AND MICHIGAN STATE'S HEALTH WARNING TO GARDENERS . . .
“Avoid allowing children to play in soils. Wash hands and any other exposed body surfaces after any soil contact. Do not eat unwashed foods from your garden. Do not engage in any other activities that may introduce soil into the mouth. Keep soil moist to control dust. Remove footwear before entering the house. Store all used gardening clothing outdoors.”
Michigan state has issued warnings to avoid eating walleye from the dioxin-contaminated Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers downstream of Dow's headquarters
Dow poisons its own back yard: dioxin levels are more than a thousand times higher than state safety limit
Dow’s factories at its global headquarters in Midland, Michigan, have contaminated the entire region, including the Tittabawassee River floodplains, with stratospheric levels of dioxin. Testing by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality found dioxin levels as high as 100,000 parts per trillion TEQ - more than a thousand times the state residential cleanup standard of 90 ppt. In 2007 the highest level of dioxin contamination ever measured by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was found in the Saginaw River. The poisons come from decades of chemical manufacturing operations at Dow Chemical's plant in Midland, Michigan, the site of its corporate headquarters.
The Michigan Department of Community Health people to avoid contact with river sediments and consuming locally caught fish because of contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin. The department recommends children under 15 and pre-menopausal women eat no walleye larger than 18 inches and one meal per month from walleye under 18 inches. This could make finding a safe walleye difficult.
Ignoring the warnings, and as part of its efforts to play down the problem, Dow Chemical in 2009 sponsored a walleye fish-festival along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers. The entire stretch of river used for the walleye festival are known to be contaminated with dioxin from chemical manufacturing operations at Dow Chemical’s Midland plant. The fish are swimming from Saginaw Bay, up the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers, through a zone that some insist should be listed as a Superfund site.
“We don’t serve any walleye caught in the river,” said Steve Doyle, a spokesman for the organizers said,adding that the fish served during the Friday evening fish fry is “probably pollock.” The festival organizers say they plan to give the walleye they catch to a local food bank, a move critics have likened to "a perverse kind of charity", dumping contamination on the poor.
Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council said that company should not be allowed to sponsor a walleye festival as it suggests that the river and fish are safe. “I want to ask EPA: ‘Are you going to set back and let the polluter frame the issue around the safety of the fish?’ ”
Dow fights to delay and downgrade clean-up
Tittabawassee floodplain residents – numbering 179 – filed a suit seeking reparations from Dow for jeopardizing their health and devaluing their property. Although the medical monitoring portion of their claim was struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court, a Saginaw County Circuit Court Judge recently ruled that the suit can proceed with class action status, which could include as many as 2,000 property owners. Although Dow has put away $54 million for the cleanup, an analysis commissioned by the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center in 2004 said costs could exceed $300 million.
Dredging of a 'dioxin hot spot' on the Tittabawassee River along the Dow Chemical plant in Midland began in 2007. The sediment is sucked from the river and pumped about 9,000 feet to a dewatering site. This site stretches about 1,200 feet along the river. The project will remove about 15,000 cubic yards of material.