The Sam Bernstein Law Firm Warns About Dioxins: The Silent Toxin

Tittabawassee River in Michigan source of ongoing dioxin contamination.

Online PR News – 08-July-2010 – – Farmington Hills, Michigan - Playing in your backyard, making mud pies or dirt castles are an innocent playtime activity that any child should be able to enjoy. However, the children who live in the proximity of the Tittabawassee River in the city of Saginaw or Midland, Michigan, may be at risk of contaminating themselves or their families with highly toxic compounds, called dioxins, just by playing in the dirt around their homes.

Dioxins are a group of chemically related environmental pollutants. Dioxins are a result of the manufacturing process of products such as smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp, herbicides and pesticides. Uncontrolled waste incinerators such as solid waste and hospital waste are often the worst culprits because of incomplete burning.

In the case of the Tittabawassee River in Michigan, Dow Chemical Midland facility is currently producing low levels of dioxins to existing elevated levels of dioxins contamination. The major source of dioxin contamination in this area is the already contaminated soils and river residue from past dioxin releases. According the WHO (World Health Organization), the highest levels of these compounds are found in some soils, sediments and food, especially dairy products, meat, fish and shellfish. Very low levels are found in plants, water and air. According to Dow, since 1995, Dow has reduced its dioxin emissions to air and water by 85 percent through a number of dioxin abatement and technology projects.

Dioxins, in high amounts, have been known to cause Cancer (in the liver, lung or tongue), immune suppression, reproductive effects (cleft palate or vaginal thread), developmental effects (sperm reduction), liver damage and cardiovascular changes, just to name a few health threats. In the scientific community, there is a disagreement of whether there is a safe level of exposure to dioxins. Until there is a better scientific understanding, public policy will focus on protecting the group of people more at risk, such as children and women of childbearing age.

According to WHO, consumers could reduce risk of exposure by trimming fat from meat and consuming low fat dairy products may decrease the exposure to dioxin compounds. Also, a balanced diet (including adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and cereals) will help to avoid excessive exposure from a single source. This is a long-term strategy to reduce body burdens and is most relevant for girls and young women to reduce exposure of the developing fetus and when breastfeeding infants later on in life. However, the WHO also stated, the possibility for consumers to reduce their own exposure is somewhat limited.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) concluded that people living in a residential area of the city of Saginaw, Michigan breathed, touched and accidentally ate Dioxins in soil and dust for a year or longer, and this may have harmed their health. MDCH calculated that adults and children living on affected properties took in dioxins at higher rate than considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effectively removed dioxins from the top two feet of soil in residential areas and removed the top one foot of soil in non-residential areas. Future flooding of the Tittabawassee River could redeposit contaminants onto resident’s yards. Flooding could cause residents to be exposed to a renewed contamination of dioxins. According to the MDCH, this is a potential future public health hazard.

Personal injury attorney Mark Bernstein states “The children of Michigan should not pay the price for this dangerous pollution. They simply deserve better.”

If you or a loved one suspects they are suffering from personal injuries caused by corporate negligence, you should protect your legal rights by contacting an experienced Michigan personal injury lawyer today.

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