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GLIN==> Ecological Risk Assessment, Downstream from Dow Chemical, Midland, MI




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2003

Contact:  Patricia Spitzley
                 (517) 241-7397


DEQ Funded Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment Identifies Risks and
Impacts to Wildlife Resulting from Dioxin and Furan Contaminated
Sediments in the Tittabawassee River

Dioxin and furan contaminated sediments in the Tittabawassee River
downstream of the city of Midland pose significant reproductive, embryo,
and early life-stage mortality risk to fish-eating birds and mammals
according to a recent report commissioned by the Department of
Environmental Quality.

The 48-page Tittabawassee River Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment
Report, prepared by Vermont-based Galbraith Environmental Sciences, LLC,
was initiated after investigations of river sediments and flood plain
soil conducted by the DEQ found dioxin and furan contamination.  The
contamination is pervasive throughout the Tittabawassee River and its
flood plain downstream of Midland and the Dow Chemical plant.

 "The report provides critical risk assessment data that will assist
the DEQ in determining the impacts and risks to wildlife posed by dioxin
and furan contamination and the appropriate response activities needed
to reduce those risks," said DEQ Director Steven Chester.
The conclusions of this study are based on the concentrations of
dioxins and furans in sediment and fish collected from the Tittabawassee
River and from duck and chicken eggs collected from the Tittabawassee
River floodplain.

Specific conclusions reached from the aquatic risk assessment include:

* Carp, catfish, shad, and bass in the Tittabawassee River downstream
of Midland are contaminated with dioxin and furans  at  levels  posing
serious reproductive  impairment  to: 1)  fish-eating birds and mammals
that consume them (even as small portions of their diet), and 2) bird
species that are normally insensitive to dioxins and furans.

* Risks of reproductive impairment to fish-eating birds and mammals
resulting from dioxin contaminated sediments also exists within the
Saginaw River and inner Saginaw Bay, based on the limited amount of
sediment data that currently exists.

* Tittabawassee River ecological habitats downstream of Midland are
contaminated with dioxin and furans at levels that could result in toxic
impacts to exposed wildlife species.

* Concentrations of dioxin and furans measured in waterfowl eggs
collected from the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge near the
Tittabawassee River were much higher than concentrations measured in
waterfowl eggs collected from unimpacted areas.

* Concentrations of dioxin and furans confirmed to be present in fish
tissue and in waterfowl eggs provide actual site-specific information
that supports the findings and conclusions of the aquatic ecological
risk assessment.

The 48-page report is now available on the DEQ webpage
www.michigan.gov/Tittabawassee; or from the DEQ Saginaw Bay District
Office, 503 N. Euclid, Bay City, Michigan; or by calling Sue
Kaelber-Matlock, DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division, at
989-686-8025, ext. 8303.

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Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
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Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039 
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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