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Fingerprints samples of Dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee flood plain.

The mixture of dioxins in the T.River Flood Plain soil have a distinct profile (fingerprint).  The fingerprints upstream of the Dow Chemical's plant in Midland Michigan clearly do not match those found downstream.  This is almost overwhelming evidence that Dow is the source of the contamination.

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Above is an example of a dioxin TEQ Profile fingerprint, click image to enlarge, click BACK to return to this page


What is a "Fingerprint?


TRW Review of Phase 2 TEQ Profile Fingerprints


TRW Review of Phase 1 TEQ Profile Fingerprints


MDEQ Dioxin Congener Profile Charts Appendix J (large pdf file)


Congener profile charts prepared for Phase II soil (including chicken eggs), Phase I soil, Sediment Study, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) sediment data.


MDEQ Phase 1 Charts and Data spreadsheet




What is a fingerprint?

Fingerprints are color charts that provide, for each sample, a visual display of the relative amount of each individual dioxin congener present in that sample. These visual displays are referred to as congener profiles".

Each different form of Dioxin is called a "congener." Dioxin belongs to a family of chemicals with related properties and toxicity. There are 75 different dioxins, or polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), 135 different furans, or polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and 209 different polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)  Refer to Page 10 of the Phase II Final Report (very large pdf file) for a more indept discussion of the term "congener".

Each chart consists of a series of multi-color bars. Each multi-color bar represents an individual soil sample. The soil sample label is presented along the left border of the chart. Each color on the multi-color bar represents an individual dioxin congener. A color key is presented at the bottom of the each page. The amount of a color on a multi-color bar directly relates to the amount of the corresponding dioxin congener that is present in the sample.

It is the intent of the DEQ that presenting congener profiles based on both soil concentration and TEQ will assist in understanding the similarities and differences among the sample locations. A variety of methods are available to graphically display dioxin congener data, although there is no accepted best practice. The DEQ recognizes that all graphical techniques have certain strengths and weaknesses. The charts   are most useful for providing a general understanding of the makeup of each sample in terms of the most prevalent congener(s), and the congeners(s) that are most toxic. However, similarities and differences among the congeners that make up only a small percentage of the total may not be readily discernable in these charts. The DEQ is continuing to analyze the Phase II data to better understand the dioxin contamination that has been identified. Patterns observed in these congener profile charts may be used to help direct this ongoing effort and to help formulate a more rigorous quantitative analysis of the patterns.

The MDEQ has provided 2 types of "Fingerprints" in it's Appendix J Dioxin Congener Profile Charts which are described below.  Most TRW fingerprint reviews are based on TEQ Profiles.  Appendix J lists all samples "Concentration Profiles" 1st, followed by the same samples "TEQ Profiles".


Concentration Profiles were generated using the actual concentration of dioxin congeners that were identified in the sample . These charts can be used to evaluate the percentage of the total dioxin concentration that is made up by specific dioxin congeners.

TEQ Profiles were generated using the total toxic equivalence (TEQ) that the concentration of dioxin congeners in the soil represents. The TEQ Profiles were developed to provide a visual representation of the toxic contribution of the dioxin congener relative to the total dioxin toxicity contained in the sample.

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TRW Review of Phase 2 TEQ Profile Fingerprints

Below are 8 sample fingerprints from the Phase 2 sampling of the Tittabawassee flood plain.  Depending upon the speed of your internet connection, they may take a minute or two to load.   You can click on a graph for a close up view, use your BACK button to return to this page after viewing.   All of these graphs and others are contained in the MDEQ Flood Plain Phase 2 soil contamination data (very large PDF file, it's quicker to get a view here)


Dioxins are composed of 200+ chemicals.    They are measured in units termed TEQ's (Toxic Equivalent's).  The graphs show the TEQ values of each sample on the left side of the graph.  The state maximum concentration for human contact is 90 ppt TEQ.


The graphs show those chemicals making up the majority of the sample. 2378 TCDD & 2378 TCDF are the worst.


Each color on a graph represents a specific chemical,  the same color/chemical combination is used on all graphs


The length of a specific color represents the proportion of the contamination due to that chemical. 


What really stands out is the color patterns (fingerprints) UPSTREAM of Dow and those taken DOWNSTREAM of Dow.

Graphs 1, 2, & 3 are from sample upstream of Dow.  Notice the major color pattern of blue-orange-green-red.

Graphs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8a & 8b are from samples taken downstream of Dow.  Notice the major color pattern of green-pink-red-yellow  2378 TCDD is prominent in graphs 1-3, whereas it is minimal in graphs 4-8.  2378 TCDF is prominent in graphs 4-8 and minimal in graphs 1-3.

Graph 9, Imerman park, downstream of Dow. Samples taken by road which seldom floods.  Fingerprints similar to those taken upstream

Graph 10 of sample taken in Midland's Emerson Park ( shows a few  toxic concentrations, however the fingerprints are different than of those found downstream of Dow.  Suspect Dow incinerators for this contamination).

Dioxin is everywhere, however the Tittabawassee floodplain fingerprints & it's extremely high Dioxin concentrations clearly indicate the source is located in Midland Michigan.

Dow keeps saying that dioxin fingerprints of Phase 2 do not match their current process. THAT'S BECAUSE, TO OUR KNOWLEDGE,  NO ONE HAS DONE THE FINGERPRINTING OF THE CURRENT PROCESS.  We speculate that Dow and DEQ administration have put off fingerprinting for Floodplain soils and soils from the Dow plant site because they know the fingerprints would match.   If they have fingerprinted, Dow & the DEQ have not released them to the public.

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Numbers on map above refer to graphs listed below which are listed in sequence as the Tittabawasse river flows from Upstream of Dow to Downstream from Dow

Phase 2 Sampling Results

1 Pine River- Upstream Dow

2 Chippawa River- Upstream Dow

3  Tittabawassee River @ Sanford- Upstream Dow

The 3 previous samples are UPSTREAM of the Dow Chemical Plant.

The 5 samples following are DOWNSTREAM of the Dow Chemical Plant.

Watch the fingerprints change, it's like magic!.

4 Caldwell Boat Launch-Downstream of Dow

5 Freeland Festival Park- Downstream of Dow

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6 Imerman Park - Downstream of Dow

7 West Michigan Park, Downstream of Dow

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8a Residence Back Yard - Downstream of Dow

8b Free Range Chicken Eggs from (8a)

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  9a Imerman Park sample by road, Downstream of Dow, most samples from a high ground area that seldom floods.

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9b  Livestock Farm, Downstream of Dow, by Tittabawassee River, not in flood plain.

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10  Emerson Park in Midland, Upstream of Dow, some contamination - different fingerprint

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TRW Review of Phase 1 TEQ Profile Fingerprints

Wetlands mitigation site at confluence of Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers

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Shiawassee National Wildlife Forest Soil Samples

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Shiawassee National Wildlife Field Soil Samples

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