow's contribution makes up 64% of the state's
"Its long past time to
assess the dioxin problem in this state, and move toward solutions -
and the place to start is the Midland/ Saginaw area and Dow,"
said Diane Hebert of Environmental Health Watch in
Other large dioxin emitters
in Michigan include Alchem Aluminum in Coldwater (81.82 grams), and
IMCO recycling, also of Coldwater (64.02 grams). Mead Paper of
Escanaba (12.59 grams) is the fourth largest emitter. There are
26 other companies on the list.
Dow Chemical's plant in Freeport Texas is the sixth largest source of
dioxin nationally. Dow's Plaquemine, Louisiana facility is the
ninth largest in the nation. Dow's Midland plant is 19th overall
Environmental groups in Michigan renewed their calls for a
comprehensive and fully open investigation of dioxin contamination in
the Midland/Saginaw area, and a plan for the eventual phase out of
dioxin releases. Environmentalists also called again for a
comprehensive dioxin elimination plan in the state to protect the
citizens of Michigan.
"This new information demonstrates the need to get to the bottom
of the dioxin problem from Midland to Saginaw. People in this
part of the state are uniquely exposed to high levels of dioxins,"
said Dave Dempsey of the Michigan Environmental Council.
Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known. In fact, the
EPA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the National
Toxicology Program have all classified dioxin as a known human
carcinogen. Dioxin is also known to cause more subtle health
effects such as attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities,
weakened immune systems,
infertility, and birth defects. Dioxin has been called the 'new
lead' because, like lead, its effects are particularly pronounced with
children, can include impairments in basic functions, and because we
are all exposed.
While there is some evidence
that dioxin levels in the environment are decreasing, existing
emissions still pose a significant health threat because of the high
levels of dioxin present in our bodies, and because of the exquisite
toxicity of dioxin. The new data indicates that over 99,814
grams were released in 2000, considerably higher than earlier EPA
"Each of us are already
'full' of dioxin," said Tracey Easthope, MPH, Director of the
Environmental Health Project at the Ecology Center. "The
dioxin in all of our bodies already may be causing health effects.
Additional exposures must be stopped."
Ninety percent of our
exposure to dioxin comes from the food we eat, especially fish, dairy,
meat and eggs. Dioxin does not break down easily in the
environment. Once we are exposed, it accumulates in our bodies.
Dioxin is a by-product of chemical and industrial processes such as
the manufacture of plastics, pesticides and other chlorinated
chemicals. Not all dioxin sources are required to report under
this inventory. Other sources include medical and municipal
To see the data, go to www.epa.gov/triexplorer