Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dow dioxin tests upset state...

It's an issue of trust, government scientists say... according to a June 3, 2005 Detroit Free Press article. Although I've read several versions of this news, this is the most complete version. What I don't understand is why it is a 'bad' action for Dow to test soil for dioxin. Actually it was a 'Dow contractor' taking the samples, but the Free Press doesn't bother reporting which contractor!

Sound science has traditionally been practiced by testing and testing again... by more than one group of scientists. It's called peer review. For a simple explanation of peer review I suggest you read Why Peer Review Matters, a well-written, easy to understand article about peer review published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

It would appear that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is above peer review. You might wonder why, since the techniques MDEQ uses to quantify dioxin levels was developed by Dow. This, however, is merely an example of the way DEQ picks and chooses which 'science' they want to use.

A good example of peer review is the University of Michigan study being done by Dr. Garabrant's group. The Scientific Advisory Board is made up of four highly respected scientists.

Dr. Garabrant and the Community Advisory Panel will be in Freeland next week to update us on the study... read their press release. I must apologize to Dr. Garabrant because I will not be able to attend this meeting. I'm counting on Bill and Len to represent us. It seems these CAP meetings are regularly scheduled for the same day of the month as the Saginaw Valley Computer Association. Since I'm president of that organization, I do not feel comfortable with repeated absences.

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