Then deep from the earth you shall speak, from low in the dust your word shall come; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost. and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.--Isaiah 29:4
An article in Clinical Reviews in Toxicology, Volume 27, Issue 5, 1997, "Toxicity and Carcinogenicity of Cr (VI) in Animal Models and Humans," by Max Costa of the Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine and The Kaplan Cancer Center (New York), reports animal studies and experiments on human volunteers suggesting that hexavalent chromium causes increased risk of bone, prostate, lymphomas, Hodgkins, leukemia, stomach, genital, renal and bladder cancer and concludes, "Exposure of humans to any amount of chromium VI by inhalation, ingestion, or on the skin should always be avoided."
According to ATSDR's 2000 update, "whereas chromium VI can readily be transported into cells, chromium III is much less able to cross cell membranes. The reduction of chromium VI to chromium III inside of cells may be an important mechanism for the toxicity of chromium compounds, as free radicals are emitted in the process of breaking down," also resulting in chromosome aberrations.
Doctors nevertheless have concluded that "additional data would be useful," so FEDRIP studies at four universities will continue to study the effects of chromium 6 on children, other humans and the environment.
The Remco plant in Willits is one of 72 toxic sites around the country owned by Whitman Corporation, (see www.whitmancorp.com), now known as PepsiAmericas, Inc., owners of Midas Mufflers, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Aquafina, Ocean Spray juices, Tropicana, So-Be drinks, and Quaker Oats foods, and a division of DuPont also affiliated with PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. ###
The U.S. EPA, responding to health concerns from the community, has asked the California Department of Health Services Environmental Health Investigations Branch (CDHS-EHIB) to evaluate the potential health impact that may have been caused by contamination from the Abex-Remco site in Willits, Calif. Gina Margillo is conducting the study, (510)622-4476, e-mail: GMargill@dhs.ca.gov.
In February 2001, Rick Lensing, 31, died of a throat tumor. He had lived in Willits, at Luna Market and Apartments, for eight years. When asked to test for chromium again, DHS officials still claim they cannot find a lab to test a body for chromium and admit they do not know how they would respond to a death from chromium.
State reviews 50 ppb standard
EPA and State standards for total chromium in drinking water are 100 ppb and 50 ppb respectively. But EPA under former President Clinton had admitted those standards were established based on exposures for adult males--not for children, women, the elderly, or those with illnesses or disabilities. Those standards also were based on an assumption that only a small percentage of total chromium would be chromium 6. That assumption has not proven true, and chromium 6 has constituted as much as 100 percent of total chromium in some tests.
4800 communities throughout California were ordered to begin testing for chromium 6 this year. Tests announced have revealed chromium 6 levels at 54 ppb in Los Angeles, 38 ppb in La Selva Beach, 22 ppb in Riverside and San Bernardino, 18 ppb in Santa Barbara, 23 ppb in Yolo County, 10 ppb in Solano, and 4.1 ppb in Santa Clara, according to California Water Association reports.
Hinkley, the southern California desert community featured in Erin Brockovich, had tested as high as 24 ppm, while shallow groundwater readings in Willits have been as high as 360 ppm.
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