“Group funds ‘Erin Brockvich’ chemical in D.C., Bethesda Water” was this morning’s scary Washington Post headline. The comrades at the Environmental Working Group reportedly found hexavalent chromium (Cr-6) in drinking water across the country at levels up to 200 times greater than the goal proposed by California (0.06 ppb). Cr-6 reportedly is associated with increased cancer risk in laboratory mice.
Before you swear off tap water, run to your doctor, join a class action lawsuit or do anything other than simply roll on the floor laughing at Ken Kook and his fellow EWG Krazies, here’s a few things to consider:
- Outside of a hotly disputed study of a 1970s-era Chinese population, epidemiologic studies have not associated Cr-6 exposure with increased risk of cancer. Even the EPA acknowledges this (See p. 207 of April 2010 EPA review document). Then there’s this comment from a review of the Cr-6 epidemiology:
The weight of scientific evidence supports that Cr-6 is not carcinogenic in humans via the oral route of exposure at permissible drinking-water concentrations. [J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2002 May 24;65(10):701-46.]
- Mice are not little people. So who cares whether lab mice poisoned with Cr-6 got cancer or did cartwheels?
- No violations of the EPA drinking water standard for chromium were reported. While there are no specific drinking water standards for Cr-6, the EPA oral reference dose (RfD) for Cr-6, which includes a monster safety factor of 300, is way above the levels of Cr-6 detected by EWG.
- The proposed California standard for Cr-6 is not science-based.
- The EWG specializes in efforts to scare people about the mere presence of chemicals and metals in drinking water. The group seems to be impervious to Paracelsus’ 450-year-old basic toxicology principle that “the dose makes the poison.”
- Reporter Lyndsey Layton is apparently the radical environmental movement’s new stenographer at the Washington Post, following in the embarrassing tradition of Juliet Eilperin, Joby Warrick, Gary Lee and others. Layton is also assisting the left in its jihad against bisphenol A (BPA).
So that just about covers it for EWG’s hexavalent chromium scare — junk science manufactured by radical leftists and trumpeted by a media stooge.