The Associated Press State & Local Wire  [Printer-friendly version]
August 15, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: A new study shows that people living near Dow
Chemical's headquarters in Midland, Michigan are contaminated with
dioxin, one of the two or three most potent poisons known to science.]

By John Flesher, AP Environmental Writer

Residents of some areas near the Dow Chemical Co. plant in Midland,
Mich., have higher levels of dioxins in their bodies than people
studied elsewhere, a University of Michigan study found [13 Mbytes
PDF]. [The study has its own web site.]

The report, released Tuesday, is "the first major study to show
exactly how much exposure to dioxin people have in this area and how
the dioxins get into their bodies," said David Garabrant, an
epidemiologist and specialist in occupational and emergency medicine,
who led the inquiry.

Dow funded the study, which focused on sections of Midland and Saginaw
counties near its plant. Dioxins, a group of toxins, were generated by
company processes over several decades. One of the chemicals is known
to cause cancer.

The study found that people in one of the areas studied, the
Tittabawassee River floodplain, had 28 percent higher median levels of
"dioxin-like chemicals" in their blood than members of a comparison
group in Jackson and Calhoun counties.

Those counties were chosen because they are near the Midland-Saginaw
area but more than 100 miles from the plant.

Older people tended to have higher dioxin levels, the study found.

It also linked the elevated levels with eating foods such as fish from
tainted waters and living where the soil is contaminated.