A September 30, 2005 item in Investor's Business Daily notes Harvard School of Public Health's misguided award to Erin Brockovich and the response of ACSH president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan:
The Julia Richmond Award is given, Harvard says, to those who "have promoted and achieved high standards for public health conditions."
In this case, as a letter to an outraged alumnus, American Council of Science and Health President Elizabeth Whelan said, it's for Brockovich's efforts "on behalf of all of us, and especially the residents of Hinkley, California, whose health was adversely affected by a toxic substance dumped by a utility company."
Her alleged fight for environmental justice was told in the cleverly titled 2000 movie Erin Brockovich.
In it, the Brockovich character, played by Julia Roberts, and showing more cleavage than scientific knowledge, is a crusading legal assistant who exposes the alleged poisoning of everything -- from chickens to frogs to people -- by a Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) plant's leaching of a rust inhibitor called chromium-6 into the water supply of nearby Hinkley.
Only problem: It was all false.
No one chemical agent could possibly have caused all the symptoms described in the film, and chromium-6 in the water couldn't have caused any of them.