Public Meeting on Dioxin Scheduled for Saginaw May 13

April 30, 2002


The Michigan Department of Community Health today announced a public availability session will be held May 13, 2002, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Swan Valley High School, 8400 O'Hearn Road, Saginaw, to accept public comment on the federal draft public health consultation on the Tittabawassee River.  The draft health consultation addresses issues surrounding dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River Floodplain South of Midland.


The Department released the draft public health consultation March 7 and has encouraged citizens to offer public comments on the consultation, which was conducted under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).  The draft consultation found that dioxins have been detected in soil samples from certain sites in the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River south of Midland. 


The Department of Community Health recommends that soil-sampling plans be developed and implemented for targeted areas within the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River south of Midland.  Plans should include potential public health actions that could be taken if dioxin concentrations are found to present a public health hazard.  The Department recommends a complete exposure evaluation for the residents in the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River.


Dioxins have been detected in soil samples from several locations in the Tittabawassee River floodplain near the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers.  Dioxin concentrations in samples taken from this area exceed the public health action level set by the ATSDR.  The action level is a concentration of dioxin in soil at which various actions may be considered to prevent or limit human exposure.  It is not known at this time if near-by residential properties are also contaminated with dioxin.  Additional sampling is necessary to determine if dioxin contamination in floodplain soil presents a public health hazard.


The consultation is available at the Saginaw County Health Department, 1600 N. Michigan Avenue, Saginaw; the Tittabawassee Township Office, 145 South 2nd, Freeland; the Saginaw Bay-District office of the Department of Environmental Quality, 503 N. Euclid Avenue, Suite 9, Bay City; and Hoyt Public Library, 505 Janes Street, Saginaw for public review.


Public comments should be addressed Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, 3423 North Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., P.O. Box 30195, Lansing, Michigan 48909.  People may also call toll-free, 800-648-6942 (800-MI-TOXIC).  Comments must be received by May 15, 2002.  All comments will be evaluated and considered and responses will be provided in the final version of the consultation.