SAGINAW, Michigan (AP) — A dioxin find at the bottom of Michigan's Saginaw River could be the highest level of such contamination ever discovered in a U.S. river or lake, according to a federal scientist involved in cleanup efforts downstream from a Dow Chemical Co. plant.
A crew testing the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers discovered the sample, which measured 1.6 million parts of dioxin per trillion of water, The Saginaw News and The Detroit News reported last week. That level is about 20 times higher than any other find recorded in the archives of the U.S. environmental agency.
''There may be more surprises out there,'' said Milton Clark, a health and science expert for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ''I'd be surprised if there's not more surprises out there.''
State guidelines require corrective action on contamination above 1,000 parts per trillion.
Dioxins are toxic byproducts of the manufacture of chlorine-based products, and some have been linked to cancer and other health problems.
Dow is removing three dioxin concentrations along a six-mile stretch of the Tittabawassee. The company plans to remove the latest find, Dow spokesman John C. Musser said.
The Michigan Department of Community Health is warning against eating carp, catfish and white bass — fish that feed near the riverbed where contaminants are buried.