More wackiness at the EPA

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Tuesday brought word that EPA regulators sent a memo to public water systems calling for more thorough evaluation of water supplies for the heavy metal known as hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6. Regular readers of Dispatch may know our reason for dismay. At a time when a range of public health issues should be addressed, the EPA is engaged in what ACSH'S Dr. Gilbert Ross calls “a bizarre waste of resources.”

He observes: “There is some evidence of an increased risk of lung cancer from hexavalent chromium when encountered in occupational settings at high levels of exposure. This may be an issue for some arc welders. But there’s not one study which has ever demonstrated that when it’s in the water supply in trace levels that hexavalent chromium presents any danger to the public. In fact, as we’ve mentioned before, in the famous case of Hinkley — the town in California depicted in the movie ‘Erin Brockovich’ where levels rose above those accepted by state authorities — the cancer rate was below the expected rate. The levels of hexavalent chromium in water supplies which we’re discussing of parts per trillion simply haven’t been shown to be in any way hazardous. Yet now, thanks to the agitation of one well-known alarmist group, the EPA decides to force water suppliers nationwide to waste precious resources investigating and curing another non-problem, which is the EPA’s stock-in-trade.”