Army Deer Study Is Inconclusive

by Free Speech on June 22, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI

A pivotal human health study evaluating the potential uptake of residual explosives by deer has been found to be inconclusive.  An independent technical review has determined that an oft-cited Army study is not able to confirm or deny whether it is safe to eat the deer from the Badger Army Ammunition Plant.

In response to renewed pressure from the U.S. Army to weaken required soil cleanup goals, rural neighbors of the Badger plant hired an independent consultant to review a deer tissue study which the military says supports their position.  Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) asked Environmental Stewardship Concepts, a Virginia-based firm with expertise in environmental health issues, to review the Army report.

“We want to make sure that environmental cleanup at military bases like Badger is protective of human health,” said Laura Olah, Executive Director of CSWAB.  “Our goal is to ensure that regulators, future owners, and community members are aware of any potential shortcomings in the Army’s studies.”

The Army study was designed to determine whether the deer at the Badger site contained two common forms of the explosive Dinitrotoluene (DNT) in their tissues at  concentrations that would be unsuitable for human consumption. The study focused on examining the presence of DNT in the liver, muscle and heart tissues of the deer.

“As a former army ammunition plant, the Badger site was exposed to 2,4 and 2,6-DNT however other forms of DNT are also present on the site but were not considered in this study,” said Dr. Peter deFur, president of Environmental Stewardship Concepts. “The problem is that the design provides results of limited use and applicability.”

DeFur is not the only one critical of the deer study.  Army officials with the Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine have also described the Badger study as having analytical detection limits that were “not sufficiently low to allow an accurate estimation of the levels of explosives that had bioaccumulated.”

In addition to Badger, the 1991 study has been cited in risk assessments for military facilities across the U.S. including Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in Kansas, Weldon Spring Ordnance Works in Missouri, Fort McClellan in Alabama, and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) was organized in 1990 when rural families near Wisconsin’s Badger Army Ammunition Plant learned that private drinking water wells were polluted with high levels of cancer-causing solvents.  The group continues to serve as a local watchdog and national leader on military cleanups.

Dr. Peter L. deFur serves as a technical advisor to citizen organizations and government agencies. He is an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University where he conducts research on environmental health and ecological risk assessment.

DeFur’s complete report and the Army’s deer study are available online at

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wendy Carlson June 25, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Thanks for the informative article about the Army’s Deer Study. I’m sure a lot of people will be glad to have this info. How regretable that the army does not show more concern for the welfare of the citizens it is supposed to serve.

2 Sauk Co Citizen June 24, 2009 at 8:29 AM

This article should open up all our eyes and minds to the FACT there are many unknowns in and around Badger. The Army does not test soil etc., except for the bare minimum required by law. WIf the government had their way they would have packed their tents long ago and left us all with another mess.
The armed forces are to protect us from ‘outside’ enemies. They rebuild where they destory or disrupt in other countries. Here they thumb their noses and WE pay in health effects and millions (plus) attempting to get them to clean up what they left here.
This is a great effort my a small community group to get the word out about one of the many natural resouces at Badger.

3 Maria Emilia Calderon June 22, 2009 at 2:06 PM

By publishing your comments on Dr. Peter De Fur’s research accomplishments on the deer study, you are giving a great support to CSWAB Organization efforts on behalf of the general public’s health, on this already old issue of the Army proper cleaning up at Badger!

Thank you very much!

4 Peggy Lahti June 22, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Thanks for the excellent article on the deer study at Badger. The army seems to be determined to go to great lengths to diminish their cleanup response. We, the public, must keep alert
and demand that the cleanup continues and is effective.

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