Thursday, December 30, 2010

That "Chromium-6 In Your Water" Thing? Maybe Not

Although it takes a while to get there, Marie Rohde's report on the Brokovich Problem is fair.

I'll just go directly to the part you don't see too often:

While the methodology used by the environmentalists was questionable — in each of 35 cities, one member of the group turned on the kitchen tap to collect a single sample of water — it got the attention of the national media, a number of Congressmen and the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Questionable" is a very kind word for that method. "Laughable", or "Poppycock" would be more accurate. Let's put it this way: it's less reliable than a Jim Doyle promise.

And it is no surprise that EPA is interested. They're always interested in retaining their jobs.

The good news is it’s relatively easy and cheap to remove the chemical from water, said Biedrzycki. The bad news is that no one knows how much chromium-6 is dangerous.

Cantor said much more rigorous testing needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn.

“Obviously one sample in one city is not enough to base conclusions on,” Cantor said. “Also, does the chromium-6 come from the source water, interactions with the piping or the type of faucet the sampler happened to use?

Or from a handy pack of chrome-dust that the sampler poured into the water?

There's more:

Grande [Madison's water guy] said he does not believe that chromium-6 detected in Madison is the result of environmental contamination. He said he is also concerned that the unstable nature of chromium could nullify test results.

It’s unstable,” Grande said of chromium. “It can be changed by air, chlorine and other factors that may influence the results.

Chlorine, eh? Gee. Would Madison (and Milwaukee) use chlorine in their water systems? (Just asking...)

To top it off, there's this:

From 1996 to 2008, 196 cancers were identified among residents of the census tract that includes Hinkley — a slightly lower number than the 224 cancers that would have been expected given its demographic characteristics, said epidemiologist John Morgan, who conducted the California Cancer Registry survey

So maybe Chromium-6 is actually GOOD for you.


Tim Morrissey said...

I'd feel a lot better about the whole thing, since my tiny suburban enclave contracts with the City of Madison for its water, if you'd send Julia Roberts over to test the water in my home.

Dad29 said...

You want her to test WHICH water? The stuff in your hot tub, or your tap?

Jim said...

As stated previously, the fact remains that the PG&E improperly handled toxic chemicals, allowing them to get into the water supply and then lied to residents about it.

Dad29 said...

Which is germane because......????

Anonymous said...

"Which is germane because..."

If anyone of your family members contracted a disease that eventually killed them, and evidence was presented that a company was responsible, you would want justice, too. Probably by the way of a gun. That's why it is "germane". The company CHOSE to settle.

Note that the levels of exposure in Hinkley were 580 ppb than the 31 ppb found in Norman, OK, according to the study in question (Environmental Working Group).
Furthermore, the "survey released this month failing to find a disproportionately high number of cancers in Hinkley" is recognized even by the sources you cited as unlikely to be highly accurate, and may only tell us that CR-6 in drinking water is not necessarily a POTENT carcinogen.

Axes to grind on BOTH sides. The fact remains that no one has definitively established what is a carcinogenic level for drinking water. There needs to be further investigation.

Dad29 said...

Sorry, boyzzzz.

It is NOT germane to the post.

And if Brockovich wanted to find liars, she could have nosed around Congress for .000003 days.

Jim said...

Speaking of not germane.

Anonymous said...

You can say all you want how the point is not germane, but the smart people here know better.

Again, you'd be a hiring a lawyer--you know, the occupation you generally despise--if you one of your own flesh and blood died at the hands of corporate irresponsibility.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

The methodology is clearly bad and the samples are tainted. The Chromium-6 question is interesting because so little Cr-6 exists in nature. It is normally the more benign Trivalent Chromium (Cr-6). In fact, Cr-6 can be changed by many factors as stated....into Cr-3.

Dad29 said...

the smart people here know better.

Gee. It's always enlightening to have really, really, really smart people posting here.


Jim said...

Of course it's not enlightening to folks who refuse to be enlightened. :-)