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E-M:/ Citizens meet with Governor on Dioxin: Press Release
- Subject: E-M:/ Citizens meet with Governor on Dioxin: Press Release
- From: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 14:38:57 -0400
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Tracey Easthope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Enviro-Mich message from Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
For Immediate Release
June 22, 2004
Contact: Michelle Hurd Riddick 989-798-5535
In a meeting yesterday with Governor Jennifer Granholm, Lieutenant
Governor John Cherry and Department of Environmental Quality Director
Steve Chester, residents of the dioxin-contaminated floodplain in
mid-Michigan urged the Governor to protect public health and in
particular, the region's children, from dioxin contamination.
Residents are concerned about recent attempts by Dow Chemical and
several Midland area legislators with ties to the chemical giant to
delay and in some cases prevent cleanup of their neighborhoods and
"My husband developed a series of illnesses while we were living in
our home in the river. We are now concerned that the dioxin
contamination we have been living in for 30 years contributed to his
unexplained multiple health problems. Two of our otherwise healthy
daughters have battled infertility. Our combined health problems are
the same as evidenced in studies on dioxin," said Barb Steinmetz, a
long-time river resident. "While we thought we were enjoying our
uniquely beautiful location on the river, we have come to the
realization that over the years, we have been slowly poisoned by
subtle, insidious dioxin exposure."
"I told the Governor that I was worried about the health of my young
children, and concerned that we can no longer use our yard without
worrying that we are putting them at risk," said Marcia Woodman,
river resident and mother of three.
Residents called recent legislative attempts to weaken the state's
dioxin cleanup standard an outrage, and urged the Governor to be
guided by the mountain of scientific evidence that details dioxin's
hazards. Michigan's standard is similar to other states that have
dioxin cleanup standards. They are based on well-established
scientific methods to protect public health.
"The developing baby is most at risk from dioxin's toxicity. Even
tiny amounts can threaten a baby's development. Weakening our
standard will just put more children at risk. Public health must
come first in any cleanup. That is the state law, and that is the
ethical and right thing to do," said Michelle Hurd Riddick, of the
Lone Tree Council.
"Cleanup decisions must be out in the open, and with full public
participation," said Diane Hebert, a Midland resident who wants the
right to have her property tested, and cleaned up if necessary.
"Midland area legislators don't represent me and my interests, even
though I live in Midland. I am absolutely outraged that they are
working to eliminate my right to get my yard cleaned up."
Residents also criticized legislative attempts to punish the DEQ for
doing their job, and following state law. The house recently passed
a budget that cuts the Director's salary by 15% and institutes across
the board cuts of 8% in the DEQ budget.
Residents also objected to the plan to use taxpayer dollars that are
meant for cleanup to fund a study that Dow is already conducting on
dioxin. "Dioxin has been studied for more than ten years by dozens
of scientists writing hundreds of papers. This is yet another delay
tactic to confuse people and make them think that there are major
questions about dioxin's toxicity," said Michelle Hurd Riddick.
Dioxin is a known human carcinogen, and has been linked to a variety
of health effects including endometriosis, diabetes, cardiovascular
disease, decreased testosterone, immunotoxicity, altered sex ratio,
delayed breast development, developmental insults including altered
thyroid status and neurobehavioral impacts, auto-immune disorders,
birth defects, and many other health problems. There is more
evidence on dioxin's hazards than almost any other pollutant ever
studied. While some areas of uncertainty remain, there is widespread
scientific consensus that dioxin is toxic in tiny amounts, and that
any additional exposure to dioxin increases our risks.
"This is just like the Hudson River cleanup in New York. The
industry fought for years, and continued to claim that PCB's weren't
toxic, and that people weren't exposed. But in the end, PCB's are
still toxic, and the company was forced to cleanup," said Tracey
Easthope, MPH of the Ecology Center.
"There is a massive amount of misinformation circulating about the
dioxin cleanup efforts. Dow has done a good job of completely
confusing people about the issues. But the facts remain - Dow
contaminated the whole region, and that contamination continues to
sweep through the watershed, contaminating our backyards and
fisheries and wildlife, and poisoning people who are exposed. Its
time, after all these years, to finally clean up," said Gary Henry,
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