Erin Brockovich s ideas about ground water: Toxic to common sense, nectar for EWG

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Just days ago we reported on a study led by ACSH advisor Dr. John Morgan showing that cancer rates in the town of Hinkley, California were — rather than being elevated — actually a tad below the expected rate. This contradicts the claims of presshound Erin Brockovich. Ms. Brockovich gained wealth and fame from a lawsuit she initiated based on the idea that the town’s residents had been poisoned by trace levels of chromium (VI) (hexavalent chromium), a chemical that was leaked there by Pacific Gas & Electric. Dr. Morgan’s work follows on a wealth of research showing that hexavalent chromium isn’t dangerous when ingested in drinking water at the trace levels found in Hinkley.

Yet the hysteria continues, and The Washington Post yesterday was among dozens of major media outlets to report on a series of “findings” presented in a document released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a radical advocacy organization. Their document notes that many cities have levels of hexavalent chromium in drinking water above .06 parts per billion. The EWG’s report describes hexavalent chromium as “a probable carcinogen” without noting that no study has ever shown dangers from the chemical at these trivial levels. ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross says that this proves again that, “The EWG knows what they’re doing. They know how to pick out topics that will induce panic and fear in the public — no matter how poor the science behind their ‘research’ is. Apparently, EWG has won the hexavalent chromium franchise, leaving the Natural Resources Defense Council to keep up the scares about atrazine in the water.”