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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH CONSULTATION

Dioxin Contamination in the Tittabawassee River FloodplainSouth of Midland, Michigan

TITTABAWASSEE RIVER
MIDLAND, MIDLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN


SUMMARY

A Midland resident and two Michigan-based environmental organizations petitioned the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to conduct a public health assessment of dioxin contamination in Midland, Michigan, and adjacent communities. The present public health consultation addresses floodplain soil contamination in the Tittabawassee River watershed downstream from the city of Midland. The data necessary to determine if dioxin-contaminated floodplain soil in the Tittabawassee River watershed poses a public health risk are not available; therefore, the site poses an indeterminate public health hazard.

Dioxin was detected at concentrations exceeding the ATSDR action level at several locations in the floodplain near the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers. Additional soil sampling is necessary to determine if nearby residential properties are similarly contaminated with dioxin.

A soil sampling study conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) indicates that floodplain soil in Tittabawassee River watershed near and upstream of the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers is contaminated with dioxin. These data, along with dioxin levels detected in fish, indicate that dioxin contamination may be widespread throughout the Tittabawassee River watershed below Midland. Additional soil sampling is necessary to determine the extent and severity of dioxin contamination in these areas.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recommends that the MDEQ implement sampling plans to determine if dioxin contamination is present in the Tittabawassee River watershed between the city of Midland and the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers. MDCH specifically recommends soil sampling at residential properties in closest proximity to previously identified areas of concern. These plans should include contingencies for potential public health actions if dioxin is detected at concentrations greater than the ATSDR action level, and a comprehensive evaluation of site-specific exposure factors if dioxin is found at concentrations greater than the ATSDR screening level. The MDCH will request ATSDR collaboration and support for health education and an Exposure Assessment for affected communities if indicated by the results of soil studies.


PURPOSE AND STATEMENT OF HEALTH ISSUES

On May 1, 2001, a Midland resident and two Michigan-based environmental organizations petitioned the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to conduct a public health assessment of dioxin contamination in communities adjacent to Midland, Michigan, where contamination originating from the Midland area has been "transported...via air and water" (Attachment A). The petitioners stated that the "likely source of this contamination is the Dow Chemical Company" (Petitioners for the Dow Midland site 2001). The petitioners specifically noted that dioxin contamination found in fish in the Tittabawassee River below Midland has been and continues to be chronically high.

ATSDR and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) have a cooperative agreement for conducting assessments and consultations for potential health hazards at sites of environmental contamination within the state of Michigan. On July 30, 2001, MDCH staff and a representative from the ATSDR Region 5 office visited the Midland area, and toured both the Tittabawassee River floodplain and the Dow Chemical Company (Dow) plant site. The MDCH completed a "Petition Scoping Report" and provided the information obtained from these activities to ATSDR on August 31, 2001. A copy of the report is provided in Attachment B. MDCH met with the petitioners on October 3, 2001 to discuss the health assessment process and to provide an opportunity for exchange of additional information.

ATSDR responded in writing (Attachment C) to the petitioners on November 2, 2001, stating that, "After reviewing the public health issues and community concerns about potential dioxin contamination and the Dow Midland facility, ATSDR has found a reasonable basis to prepare public health consultations to address the concerns associated with the Dow facility"(ATSDR 2001). MDCH has agreed to prepare these public health consultations. ATSDR will review MDCH's work and provide technical support as needed.

The present consultation addresses concerns related to dioxin contamination found in soil samples taken from the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River below Midland. Additional consultations for Midland and affected adjacent communities that address other contaminated media may be developed in the future with the ultimate goal of providing a full multimedia, multipathway public health assessment.


BACKGROUND

The Dow Chemical Company, founded in 1897, operates a chemical manufacturing plant in the city of Midland, Michigan. The Dow plant encompasses approximately 1,900 acres on the southern perimeter of the city (Figure 1). The Tittabawassee River forms the southern boundary of the plant site and flows east to the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron.

Chemicals that have been produced at the Dow plant include: styrene, butadiene, picric acid, mustard gas, Saran Wrap, Styrofoam, Agent Orange, napalm, and various pesticides including Chlorpyrifos, Dursban and 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (2,4,5-T). Chlorophenol production began in 1915. Wastes generated from this process were initially disposed of in 600 acres of on-site waste ponds. During high flow periods in the early 1900s, wastes from these ponds would be intentionally released to the Tittabawassee River (Brandt 1997). Dow currently operates its own on-site wastewater treatment plant.

In 1986 the State of Michigan experienced a significant flood event that incapacitated the Dow wastewater treatment plant and flooded areas of the plant where soils were contaminated with dioxins. Run-off from 10 feet of floodwaters overwhelmed containment systems, overflowed dikes and entered the river (Wilkerson 1986). Untreated or partially treated chemical wastes entered the Tittabawassee River before plant operations were shut down (Schmidt 1986). Chemical odors associated with the Dow plant were noticed 7 miles downstream from the Dow plant site.


DISCUSSION

Dioxin Contamination in Floodplain Soil

In April 2000, soil samples were collected under the direction of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in an area near the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers (Figure 2) as part of a wetland mitigation project (MDEQ 2001a). This project was required by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to replace the shallow water habitat that would be lost through implementation of proposed fill and containment response activities at a site of environmental contamination located downstream on the Saginaw River in Bay City.

Soil samples were collected by the responsible party toensure that the selected Mitigation Site on the north side ofthe Tittabawassee River did not contain contaminantconcentrations that would pose an unacceptable risk toterrestrial and aquatic organisms that would be expected toinhabit the new wetland resource. A sampling grid wasestablished over the entire sample area and surface soil wascomposited from nine locations located from within eachgrid area. At the request of the MDEQ, two of thecomposite samples were randomly selected for dioxinanalysis and concentrations of 1,474 and 2,199 parts pertrillion (ppt) total dioxin toxicity equivalents (see box) weredetected (Table 1).



Table 1.Total Dioxin Toxic Equivalent (TEQ) Concentrations Detected in Soil Samples Collected from the Mitigation Site

Soil Samples LocationDate SampledRange of TEQ Detected (ppt)DEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion (ppt)ATSDR Screening Level (ppt)ATSDR Action Level (ppt)
Mitigation SiteComposite SamplesApril 20001,474 - 2,19990501,000
Mitigation Site DiscreteSamplesDec. 2000338 - 7,26190501,000

DeRosaetal.1997a ;MDEQ2000,2001a.

No immediate local source could be identified to explain the presence of the high concentrations of dioxin at the Mitigation Site. The only known upstream source of significant concentrations of dioxin is the Dow plant in the city of Midland, approximately 20 miles upstream of the Mitigation Site.

To further define the extent and level of dioxin contamination, the MDEQ developed a Phase I soil sampling program to achieve the following:

  • Confirm the Mitigation Site sampling results.
  • Identify whether other areas of the Tittabawassee River floodplain in the vicinity of the Mitigation Site contain dioxin above the MDEQ residential soil criterion of 90 ppt for dioxin.
  • Generate sufficient information to make determinations regarding the necessity of implementing a Phase II soil investigation within the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

In December 2000, MDEQ staff collected and analyzed five discrete surface soil samples from the Mitigation Site. Concentrations of dioxin ranged from 338 to 7,261 ppt total dioxin TEQs (Table 1). These data confirmed the previous composite sample results and also indicated that dioxin contamination was present throughout Mitigation Site soils at concentrations exceeding the MDEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion.

Based on the sampling results for the Mitigation Site, three upstream locations were selected to assess whether other areas of the Tittabawassee River floodplain in the near vicinity contained dioxin (Figure 2).

  1. A site of environmental contamination, located 1 mile upstream along the north bank of the river.
  2. A forested area within the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), located 1½ miles upstream along the south bank of the river.
  3. An open, upland area within the SNWR, located slightly less than 1½ miles upstream along the south bank of the river.

Four discrete surface soil samples were collected near the site of environmental contamination upstream of the Mitigation Site, two were collected upstream of the site from an adjacent farm field and two downstream from an adjacent golf course. All sample results identified total dioxin TEQ concentrations above the MDEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion of 90 ppt (Table 2).

Table 2. Total Dioxin TEQ Concentrations Detected in Soil Samples Collected in the Tittabawassee River Floodplain Upstream from the Mitigation Site.

SoilSamplesLocationDateSampledRangeofTEQDetected(ppt) DEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion (ppt) ATSDR Screening Level (ppt) ATSDR Action Level (ppt)
Farm fieldMay 2001180 - 42490501,000
Golf courseMay 20012,529 - 2,58890501,000
SNWR Forested Area May 2001  90501,000
< 6 inches  35 - 13490501,000
< 12 inches  57 - 1,05590501,000
SNWR Upland AreaJune 2001  90501,000
0-3 inches  386 - 76590501,000
3-6 inches  424 - 66390501,000
12-15 inches  58 - 27590501,000

DeRosaetal.1997a ;MDEQ2000,2001a.

Five locations were sampled at two depths from within the forested area of the SNWR. Sample depths varied somewhat from one location to another due to root mass, leaf litter, and other location-specific factors. Five of the 10 samples contained total dioxin TEQ concentrations above the MDEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion (Table 2).

Five locations were sampled at three depths from within the SNWR Upland Area. Samples were collected from the 0-3 inch, 3-6 inch, and 12-15 inch soil strata. The five sampling locations were selected from the higher ground elevations found within the open upland area. Thirteen of the 15 samples contained total dioxin TEQ concentrations above the MDEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion (Table 2).

Based upon the soil sampling results described above, the MDEQ proposed a Phase II sampling plan in October 2001 (MDEQ 2001b). Phase II soil samples would be collected from three locations within the 12-mile stretch of the Tittabawassee River located between the city of Freeland and Center Road in Saginaw Township (Figure 3). The selected sampling locations are Freeland Festival Park, Imerman Park, and West Michigan Park. The Freeland Festival Park is located approximately 7 miles downstream of the city of Midland and is operated by the community of Tittabawassee Township. Imerman Park is located 4½ miles downstream of the Freeland Festival Park. Imerman Park is a large, heavily utilized park that is operated by Saginaw County. West Michigan Park is operated by the community of Saginaw Township and is located just over 6 miles downstream of Imerman Park and approximately 4 miles upstream of the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers. The objectives of the Phase II sampling program are to:

  • Identify whether dioxin has come to be located throughout the Tittabawassee River floodplain in Saginaw County.
  • Identify whether dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River floodplain soil located within Saginaw County is consistently above the MDEQ Residential Cleanup Criterion.
  • Identify if dioxin contamination found in floodplain soil varies between upstream and downstream locations.
  • Observe dioxin distribution with respect to soil depth.
  • Begin to make determinations regarding the source or sources for the observed dioxin concentrations.
  • Make determinations regarding the need to implement a Phase III investigation and assessment program for residential properties within the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

The Phase II sampling plan has not been implemented to date. No additional information concerning dioxin concentrations in the Tittabawassee River floodplain is available at this time.

Michigan Fish Advisories

The Tittabawassee River flows southeast from Midland to the confluence of the Saginaw and Shiawassee Rivers near the Mitigation Site. From there, the Saginaw River flows northeast to the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. The MDCH has issued fish advisories for the Tittabawassee River below Midland based on detected levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The advisories recommend no consumption of carp, channel catfish, or white bass, and limited consumption of smallmouth bass and all other species (one meal per week for the general population and one meal per month for children and women of childbearing age). Similar advisories have been issued for the Saginaw River. Advisories for the Saginaw Bay recommend no consumption of carp and channel catfish based on detected dioxin levels. The advisory for Lake Huron, based on detected dioxin levels, recommends that women of childbearing age and children limit consumption of rainbow and steelhead trout to one meal per month, smaller whitefish (less than 18 inches in length) to one meal per week, and recommends no consumption of larger whitefish (MDCH 2001).

Human Exposure Pathways

To determine whether people are or could be exposed to contaminants associated with a property, ATSDR and MDCH evaluate the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. An exposure pathway contains five major elements: 1) a source of contamination, 2) contaminant transport through an environmental medium, 3) a point of exposure, 4) a route of human exposure, and 5) a receptor population. An exposure pathway is considered a complete pathway if there is evidence that all five of these elements are, have been, or will be present at the property.

Table 3. Exposure Pathway for Dioxin-Contaminated Soil in the Tittabawassee River Floodplain

SourceEnvironmentalTransport andMediaChemicalsof ConcernExposurePointExposure RouteExposedPopulationTimeFrameStatus
The DowChemicalCompany,MidlandDeposition of riversediments in theTittabawasseeRiver FloodplainChlorinatedDioxins andFuransSoil inresidentialyards, farmfields, andpublicaccess sites Incidental ingestion,
Dermal contact, Inhalation
Residents in the Tittabawassee Floodplain, farmers, recreational visitorsPastComplete
CurrentComplete
FutureComplete

The MDEQ Phase I sampling program has conclusively shown that elevated levels of total dioxin TEQ concentrations are present in the Tittabawassee River floodplain near the confluence with the Saginaw River. Human use of the floodplain increases upstream of the Phase I sampling area. Numerous residential properties are located within the floodplain, the majority located in the city of Shields and in Saginaw Township, but also scattered along the stretch of the river. Some agricultural operations are also located within the floodplain and as are several public parks.

The likely source of these contaminants is chemical manufacturing activities at the Dow plant site in Midland. The likely mechanism of transport is deposition of contaminated river sediments in the Tittabawassee River floodplain. People living within the floodplain, farmers, and recreation users of the Tittabawassee River could be exposed to dioxins and furans in floodplain soil through incidental ingestion, direct dermal contact, and inhalation of soil and dust. Chlorinated dioxins and furans are very persistent in soil, therefore, exposure is likely to have occurred in the past and will continue in the absence of any remedial action.

Demographics

Human use of the Tittabawassee River floodplain increases upstream of the Phase I sample area. Numerous residential properties are located within the floodplain, the majority being within the communities of Shields and Saginaw Township. Of particular concern are approximately 12 homes located adjacent to the river less than half a mile upstream from the Mitigation Site where total dioxin TEQs were detected at concentrations up to 7,261 ppt. Agricultural operations also occur within the floodplain as well as a variety of public recreational facilities including parks, boat launches and public access sites.

Toxicological Evaluation

Health Effects
Dioxins are a group of 210 chlorinated chemicals with similar structures and chemical properties. This group of chemicals, which includes chlorinated dioxins, furans, and some polychlorinated biphenyls, is often referred to collectively as simply "dioxins" or "dioxin-like compounds." When found in the environment, dioxins are usually a mixture of several of these chemicals. Dioxins are not intentionally produced and have no known use. Not all dioxins have the same toxicity or ability to cause illness and adverse health effects. However, it is assumed that dioxins and dioxin-like compounds cause adverse health effects through a similar biological mechanism of action. Further, the available science indicates that the health effects resulting from exposure to multiple dioxin-like compounds are additive, meaning that the health effects are greater than would be expected for a single compound.

The most toxic chemical in the group is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD). Toxic equivalency factors (TEF) have been developed to compare the relative toxicity of other dioxins and dioxin-like compounds to that of 2,3,7,8-TCDD. The levels of other dioxin-like compounds measured in the environment are multiplied by a TEF to produce a 2,3,7,8-TCDD toxic equivalent or TEQ concentration. The resulting TEQs for all dioxin-like compounds measured in a sample are then added together to determine the total dioxin TEQ concentration for that sample.

People who have been exposed to high levels of dioxins have developed chloracne, a skin disease with severe acne-like pimples. Chloracne can persist for years, sometimes clearing only to recur several years later. Changes in blood and urine that may indicate liver damage have also been seen in some people. Exposure to high concentrations of dioxins may cause long-term alterations in glucose (blood sugar) metabolism and slight changes in hormone levels (ATSDR 1998).

Exposure to low levels of dioxins in study animals has resulted in a wide variety of adverse health effects, such as cancer, liver damage, and disruption of the endocrine system. In many species of animals, dioxins weaken the immune system and cause a decrease in the system's ability to fight infection. In other animal studies, exposure to dioxins has caused reproductive damage and birth defects. Some animal species, including monkeys, exposed to dioxins during pregnancy had miscarriages. The offspring of animals exposed to dioxins during pregnancy often had birth defects including skeletal deformities, kidney defects, weakened immune responses, and neurodevelopmental effects (ATSDR 1998).

It is not known whether people exposed to low levels of dioxins will experience the same health effects seen in animal studies. However, based on the available information, dioxins are believed to have the potential to cause a wide range of adverse effects in humans, including cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (EPA 2000) has characterized the mixture of dioxins to which people are commonly exposed as "likely human carcinogens." The EPA has also characterized 2,3,7,8-TCDD as a "human carcinogen" (EPA 2000). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program 9th Report on Carcinogens (NTP 2001) lists 2,3,7,8-TCDD as a substance "known to be a human carcinogen."

ATSDR Interim Guidance
Because of the potential for adverse health effects in human populations exposed to environmental levels of dioxins, the ATSDR has developed interim policy guidelines to assist health assessors in identifying soil concentrations of potential concern (Attachments D and E). The guidelines recommend the tiered approach shown in the table below to evaluate dioxin concentrations in soil.

Table 4. ATSDR's Decision Framework for Sites Contaminated with Dioxin and Dioxin-Like Compounds.

Screening Level

< 50 ppt TEQs

Evaluation Level

> 50 ppt but < 1,000 ppt TEQs

Action Level

> 1,000 ppt TEQs

Health effects are unlikely andfurther evaluation is notnecessary, unless there arecommunity health concerns. Evaluation of site-specific factors, such as
  • Bioavailability
  • Ingestion rates
  • Pathway analysis
  • Soil cover
  • Climate
  • Other contaminants
  • Community concerns
  • Demographics
  • Background exposure
Potential public health actions considered, such as
  • Surveillance
  • Research
  • Health studies
  • Community education
  • Exposure investigations

(DeRosaetal.1997a)

The screening level of 50 ppt total dioxin TEQ is the environmental media evaluation guide (EMEG) for 2,3,7,8-TCDD. The EMEG was developed from the ATSDR minimum risk level (MRL) based on neurodevelopmental effects observed in the offspring of female rhesus monkeys exposed during pregnancy (ATSDR 1998). EMEGs are very conservative and protective values. Generally, if soil concentrations do not exceed the EMEG, ATSDR assumes that exposure is not likely to result in adverse health effects. However, if soil concentrations exceed the EMEG, this does not mean that adverse human health effects will always occur. Instead, soil concentrations greater than 50 ppt total dioxin TEQ indicate further site-specific evaluation is necessary (De Rosa et al. 1997a).

The action level of 1,000 ppt TEQ is a concentration of dioxin in soil at which various actions may be considered to prevent or limit exposure. The action level is based on the 1984 analysis by Kimbrough et al. of the carcinogenic potential of 2,3,7,8-TCDD. ATSDR recommends that the action level for soil be used in full consideration of site-specific factors that may affect total exposure to dioxins through all media and exposure pathways (De Rosa et al. 1997b).

ATSDR recommends that the action level be compared to the "maximum concentrations identified at the site" (De Rosa et al. 1997b). Total dioxin TEQ concentrations greater than 1,000 ppt have been detected at several locations in the Tittabawassee River floodplain including: the Mitigation Site (up to 7,261 ppt), an upstream golf course (up to 2,588 ppt), and the forested area of the SNWR (up to 1,055 ppt).

Soil concentrations of dioxin TEQs that fall between the screening level and the action level warrant further site-specific study (De Rosa et al. 1997b). Many factors, such as those shown in the table above, can affect how much dioxin people are exposed to, how much is absorbed into the body, and whether or not adverse health effects will result. All of the soil samples collected from the Mitigation Site, the upstream golf course and farm field, the upland area of the SNWR, and some of the samples from the SNWR forested area fall within 50 and 1,000 ppt.

Background Exposure to Dioxins
An important consideration when evaluating dioxin levels in soil is the level of exposure from all sources of dioxin, or the "background exposure." People can be exposed to dioxins from many sources other than contaminated soil. The general population is mainly exposed to dioxins through their diet by eating plants and animals that contain dioxins. People that live near or work at hazardous waste sites containing dioxins, waste incinerators, or manufacturing facilities that produce dioxins as a by-product may have additional dioxin exposures beyond their diet. When people are exposed to and absorb dioxins, they are stored in fatty body tissues where they may persist for months or years. The half-life (the time needed for the body to rid itself of half the contaminants absorbed) for dioxins in humans is 5 to 14 years. Because they remain for a long time, dioxins accumulate in the body and can cause health effects long after exposures have ended. The amount of dioxins accumulated over time is referred to as the "body burden." The best available science suggests that body burden levels of dioxins are closely associated with the likelihood of health effects. Therefore, many scientists recommend comparing dioxin body burden levels in at-risk populations to those associated with health effects observed in animal and human studies (EPA 2000, De Rosa et al. 1997b).

Because people may be exposed to dioxins from a variety of sources, and because all these exposures contribute to the body burden of dioxin accumulated over time, ATSDR recommends evaluation of the contribution of soil exposures to total exposures from all sources (De Rosa et al. 1997b). Evaluation of soil exposures would require sufficient knowledge of dioxin concentrations in soil, bioavailability of dioxin in site soils, and human behaviors that can affect exposures. Additionally, evaluation of all other sources of dioxin exposure would be required to evaluate the incremental contribution of soil exposures to the total body burden of dioxins in the at-risk population. This information is not currently available for residents, farmers, and recreational users of the Tittabawassee River floodplain area.

ATSDR Child Health Initiative

Children may be at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposure to hazardous substances at sites of environmental contamination. They engage in activities such as playing outdoors and hand-to-mouth behaviors that increase their exposure to hazardous substances. They are shorter than adults, which means they breathe dust, soil, and vapors close to the ground. Their lower body weight and higher intake rate result in a greater dose of hazardous substance per unit of body weight. The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures are high enough during critical growth stages. Prenatal exposures and those that occur in the first few years of life are more likely to cause permanent damage.

Fetuses, infants, and children may be especially sensitive to dioxin exposure because of their rapid growth and development. In animal studies, exposure to dioxin has caused reproductive damage and birth defects. Some animal species exposed to dioxins during pregnancy had miscarriages. The offspring of animals exposed to dioxins during pregnancy often had birth defects including skeletal deformities, kidney defects, weakened immune responses, and neurodevelopmental effects (ATSDR 1998).


CONCLUSIONS

The data necessary to determine if floodplain soil throughout the Tittabawassee River floodplain poses a public health risk are not available, therefore the site poses an indeterminate public health hazard. ATSDR classifies sites of environmental contamination into the indeterminate category when the data to make a final decision are lacking.

The levels of total dioxin TEQs detected at concentrations exceeding the ATSDR action level at the Mitigation Site (7,261 ppt), the golf course (2,588 ppt), and some areas of the SNWR (1,055 ppt) would pose an urgent public health hazard if people were routinely exposed to soil at these locations. The level of exposure on these properties is currently not known. In addition, soil sampling is necessary to determine if nearby residential properties are contaminated with dioxin.

The results of the MDEQ Phase I sampling study indicate that floodplain soil samples collected from the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers at the Mitigation Site, the upstream golf course and farm field, and the forested and upland areas of the SNWR are contaminated with dioxin. These data, along with dioxin levels detected in fish, indicate that dioxin contamination may be widespread throughout the Tittabawassee River watershed below Midland. Additional soil sampling is necessary to determine the extent and severity of dioxin contamination.


RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Implement the MDEQ Phase II soil-sampling plan to determine if dioxin contamination is present in floodplain soil in the Tittabawassee River watershed between the Phase I sampling locations and the city of Midland.


  • Design and implement a soil-sampling plan for the residential properties adjacent to the Tittabawassee River and in closest proximity to the Mitigation Site and other identified areas of concern. The plan should include contingencies for potential public health actions if total dioxin TEGs are detected at these properties at concentrations greater than the ATSDR action level, consistent with evaluation of site-specific exposure factors.

  • Allow the sampling plans for the residential areas to be reviewed and commented upon by MDCH, ATSDR, and U.S. EPA prior to finalization and implementation. Feedback from MDCH and ATSDR will be provided to assess whether the sampling plan will be adequate to collect the information necessary to better characterize the public health implications.

  • Design a comprehensive evaluation of site-specific exposure factors for residents of the properties in closest proximity to the Mitigation Site and any other areas of concern identified in the Phase I and II studies including biological sample analysis if feasible. Implement the exposure evaluation if total dioxin TEQs are detected at these properties at concentrations greater than the ATSDR screening level.

  • Design and implement a sampling plan to address residential properties throughout the Tittabawassee River watershed contingent upon the results of the Phase II soil sampling study.

Public Health Action Plan

  • The MDEQ should implement the Phase II sampling plan for the Tittabawassee River watershed, and design and implement a sampling plan for at-risk residential properties, including contingencies for potential public health actions if necessary, consistent with evaluation of site-specific exposure factors.

  • The MDEQ should implement additional soil studies as indicated by the results of Phase II sampling.

  • The MDCH will request ATSDR collaboration and support for health education and an exposure assessment for the affected communities if soil studies indicate an evaluation of site-specific exposure factors is necessary to determine the level of public health hazard posed by dioxin contamination in the watersheds.

  • The MDCH in cooperation with the appropriate local health departments will undertake health education activities to define and respond to the information needs of the affected communities.

  • The MDCH in cooperation with the appropriate local health departments will be available to consult on the appropriateness and efficacy of future remedial actions.

Contact Information

If any citizen has additional information or health concerns regarding the Tittabawassee River Floodplain consultation or the Dow Chemical Company Midland petitioned health assessment, please contact the Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, at 1-800-648-6942.


REFERENCES

ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 1998. Toxicological Profile for Chlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins. December 1998.

ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 2001. Letter to Petitioners for Dow Midland site dated November 2, 2001.

Brandt, E. N., 1997. Growth Company: Dow Chemical's First Century, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI.

De Rosa, Christopher T. et al. 1997a. Dioxin and Dioxin-Like Compounds in Soil, Part 1: ATSDR Interim Policy Guideline. Toxicology and Industrial Health, Vol. 13, No. 6, 1997. pages 759-768.

De Rosa, Christopher T. et al. 1997b. Dioxin and Dioxin-Like Compounds in Soil, Part 2: Technical Support Document for ATSDR Interim Policy Guideline. Toxicology and Industrial Health, Vol. 13, No. 6, 1997. pages 769-804.

EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). 2000. Draft Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds. September 2000.

MDCH (Michigan Department of Community Health). 2001. Michigan 2001 Fish Advisory.

MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality). 2000. Part 201 Generic Cleanup Criteria Tables. June 7, 2000.

MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), Environmental Response Division. 2001a. Unpublished: Greenpoint - Tittabawassee River Dioxin Study Area, Phase I Sampling Study Report. October 2001.

MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), Environmental Response Division. 2001b. Unpublished: Greenpoint - Tittabawassee River Dioxin Study Area Phase II Sampling Program. October 2001.

NTP (National Toxicology Program). 2001. 9th Report on Carcinogens. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. January 2001.

Petitioners for Dow Midland site. 2001. Petition letter to ATSDR. May 1, 2001.

Schmidt, Wayne. Pollution rising to dangerous levels, experts say. Bay City Times. September 13, 1986.

U. S. Census Bureau (United States Census Bureau). 1990. Census of Population and Housing.

Wilkerson, Isabel. 1986. Tainting of Fish Feared After Michigan Floods. The New York Times. September 23, 1986.


FIGURES

Location Map
Figure 1. Location Map

Phase I Sampling Locations
Figure 2. Phase I Sampling Locations

Phase II Sampling Locations
Figure 3. Phase II Sampling Locations


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Michigan Department of Community Health

Linda D. Larsen, Ph.D.
Toxicologist, Principal Investigator

Robin Freer, M.S.
Geographic Information System Specialist


ATSDR Regional Representative

Mark Johnson
Office of Regional Operations, Region V


ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Alan W. Yarbrough
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch


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