Dioxin from Dow’s contamination of mid-Michigan is getting into people, according to the results of a large study released yesterday. The $15 million dollar Dow-funded study found that consumption of fish and wildgame and living in contaminated areas resulted in increased levels of dioxin and related toxic chemicals in blood.
“From worms to butterflies and from fish to deer, the entire watershed is contaminated. Today’s results confirm that Dowâs pollution is getting into people too,” said Tracey Easthope, MPH, of the Ecology Center.
Dioxin can cause cancer and disrupt the reproductive, immune and hormone systems. Developing children are most at risk. Residents living in the Tittabawassee River floodplain near Dow had median levels of dioxin in their blood 28 percent higher than a comparison group in Jackson and Calhoun counties.
“It is unacceptable to wait any longer to clean up this contaminated area. Each year of delay in cleanup means more children growing up in contaminated backyards, exposed to dioxin,” said Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council.
Another disturbing finding of the report shows that people who eat fish caught locally had dioxin levels that increased by 1 to 2 percent per year that they had been eating the fish.
“It’s time for Dow to take responsibility for this contamination and stop exposing the good people of these communities unnecessarily,” said Tess Karwoski, RN of the Michigan Environmental Council.