Friday, September 30, 2005

All Quiet on the Homefront...

..but I wanted you to know - I drove past Festival Park yesterday and noticed the lower ramp is once again visible. I didn't have my camera along, so no photo for now. Is it possible that our dam neighbors to the north of us were unaware of being bad neighbors? I hope so because I have a friend who lives on Wixom Lake and he's a great neighbor and a good guy!

In case you didn't read the comment left by one of our Tittabawassee River Voices, click here to see what he/she had to say about property values along our river plain. This is more of the majority speaking, folks!

I remain yours truly, healthy, active, as content as possible and even a bit along the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

About Floods... Dioxin... and People...

Along the Tittabawassee River at Festival Park...
Festival Park ramp flooded at certainly wouldn't want to walk down to the bottom step today. See the steps up toward top of the photo? The only thing worse would be if you were in a wheelchair on the ramp closest to us. Ya' just might get a tad wet, don'tcha think?

Here's how it looked two weeks ago... click for picture. Oh yes! Did you see how dry it was? Part of the ramp is under water - parallel with the ramp we can see. I don't wanna go there with MY wheelchair!
Yup, there's a ramp/walkway under all that water!

Who is 'the bad guy' here... Dow? Mother Nature? the contractor? I'll tell you... none of the above! Dam operators at Sanford and Edenville regulate the dams - not for benefit of anybody below the dams - only for their own benefit! They regulate those dams to maintain a 'perfect' level for residents on the lakes.

They like to keep their lakes high even during periods of drought. That's when you can walk across the Tittabawassee River. Then when the rains come and water gets so high that Sanford and Edenville residents might be flooded, or even made uncomfortable with water up around their docks, the dams let loose! That's when we get it - all that water with all that goes with it. In my humble opinion, the dam operators are not good neighbors. Sic 'em, DEQ!!! Sic 'em, all you econutz!

How's the UM study going? Latest thing I read was from the Jackson Citizen Patriot... Dioxin study results expected in summer - written by Paul Fletcher, published Friday, September 23. I met another person who was involved with that test here along the river. She said she had received data from U of M about the dust in her home but wasn't sure what it means. There's a lot of that going around. When this started, it seemed far away... but it now seems like 2006 will soon be here. It's just a couple of seasons away. When all results are in next summer we should get a full explanation of the University of Michigan study of the relationship between amounts of dioxin in our environment and the amounts in our bodies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's not about dioxin...'s about progress and dedication, and perhaps an innate faith in our fellow mankind. This is the Shaheen family. Doc Shaheen, the elder, probably doesn't even know who I am. I only met him earlier this year but it seems just about everybody I know knows him... or knew of him - like forever! Not one person thinks of him as a bad man or a greedy opportunist. They all speak of him only with admiration!

The Saginaw News yesterday had an editorial about this dedicated family, father and son: Investing in city in 'healing era'. I never had any doubt about Doc Shaheen's integrity. My friend, Howard Vasold, has known him for a long time and he confirmed my belief. It would appear the only people who do not believe his offer to purchase properties on the Tittabawassee River was purely to show his faith in the future of Saginaw County are... the people who are trying to say their property along the Tittabawassee River is worthless!

Yup it's me - healthy as an ox, honest as ol' Abe, and a member of the majority along the Tittabawassee River floodplain who want you to know the Lonetree Council and their litigious little friends do not represent us!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

We Wait for Judge Borrello's Decision...

.. to be announced at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 11 according to Jeremiah at The Saginaw News - Lawyers argue over dioxin lawsuit boundaries Please read also Kathie's version - Suit against Dow could include 2,000 floodplain homeowners in the Midland Daily News.

Looks to me like legal arguments on both sides of the issue are missing the REAL point...
  • The original nine litigants do not represent the rest of us (the 2000+ more residents) along the Tittabawassee River floodplain!
  • The 101 or 147 (or whatever) litigants do not represent the rest of us along the Tittabawassee River floodplain.
  • The Lonetree Council, represented by Michelle Hurd-Riddick and Terry Miller does not represent the rest of us along the Tittabawassee River floodplain.
  • The rest of us along the Tittabawassee River floodplain are citizens who vote regularly and believe that is the way to choose those who represent us!
  • Our House of Representatives represents us and showed us their support when they approved House Bill 4617 (proposed Senate Bill 390) by a large majority vote of 77-29.
  • The class action may not be about 'facility' but it is about those of us who do not want our homes labeled 'facility.'
  • The same people who want to retain the 'facility' designation are the litigants who claim their property value is diminished by Dow Chemical.
  • The same people who want to retain the 'facility' designation are the litigants who spread their word that their property is worthless.

The rest of us 2000+ residents do not consider our property worthless and we continue to work and play in our yards with no regard for the fear-mongering efforts of the few (be they 9, 101 or 147).

Friday, September 16, 2005

Newspaper Articles on Dioxin Class Action Court Proceedings...

..Read both articles in today's newspapers and you'll pretty much have that part of the hearing yesterday that I left to the professionals! I think between the two of them it's pretty much all there. I still think Teresa Woody, however, needs to get a grip on reality.

Dioxin class decision nears as Kathie M says in her article published today. Thanks, MDN, for making the changes necessary so our friends can now read the online articles without having to sign in, whether we refer to such articles on websites or email them to our friends. It's a great improvement. Good job as usual, Kathie.

The Saginaw News version - Judge listens during 5-hour hearing - is worth reading as well. Good job, Jeremiah! I'm pleased to see all that BS Michelle kept whispering in your ear didn't get in the way of your reporting.

Class Action Insight...

..came to me this morning when I woke up. I recalled something Judge Borrello said yesterday. He informed us that if we live in Michigan, residents have to opt-in to be included in a class action suit, but federal class action requires the class individuals to opt out. Then he mentioned the CSX derailment as a case in Michigan where we had to opt out. Duh! ...something about interstate commerce no doubt? My motivation for being so much against a big ol' class action suit involving all of us living along the Tittabawassee River floodplain had to do with that opting out thing.

Other comments about yesterday:
  • Mrs. Damore extended her sympathy to me for the recent loss of my husband and I'm sure she meant it. Later a few others also did so. To the young man who I verbally 'struck back' at for an incident in Midland, I'm sorry. The incident took place at the Dow Library after a meeting sponsored by MDEQ. I think the fellow who caused it was of your 'body type' but older and fatter.
  • I hope the attorneys representing Dow know that there actually IS a Tittabawassee River floodplain and it is more 'real' than that big expanse defined by FEMA. Some of the FEMA designated properties have never been flooded; my backyard floods at least once a year.
  • The Dow attorney referred to the original 8 plaintiffs and an additional 101 plaintiffs - all recruited by at least three individuals over a period of time. Just an FYI - we obtained 147 signatures in a contiguous area along the Tittabawassee River in a matter of a couple of days going door-to-door! If we had extended the efforts done by the litigants we probably would have signatures of most of the other 2000 residents!

I remain yours truly, healthy and vocal after raising a family, living, gardening, and mowing the lawn along the Tittabawassee River floodplain since 1960.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Judge Borrello Hears Arguments Concerning Dioxin Class Action Suit.

...but it's not over yet. The hearing will continue tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Here's what I saw today...
  • The new tort lawyer replacing the convicted child predator our local econutz originally hired is a real go-getter, only I'm not sure she knows what she's trying to go and get.
  • There was an overload of out-of-town lawyers on both sides of the issue. Who do YOU suppose is going to come out on top in this fiasco? The lawyers??? Ya think?
  • Our local media people were there - television, radio and newspapers. Michelle Heard-Rhetoric sat in back in a chair, no less (not the benches), occasionally chattering to the newsfolks.
  • Oh yeah! Michelle Heard-Rhetoric - what the heck was she doing there? She is NEITHER litigant NOR resident of any floodplain defined during the process today.
  • At various times somewhere between 8 and a dozen litigants were present. They kept walking in and out of the courtroom during the session.
  • A few assorted other people stopped in briefly to see what was happening, including a couple of people from Dow's legal department.
  • A rather large older fellow, with balding grey hair held back in a teeny tiny pony tail (???) with a green rubberband was there. He told me he and his family members live with a variety of illnesses - all of which he blames on the dioxin in his yard. He sat behind me in the morning session but grabbed an up-closer seat in the afternoon. (That's how I noticed the ridiculous hair-do!) He had a lawyer with him - I'm guessing a local rooky. Turns out this was the other litigant that will potentially be included in the big class action suit.
  • Me. I was there because I am one of the approximately 2000 people the litigants want to drag along in their lawsuit. Besides, if I didn't attend, how would you know what's really happening there?

This thing should be concluded tomorrow... hopefully by noon. The attorneys decided not to call any witnesses. Shucks, that was part of the reason I was there. Anyway, I'll update you tomorrow. I just feel deep down in my heart that Judge Borrello is a man that can sort through all the BS (Big Stories) in a fair manner. That's why he's the judge, right?

A couple of days ago I read about the bully bureaucrats in MDEQ in this article titled: Soccer Club wetlands bill: $723,000. Just another example of the way MDEQ beats down ordinary residents with their appointed power. Read the reader opinions! One of them is from a relatively new resident who says Michigan's DEQ is like no other in their misuse of power!

and then I found this delightful little piece written by a college kid - "All the junk that's fit to debunk". God love her. With kids like this our future may be in good hands after all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mid-Week Updates along the Tittabawassee River floodplain...

I promised photos of the Festival Park progress... here is one of my favorites. I will upload more to the Yahoo photo album soon, I promise! By the way, how do you suppose one might fish from this beautiful edifice when the water is so low? Perhaps it's time to move forward to the problem of proper dam maintenance above the Tittabawassee River!

Photo from the Freeland Road bridge... click it for a better view!Yesterday I read the following letter to the editor, Saginaw News. The reader is right on the money. Thank you, sir, for defending the viewpoints of Neill Varner, one of my personal favorite heroes in this mostly political battle between an overly powerful Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and local residents in the Saginaw Valley!

Speaking of heroes, today the Saginaw News has an article with the headline: DEQ director demands apology; Goschka refuses. Good job Senator Goschka!!! Stick to your guns. WE believe YOU!!!

After all, the director of DEQ, Steve Chester, had the gall to look me square in the eye and tell me and my fellow residential stakeholders that he could not change the term 'facility' as it applies to our property. He told us the only way we could get it changed was through legislation and he said this at a meeting with Lt. Governor Cherry. Once we got our legislation going, thanks to Congressman John Moolenaar and his cohorts in the House of Representatives, Chester arbitrarily 'changed' the rule!!! Of course he called it an 'interpretation,' but it was a change nonetheless.

Now... who would you believe, a man elected by the people because of his down-to-earth honesty... or an appointed bureaucrat who can look you in the eye and tell you one thing while he does another and seems determined to trod upon the property rights of residents throughout the State of Michigan?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Class Action Econutz Will Have Their Day in Court...

Thursday, September 15 at 9:00 a.m. The Midland Daily News does a rehash of this case today. Read it on line here: Dow dioxin suit headed to court.

This is a very important matter for every resident stakeholder along the Tittabawassee River floodplain. The Henrys and their vast array of out-of-state lawyers are claiming they represent all of us! They are trying to put us in the same box they choose to be in... even if we do NOT choose to be in it with them. They are, in effect, saying we are just like them (God forbid) and we should ALL be suing Dow because our homes are 'worthless.' Funny thing, they seem to be the only people who think their homes are worthless.

They want Judge Borrello to call their personal lawsuit a 'class-action' so they can include all of us. This way the lawyers can make a whole lot more money - if they win the case. If they lose the case however, if I'm right on this, we can all join in on paying the big legal fees they've been accruing since whenever they started this thing way back in 2003!

Jeepers! That sounds a lot like what the DEQ did when THEY put us all in a box and said our residential properties are 'facilities.' What is the common thread running through all this? Yup, you got it! We ain't free, folks! This country is NOT our United States of America where we are innocent until proven guilty. Beside that, we all get to be put together as a group with a bunch of ne'er-do-wells with whom we do not even care to associate... the group wearing the black & white skull & crossbones! If Judge Borrello decides to make this a class-action, we will have to let him know, each individually, that we do not want to be a part of that ragtag group!

I remain yours truly, sitting fat, sassy & as healthy as an ox, right smack dab in the middle of the Tittabawassee River floodplain... dubbed 'priority one' by the all-powerful MDEQ... and of course therefore a 'facility' - of The Dow Chemical Company, no less!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Resident Stakeholders Meet MDCH Comment Deadline on flawed dioxin 'study' in Saginaw Valley

You read it here first.

Enough said, eh? Now on a totally unrelated matter, I was pleased to read Michigan House GOP wants to ban Canadian trash with new power from feds published in the South Bend Tribune. What's that all about? - Local newspapers don't like the logical approach to such matters? Along with being healthy and vocal in the Tittabawassee River floodplain, I am an adamant recycler and strongly oppose the use of Michigan land for imported garbage!!!

Midland Matters Response to MDCH study...

...from Bill

Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005 23:54:13 -0400
To: Linda D Dykema
From: Bill
Subject: Commentary on MDCH PEI Dioxin Exposure

Please include this email with the comments compiled on the subject report.

TO: Dr. Linda Dykema, Toxicology and Response Section, at 1-800-648-6942.
FROM: Bill Egerer, Midland Matters
DATE: Sept.11, 2005
RE: Comments on MDCH “Pilot Exposure Investigation Report dated July 8th, 2005

The PEI report and process producing it documents and verifies serious failings in MDCH’s regulatory and communication responsibilities for Michigan residents. The entire PEI process; from its inception, design, conduct, communications and final reporting, verify that resident groups concerns with MDCH’s lack of sound science is no longer anecdotal, but a systemic issue within this agency’s entire operation. Immediate and extensive oversight of this agency’s conduct is needed to protect the public from their continued “witch hunt” approach to handling public health and public policy matters. Left unchecked, this agency appears driven to conduct actions of ungrounded fear mongering, divorce itself from cooperating with local health officials and mostly significantly, a blatant disregard and refusal to rely on peer reviewed scientific method (sound science) in their conduct.

The MDCH Mission, Vision and Goals document its purpose and focus on resident needs, specifically ….“effective strategies that are culturally responsive and competent, customer-driven, and community-based, which leads to quality health outcomes.

The conduct of MDCH on this entire PEI process was not scientifically competent; was not customer-driven and certainly was not community-based. Without the trust of the very people MDCH is suppose to serve, the question of “capacity to carry out their charter” must be asked.

From beginning to end, MDCH violates the very protocols of the study it created.
In just one example: Individual results cannot be SIMPLY READ. They must consider a long list of other factors to be of any meaning.
TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE STUDY COMMENTS: Conclusions regarding the source of an elevated blood level can only be determined after careful analysis of a number of factors; e.g. age, body weight, recent weight loss, occupation, lifestyle, lipid levels, smoking and diet, particularly consumption of local fish. Only after these considerations along with a careful analysis of possible exposure pathways can conclusions regarding possible exposure sources be reliably made. This level of evaluation is beyond the scope of this study from both a design and statistical analysis perspective.

Both in the study responses to comments and in real life, MDCH is vague to "missing in action" on this topic. MDCH says tested residents should take their results to their own physicians and did NOT incorporate any venue for having the results explained to them by experts. This is formula begging for misunderstandings. How can personal tests be conducted on a human involved with such a volatile subject matter as a "toxin" and MDCH just “throws out” the information without adequate support?!?

The MDCH arrogance reached an apex during the protocol commentary stage when it was asked to include the resumes and credentials of its researchers in the study documents. MDCH’s response: NO!

I’m a layperson, but could not locate a scientist who found the PEI “study” worthy of any merit in its flawed design, communications and ultimate reporting with deliberate exclusions of other pertinent information. If MDCH is satisfied, or even pleased with the competence of their own work, then they should subject it to the rigors of the scientific communities and allow them to evaluate its scientific worthiness and credibility.

From the perspective of resident groups formed to have a voice independent from the organized environmentalist groups, MDCH is responsive only to environmental activists and their sympathetic media. Anyone even modestly engaged in the Saginaw Valley dioxin issue knows it easily creates attention, varied opinions, emotions and volatile questions whenever a new development occurs. Seldom is there solid consensus on any development. And yet, MDCH proceeds with issuing individual results to study participants with little to no explanation of how to interpret the results. They manage to “stroke” the media into a frenzy of reporting false interpretations, fail to initially consult with local health officials and basically leaves the community situation to feaster without any expertise to intervene. Not until Dow’s Dr. Carson published a full page “Understanding Dioxin Concentrations in Blood” explanation in local newspapers was the disastrous communications situation put to rest.
During the past 18 months, I’ve grown accustom to expect these “environmental activists” type behaviors from MDCH. Its consistent with how they issue fish warnings without notice or involvement of local designated health officials. The PEI release of information appeared deliberate by MDCH in trying to cause fear in the communities and jump to public policy conclusions.

MDCH rigidly maintains a Lansing based operation and disregards trying to coordinate or involve the local health officials from Saginaw and Midland. These officials are not provided advance notice on health advisories and were not engaged prior to the MDCH release of individual’s scores on the PEI study. Its nearly impossible to believe this is some type of oversight, since MDCH seems to have no difficulty in reaching media sources that are sympathetic to cover and publish their messages of fear, concern and directives. Any legitimate regulatory agency that had sincere interest in the local regions people getting an advisory, would certainly work directly with that locals health professionals. MDCH has heard this resident complaint before and chooses to “go it alone” so they are not held accountable.
The original PEI design, protocol, communications and reporting should have had serious and active engagement of local community health professionals. The degree of any involvement was too little, too late and that was the MDCH plan. MDCH does not operate with a “Community Based” agenda.

As a lifetime Michigan resident, taxpayer and property owner in the Saginaw Valley area, I register my protest and objection to MDCH’s handling of the entire PEI process. My experiences with MDCH activities during the past 2 years shows they threaten my property ownership value, my livelihood and my quality of life. Many residents did not trust MDCH in early 2004 and this PEI report, issued July 2005, further erodes this lack of confidence.

I will request my elected officials become engaged to provide investigation, oversight and accountability for any further MDCH actions related to this report.


Bill Egerer, Founder
Midland Matters


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tittabawassee River Voice Response to MDCH mini-study...

..Len Heinzman is speaking out for us. Here is his letter to Michigan Dept. of Community Health concerning their 'study' of 20 residents in our neighborhood. Remember... this is the study of sites identified by MDEQ as contaminated with dioxin although 34% of those residences turned out to contain less than the State-dictated 90 parts per trillion of dioxin.

September 5, 2005
From: Leonard Heinzman

Dr. Dykema,

As a resident of the Tittabawassee River floodplain and co-founder of the resident group Tittabawasse River Voice I wanted to comment on the MDCH dioxin report. As a resident I am concerned with the viability and image of our area and the damages being done due to the dioxin issue. For some reason the very state organizations that should be looking at the big picture are unable to grasp the true feelings of our community and continue to pander to a very small minority. We do understand the effects that a by-product such as dioxin could have on an environment. We also are not so intellectually challenged that we cannot separate good science from bias reporting and unsound presumptions concerning this issue.

It is only a presumption on the part of the MDCH that human health may be affected by the levels of dioxin in our area. To even publish the results of your little information gathering exercise was a great injustice to the community that I live in. To be sure it was NOT a study. You can draw fact based conclusions from a study. Yours was a very amateurish exercise that pandered to a vocal few. Why a respected state organization would conduct themselves so unprofessionally is heartbreaking to those of us living in our community. At a very minimum your exercise should have been given up for peer review from a credible and scientific process.

There is still an enormous amount of information gathering and true upfront studies to be completed concerning this issue. No matter how many advisories are listed and warnings posted our community will still be here. We do not appreciate your organizations efforts thus far to disparage the area we live in. How is our community along with our state supposed to entice business and families to move into Michigan and the Saginaw Valley when organizations such as the MDCH are so burdened by shortsightedness?

To be sure the MDCH does a necessary job to protect the people and communities of our state. It is also incumbent upon it to use good judgment and make sound decisions when affecting the welfare of the persons it is protecting. Your judgments to date concerning the dioxin issue are not sound. Ours is a very healthy vibrant community that is only living with the footprint of the industrial base of the area. We are no different than any other community in the state that industry built and allowed to prosper.

At this time we feel that the MDCH should make a public statement that completely repudiates any conclusions drawn from your dioxin information gathering exercise. It was not scientific; it was not upfront and may well cause unintended damage to our community.

Thank You

Leonard Heinzman
Tittabawassee River Voice

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Health Department Says it's SAFE to eat some fish in Tittabawassee River...

Yes, you read it correctly! The information in my headline exists in the same article from the Detroit Free Press that is published under the following headline... State warns of high dioxin levels in some Tittabawassee River Fish I guess it's all about what you care to emphasize, eh?

I especially like the statement:
'The agency's Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimated that the average consumer in the region consumed one meal of Tittabawassee River fish per month, while frequent consumption was estimated to be five to seven meals per month.'
Where do they get THAT information? I know a fair amount of people and to my knowledge most of them get their fish in the supermarket! In reality, you don't see very many residents running down to the riverside to catch supper.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

more motivation for the previous blog entry...

..came from my good buddy Bill who pointed out yesterday's Saginaw News article - Zilwaukee dredge site opponents lining up backers - in which the environutz compared the flooding in Louisiana with the Saginaw River. Gotta share what he said... so true:
'The extremists have gone off the deep end (pun intended) with comparing the dredging project risks to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. So, they're saying that a pile of dioxin contaminated dredge materials is capable of killing thousands of people in a matter of days, yet a direct super mega dose of the pure stuff, pinpointed directly at one nation's president digesting it, results in some zits. What an insult to the bona-fide seriousness of the Katrina disaster and the tragedy of that area's residents needs.'
Thanks Bill, hope you don't mind me sharing these wise words! Love ya!

yesterday's news

Ohmigosh! I haven't blogged here since last Friday! How time flies when one is taking care of business. Don't give up on me; I am still here, only with a double schedule. Hopefully this will slow down a bit. I'm not morbid... I'm not depressed... and I'm certainly not deliriously happy, but getting along very well, thank you very much. Hope y'all bear with me while I get up to speed. Friends and family phone frequently... I guess wanting to be sure to be there for me when reality hits. For all who care, I find much comfort in one of the readings during the memorial service for Frank last week. I read it often, I think about it, I believe it, and I share it here with you... Togetherness.

I've been reading when I can, just not writing as often. One of the things I read in the Midland Daily News a couple of days ago - Our view: Get on with forming a dioxin committee. Amen! I agree 150%!!! Not sure what sort of accomplishments are expected of such a committee, not really sure of the necessity, but apparently MDEQ wants it and if that's part of the remediation plan, I guess I'll have to say, let's do it!

The Saginaw News same day featured an article about the new Festival Park - Park design goes deep. It's a beautiful thing - the park, that is. The article by Jeremiah's pretty good too. Stop by and see the park - even though you can't get in without permission from the Township office! Frank & I were just photographing from the bridge with telephoto lenses. I'll share more photos here soon. We took loads of photos already! I just haven't had time to post them on the Yahoo photo album. I don't have pics with the new docks in place however... yet. Given a few quiet moments I might get more photos early next week.

Oh yeah... then there's that thing in the Saginaw News about the folks in Zilwaukee comparing our little dioxin controversy with the disaster in Louisiana. Duh! Get real, people! What's happening right now in New Orleans involves really serious toxins - animal waste, human waste, and all kinds of bacteria that really CAN kill you!
I must admit I might not want the stink from dredged out river silt in my back yard either, but really... the dioxin that would be dumped there would not be able to sneak out in the night and creep over to your house... really!

I remain strong, healthy and motivated in the Tittabawassee River floodplain. Oh yes, I just want to say, 'Hi Mom! I love you.' I know you're never going to be 'into' computers but Don (or Sue), you'll share this with her, won't you?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Today is a New Day...

My best friend - protector, motivator, provider, teacher, father of my children and so much more. He knew the science - corrected me if I was wrong and explained it to me always. We were inseparable for over 50 years. His physical body is no longer with me but his spirit and love surrounds me. He encouraged any and all of my endeavors. He wants me to keep moving... I will not let inertia slow me down. I will not disappoint him.

Eat the walleye. I'm not sure of all the facts in Kathie's latest article in the Midland Daily News... State agency says walleye are good to eat.. but apparently we can eat all the walleye we want, except for women of child-bearing age and kids under 15. The advisory still exists for this group because of the PCBs... NOT dioxin!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More on the Flawed MDCH Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jenée L. Velasquez, CEO
August 22, 2005 Midland Tomorrow, (989) 839-0340

State’s Exposure Report a Disservice;
Flawed Results Hurt Community

MIDLAND, Mich. –– The recent Public Health Consultation draft by the Michigan Department of Community Health is misleading and has the potential to do great harm to the entire Tittabawassee region with inaccurate information, Midland officials said today.

“The release of this so-called report was an absolute disservice to our community,” said Jenée L. Velasquez, CEO of Midland Tomorrow, a private, non-profit economic development corporation. “They are using inaccurate information to mislead the public with averages based on a sample of just 20 people.”

MDCH releases the “Pilot Exposure Investigation” in July. It was purportedly designed to provide information on dioxin levels for a limited number of residents of the Tittabawassee River flood plain. Twenty adults living on property within the flood plain allowed MDCH to take samples of their blood, soil from their yards, and dust from inside their homes.

“This report is misleading at best,” Velasquez said. “We applaud any effort to retrieve information, but it should be done in context and with the use of sound science. MDCH has failed to apply that standard, and as a result is characterizing an entire region based on findings that are far too narrow –– and, as it turns out, fall within established ranges anyway.”

According to the MDCH report, blood total dioxin equivalent (TEQ) levels in five of the 20 participants were higher than what might be expected in 90 percent of people of the same age with no known exposure to dioxins beyond background. But all 20 samples fell between the range of the highest and lowest dioxin levels for people with no known exposure beyond background. And the sample size is too small to draw conclusions about the rest of the population in the Tittabawassee River region, the report said.

“This report simply cannot be considered valid because of the limited number of participants, the use of averages and generally poor scientific technique,” Velasquez said. “The questionnaire was flawed, the sample biased, and no adjustment was made for body mass index.”
Other studies are being conducted and should be reviewed by the state before decisions are made that could ultimately affect an entire region, Velasquez added.

University of Michigan scientists are conducting a comprehensive study of human exposure to dioxins in the Midland-Saginaw area. The purpose of U of M’s scientific study is to determine whether dioxins in the environment are ending up in the bodies of residents of the Tittibawassee River basin, and whether these residents have higher levels of dioxins in their blood than persons living in other parts of Michigan.

The U of M study is expected to include samples from about 525 residents in Saginaw and Midland counties and 175 in Jackson and Calhoun counties.
“The state’s sensationalized focus on this region and its willingness to engage in less than sound science is jeopardizing the area’s vitality,” Velasquez said. “Our region is losing jobs, stigmatizing our region and this isn’t helping us attract investment or retain talent. The state must use sound science before arbitrarily making decisions that will have a negative impact on the entire area. A more thorough review is required before the state sounds an economic death knell for such large swaths of land.”
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