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E-M:/ DEQ goal: Protect public, environment --- yes.

Dear Michigan,


Directors Chester and Olszewski answer to Dow-doubts about use of science in Department cleanup decisions.  While we wait for the real cleanup action to begin, this letter is a very welcome response to those who push for continued poisoning of our community, our lands, and our rivers with dioxins.  Thank you, Directors Chester and Olszewski.    


See the full article at the URL.






DEQ goal: Protect public, environment

Steven E. Chester and Janet Olszewski , Midland Daily News


    A recent forum piece by Dr. Richard Reitz, former toxicologist for Dow Chemical, suggested that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has failed to use science to guide our decisions concerning the cleanup of historic dioxin contamination in the Midland area. This assertion is false, and with the great deal of progress we have made over the past year to move this process forward, it is disappointing to see these misleading statements made.

    The MDEQ, along with our partners at the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), have a clear goal in mind: Protecting the environment and the public health of those affected by dioxin contamination. Our combined efforts are the work of some of the top scientists and health experts in the state, all of whom have dedicated their careers to serving the people of Michigan. To suggest that they have used anything but the highest degree of scientific review to guide their work simply demonstrates a lack of understanding as to how our agencies fulfill our commitment to the public.

    Dr. Reitz makes a number of misstatements throughout his article, all of which have been refuted by many people time and again, but which warrant additional response here. First, he states that soil samples that have been taken throughout the area have shown inconsistent results, causing us to simply make assumptions on the area of contamination. This is simply not true.

    The results from sampling done along the Tittabawassee River have consistently shown elevated levels of dioxin within the March 2004 floodplain area. Dow has acknowledged this in their recently submitted remedial investigation work plans that specifically state, "Éthese results suggest that the 8-year flood boundary may be a good predictor of whether or not TEQ (dioxin & furans concentrations) will fall below 90 parts-per-trillion." This does not suggest that there are not elevated levels of dioxin outside of the floodplain area, however, it clearly shows that existing data provides the basis to make a consistent and reasonable estimate of the scope of contamination.