Late Night Atomic Tales

sticker_vintage_atomic_flashlight_firecrackers_ad-p217956952215296130bfd7p_400Good Evening!

Banjoville is expecting 4 inches of snow tonight, and since I am avoiding the news at all cost… this post is going to be ATOMIC in nature.

Many of the articles I will be linking to are from years ago, some as far back as the 1980’s.

Let’s get on with the show….

First, some mood music.

Alright, back in the good old days,  when the government tested the atomic bomb in the deserts of Western United States, radioactive fallout from these bombs drifted over areas downwind from the test sites. The people who lived in these communities were screwed, meaning they suffered high cancer rates and many of them died.

It wasn’t just the regular folks who were affected. Hollywood stars, in fact one of the most famous icons of American History, also found themselves cancer stricken.

Think about this…John Wayne, American as apple pie…our iconic symbol of toughness and grit…was the America he loved responsible for his death? Talk about irony!

The Conqueror (1956): The Film that Killed John Wayne…Literally

Of the 173 film appearances of John Wayne, The Conqueror is one of his lesser known roles, and for good reason. In this movie, which Wayne actually asked director Dick Powell to star in, he plays the Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan.

Right off the bat it sounds ridiculous; John Wayne playing an Asian. The gave him makeup to make his eyes seem slanted and of course, gave him a Fu Man Chu facial hair style. Wayne, who needed to make only one movie to finish out his contract with RKO was heavily dissuaded by Powell to not take up this role and with the script thrown in the trash, Wayne pulled it out and said he wanted to play Genghis Khan as a cowboy would, and Powell then famously quipped, “Who am I to turn down John Wayne?”

A quick summary of the story can be found here from the film’s Wikipedia page:

The exterior scenes were shot on location near St. George, Utah, 137 miles (220 km) downwind of the United States government’s Nevada National Security Site. In 1953, extensive above-ground nuclear weapons testing occurred at the test site, as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole. The cast and crew spent many difficult weeks on location, and in addition Hughes later shipped 60 tons of dirt back to Hollywood in order to match the Utah terrain and lend verisimilitude to studio re-shoots.[4] The filmmakers knew about the nuclear tests[4] but the federal government reassured residents that the tests caused no hazard to public health.[9]

Director Dick Powell died of cancer in January 1963, seven years after the film’s release. Pedro Armendáriz was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1960, and committed suicide in 1963 after he learned his condition had become terminal. Hayward, Wayne, and Moorehead all died of cancer in the 1970s. Cast member actor John Hoyt died of lung cancer in 1991. Skeptics point to other factors such as the wide use of tobacco — Wayne and Moorehead in particular were heavy smokers. The cast and crew totaled 220 people. By 1981, 91 of them had developed some form of cancer and 46 had died of the disease. Several of Wayne and Hayward’s relatives also had cancer scares as well after visiting the set. Michael Wayne developed skin cancer, his brother Patrick had a benign tumor removed from his breast and Hayward’s son Tim Barker had a benign tumor removed from his mouth. [9][10]

Dr. Robert Pendleton, professor of biology at the University of Utah, stated, “With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic. The connection between fallout radiation and cancer in individual cases has been practically impossible to prove conclusively. But in a group this size you’d expect only 30-some cancers to develop. With 91, I think the tie-in to their exposure on the set of The Conqueror would hold up in a court of law.” Indeed, several cast and crew members, as well as relatives of those who died, considered suing the government for negligence, claiming it knew more about the hazards in the area than it let on.[9][11]

Okay, what is with that code name…Operation Upshot-Knothole? Doesn’t that translate into, stick it up your ass…or maybe it was just the government’s way of saying,  fuck you?

From the archives of People Magazine, in an article that was published in November of 1980: The Children of John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Dick Powell Fear That Fallout Killed Their Parents : People.com

Few moviegoers remember The Conqueror, a sappy 1956 film about a love affair between Genghis Khan and a beautiful captive princess. But to the families of its stars, John Wayne and Susan Hayward, and of its director-producer, Dick Powell, memories of The Conqueror have begun to acquire nightmarish clarity. The movie was shot from June through August 1954 among the scenic red bluffs and white dunes near Saint George, Utah, an area chosen by Powell for its similarity to the central Asian steppes. At the time it did not seem significant that Saint George was only 137 miles from the atomic testing range at Yucca Flat, Nev.; the federal government, after all, was constantly reassuring local residents back then that the bomb tests posed no health hazard. Now, 17 years after aboveground nuclear tests were outlawed, Saint George is plagued by an extraordinarily high rate of cancer (PEOPLE, Oct. 1, 1979)—and the illustrious alumni of The Conqueror and their offspring are wondering whether their own grim medical histories are more than an uncommon run of bad luck.

Of The Conqueror’s 220 cast and crew members from Hollywood, an astonishing 91 have contracted cancer, PEOPLE has ascertained. Forty-six of them, including Wayne, Hayward and Powell, have died of the disease. Another star of the film, Pedro Armendariz, survived cancer of the kidney four years after finishing the movie—but killed himself in 1963 at the age of 51 when he learned that he had terminal cancer of the lymphatic system. Says Dr. Robert C. Pendleton, director of radiological health at the University of Utah: “With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic. The connection between fallout radiation and cancer in individual cases has been practically impossible to prove conclusively. But in a group this size you’d expect only 30-some cancers to develop. With 91, I think the tie-in to their exposure on the set of The Conqueror would hold up even in a court of law.”

From what I understand, there was even a photo of the Duke holding a Geiger counter while on location. Back to the People article:

Though previously inclined to keep the past buried and their suspicions to themselves, several Conqueror cast members and relatives of cancer victims are now considering a suit against the government for negligence. For a few of them, more than a death in the family is involved. The children of Wayne and Hayward accompanied their parents to the Conqueror location and have already had alarming brushes with cancer. Michael Wayne, 45, developed skin cancer in 1975. His brother Patrick, 41, was operated on for a breast tumor 11 years ago (fortunately it was benign). Tim Barker, 35, a son of Susan Hayward, had a benign tumor removed from his mouth in 1968. “I still smoke a pack a day,” admits Barker. “So who knows just what might have caused it? Smoking doesn’t help. But I’ll tell you, radiation doesn’t help either.” Dr. Ronald S. Oseas of Harbor UCLA Medical Center agrees. “It is known that radiation contributes to the risk of cancer,” he says. “With these numbers, it is highly probable that the Conqueror group was affected by that additive effect.”

The concerned survivors are not antinuke activists; most say their faith in safe nuclear energy is unshaken. What angers them is mounting evidence that the government knew a great deal more about the danger of fallout from the tests than it told. Aboveground nuclear explosions at the Nevada Test Site went on from January 1951 until August 1963. During that time the Atomic Energy Commission devoted most of its public-information efforts to reassuring apprehensive citizens. One 1955 AEC booklet distributed near the test site, for example, advised: “Your best action is not to be worried about fallout.” Yet Dr. Harold Knapp, the DNA’s adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former member of the Fallout Studies Branch of the AEC, says the experts knew better even then. “The government definitely had a complete awareness of what was going on,” he now says. “To a trained professional, the information contained in some of their once-confidential reports is most shocking.” A recently published report prepared for congressional investigators on the impact of the bomb tests concludes: “All evidence suggesting that radiation was having harmful effects, be it on sheep or on the people, was not only disregarded but actually suppressed…The greatest irony of our atmospheric nuclear testing program is that the only victims of U.S. nuclear arms since World War II have been our own people.”

No bombs were tested during the actual filming of The Conqueror, but 11 explosions occurred the year before. Two of them were particularly “dirty,” depositing long-lasting radiation over the area. The 51.5-kiloton shot code-named “Simon” was fired on April 25, 1953, and the 32.4-kiloton blast “Harry” went off May 19. (In contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 13 kilotons.) “Fallout was very abundant more than a year after Harry,” says Dr. Pendleton, a former AEC researcher. “Some of the isotopes, such as strontium 90 and cesium 137, would not have diminished much.” Pendleton points out that radioactivity can concentrate in “hot spots” such as the rolling dunes of Snow Canyon, a natural reservoir for windblown material. It was the place where much of The Conqueror was filmed. Pendleton also notes that radioactive substances enter the food chain. By eating local meat and produce, the Conqueror cast and crew were increasing their risk.

Wow! You can read the rest of that archived article at the link…but it wasn’t just the cast and crew of The Conqueror, a film that was dubbed an “RKO Radioactive Production.”  Check this out…from People again, this time in an article published in 1979: A Flinty Grandmother Battles for the Victims of Utah’s Nuclear Tragedy : People.com

On the morning of May 19, 1953, a dry lake bed at Yucca Flat, Nev. cracked under a devastating explosion. A bright orange fireball climbed into the sky, dissolved into a purplish mushroom cloud, then floated eastward on the wind. Moments after the blast, the residents of St. George, Utah—145 miles away—felt the ground beneath them tremble. A few hours later, a gray ash fell from the sky, coating their pastures, clinging to laundry and burning the skin of people it touched.

Known locally as “Dirty Harry,” the atom bomb that caused the fallout was not the first to leave its mark on St. George, though at 32 kilotons, it was one of the largest. From 1951 until the 1963 nuclear test-ban treaty, the Atomic Energy Commission set off at least 100 aboveground devices at the Nevada testing site. Yet, though herds of sheep and pigs in St. George fell dead within days of Dirty Harry, the AEC ignored those who claimed any connection between fallout and injury to man or beast. For decades, the government has clung to this position, and, for almost as long, one St. George woman, Irma Thomas, 72, has waged a quiet but tenacious battle to prove the bureaucrats wrong. Says Thomas: “All I ever wanted to do was let the government know what they did to the people of St. George.”

Her struggle may be nearing an end at last. Reputable scientists now suspect that the tests caused a phenomenally high rate of cancer and thyroid diseases among residents of St. George. They have also linked them to a variety of other problems; one researcher has even theorized that the fallout may have caused a decline in SAT scores among Utah high school students. The federal government no longer flatly denies such dire possibilities. Spurred in part by Irma Thomas’ efforts, 442 victims and their families have sued the government, charging negligence and failure to warn the residents of the danger they faced and demanding a reported $230 million. “We were used as fodder, the same as our young men were used in Vietnam,” a bitter Irma declares. “The blasts were detonated only when the wind blew in our direction. They avoided the populated areas of Las Vegas and Los Angeles. They saw us as expendable.”

Hey..they were expendable? That was a John Wayne film too.

Take a look at those old articles, interesting indeed. If you want to read more about it, see these links below:

The Straight Dope: Did John Wayne die of cancer caused by a radioactive movie set?

Alamo Central Forum – The Conqueror (1956) Film that Killed John Wayne

And for information on the high cancer rates in Utah…check these out:

Utah has highest skin cancer rates in the country – U N I V E R S E

Report shows Sandy has Utah’s highest cancer rates | Health | Draper / Riverton / Bluffdale / Sandy News

The danger down below: Cancer cluster raises questions about legacy of toxic waste in Utah soil | Deseret News

EPA in Utah | About EPA | US EPA

EPA fact sheet presents statistics about skin cancer for Utah and the United States as a whole.

Utah – Office Of Epidemiology Cancer Cluster Investigations

Overview of Utah Cancer Incidence and Mortality

High Utah cancer rates prompt call for prevention | ksl.com

RADIATION-ASSOCIATED CANCER IN UTAH FROM 1973 TO 2001
PREPARED FOR REP. JIM MATHESON House Oversight Committee

Another radioactive story I have for you tonight could be a subject of a Hollywood B horror picture itself.  Glow in the dark atomic paint and a workforce of unsuspecting women is just the kind of combination to bring all sorts of scary things….fifty foot giant women, glowing girls, and radioactive graves. (That last bit is actually true.) United States Radium Corporation – Wikipedia

The United States Radium Corporation was a company, most notorious for its operations between the years 1917 to 1926 in Orange, New Jersey, in the United States that led to stronger worker protection laws. After initial success in developing a glow-in-the-dark radioactive paint, the company was subject to several lawsuits in the late 1920s in the wake of severe illnesses and deaths of workers (the Radium Girls) who had ingested radioactive material when they licked their brushes to paint the thin lines and other details on the faces of clocks, watches and other instruments. The workers had been told that the paint was harmless.[1] During World War I and World War II, the company produced luminous watches and gauges for the United States Army for use by soldiers.[2]

U.S. Radium was the subject of major radioactive contamination of its workers, primarily women who painted the dials of watches and other instruments with luminous paint.[1]

Westclox…and those glow in the dark clock faces. Here is a photo of these Radium Girls working in one of the factories:

More great pictures here: Westclox Factory Photos and Postcards, Peru, Illinois

Anyway, the old Westclox factory in Peru IL caught fire last year and it was burning for weeks…it took 6 days to get it under control and they still are going back and forth over the clean-up. Here are a few articles from the local newspaper about the fire are below, including some updates from December 2012 and January 2013.

Westclox Factory Fire: Illinois Landmark Destroyed

Peru agrees to push for Westclox cleanup – LaSalle News Tribune – LaSalle, IL

Westclox fire unanimous choice for No. 1 story of 2012 – LaSalle News Tribune – LaSalle, IL

Former firefighter reflects on New Year’s injury at Westclox fire – MyWebTimes.com

Yes, it is an atomic link dump!

I know this post is long and there are lots of things for you to look at…feel free to think of this as an open thread.  Enjoy your evening and see y’all in the comments!


Nor Any drop to drink, Hexavalent Chromium

Yeah, go ahead and drink the water…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? Well in Oklahoma, this may not be entirely true. In Norman, OK, the city tap water has a Chrome 6 level of 12.90 ppb, according to a recent report released in early December by the EWG. That is a lot higher than the levels that California has established as “safe” levels of Chrome 6 in drinking/tap water.

So in my other two posts about Hexavalent Chromium: Water Water Everywhere, Chromium 6 and Tinker and the Aquifer, I have cited enough studies to show that Chrome 6 is carcinogenic. It is bad, real bad! And there seems to be a lot of places that could have this stuff in its water supply. Remember? The US Department of Defense aka Military is one of the largest contributors of hazardous waste contamination of the environment world-wide. And it seems that Tinker Air Force Base, which is located over the aquifer that supplies water to Norman, and Oklahoma City, and a large part of Central Oklahoma, had been contaminating the areas watershed and aquifer for years. The toxic chemicals that have breached the water table and entered the source water for the area population are so bad, that the site is a EPA Superfund Site. One of two in the area…the other is a toxic waste dump/municipal landfill that I have not even touched on. This dump is no longer operational, but I can only imagine the problems that it is causing. However, that is a topic for another time. What I have been concerned with is Hexavalent Chromium and the main source of this toxic chemical is the process of chrome plating objects, like the airplanes that were worked on at Tinker AFB.

Residents of Norman, OK should be concerned. Just because the local area government officials seem to be down-playing the entire EWG study and findings.

City’s public water supply meets EPA requirements >> Editorials >> The Norman Transcript

Norman’s inclusion in the 35-city tap water test done by the Washington, D.C. -based Environmental Working Group came about because of the known quantities of chromium. Our wells, drilled into the Garber Wellington aquifer, have a total chromium of between 20 and 80 parts per billion compared to an EPA total chromium limit of 100 ppb.

[…]

City officials say they haven’t tested water for hexavalent — known as chromium-6 — because it’s not required by the EPA or the state. That may change down the road but for now, our water supply meets all of the required standards.

[…]

California environmentalists are pushing to set a chromium-6 limit of .06 parts per billion in their state’s drinking water supply. Norman’s chromium-6 level, according to the EWG test, would be about 200 times higher than that limit.

Norman’s water supply is a blended mixture of well water, Lake Thunderbird water and, when needed, treated Oklahoma City water. New arsenic standards forced the city to take 15 wells off line in years past. If the EPA sets a standard for chromium 6 and our water does not meet it, more wells will likely have to be taken off line.

City official:Norman’s water in compliance >> Headlines >> The Norman Transcript

Even though news that Norman’s drinking water tested the highest for hexavalent chromium among 35 cities in an independent study, the city’s utilities director isn’t going into panic mode.

Ken Komiske, the head of the city’s water utility, said that while the study by the Environmental Working Group certainly raises alarms, he wasn’t ready to declare Norman’s water unsafe.

“You just don’t take one report and make a bunch of rash decisions based on it,” Komiske said. “We’ve been testing our water as we’re required to by the state and federal governments, and we’re in full compliance.”

[…]

The study by the EWG, released Monday, showed that Norman’s levels were 12.90 parts per billion.

“That’s quite a difference,” Komiske said. “We’re talking an extremely tiny amount [of chromium-6] that was detected here [in Norman].”

Komiske said he’s been told that the chromium-6 is most likely naturally occurring and not the byproduct of nearby airports, industrial facilities or military bases.

But that doesn’t mean the city is doing nothing about the EWG’s findings.

“We’re digging around, we’re getting more information about it,” Komiske said. “We rely on scientific, peer-reviewed studies and we’ll do the same here.”

“There are no enforceable federal standards to protect the public from hexavalent chromium in tap water,” read a letter from the senators to EPA chief Lisa Jackson.

[…]

The EPA will determine whether to make any regulation changes in respect to chromium levels once the assessment is finalized some time next year.

For now, the federal limit for total chromium is 100 parts per billion, which is well above Norman’s levels.

[…]

Chromium-6 is a known carcinogen that’s been found to cause liver, lymph node and intestinal damage in the past.

Oh, they are “digging around” but this is serious business, don’t let the nonchalant attitude fool you. If I lived in Norman, or in the area that gets water from the Gerber Wellington Aquifer, I would not drink the water, or cook with it, or bathe in it. But that is just me…Komiske says that there is only a “tiny amount” of Chrome 6, well think about it, Chrome 6 causes cancer…period. You can’t be a “little” bit pregnant, you either are or you’re not. The fact that these people are being exposed to hazardous chemicals in their drinking water, and have the higher cancer rates to show for it, is enough for me to be more than worried about if the local government is concerned with public safety. I will get to those cancer rates shortly. I want to add a couple other statements from John Harrington, Division Director Water Resources, Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG). Here is the website for ACOG’s Water Services.

Mr. Harrington recently gave some remarks to the Norman Register: Chromium-6 found throughout area >> Headlines >> The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A water expert with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments says the findings of an independent study released earlier in the week should be no surprise for those who know the Garber-Wellington aquifer.

John Harrington, director of water resources for ACOG, said he believes the findings of the Environmental Working Group — which showed that Norman had the highest levels of chromium-6 among the 35 cities sampled during the group’s study — are a result of the chemical makeup of the Garber-Wellington, nothing more.

“I believe these are natural levels of soluble [chromium-6] in the aquifer,” he said. “The presence of [chromium-6] in the aquifer is well-documented.”

From 1987 to 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey sampled 90 water wells throughout central Oklahoma (the location of the Garber-Wellington) and found chromium-6 levels ranging from less than one part per billion all the way up to 93 parts per billion.

For perspective, the federal limit for total chromium in drinking water, which is set by the Environmental Protection Agency, is 100 parts per billion.

[…]

“Heavy metals are not unusual in the Garber sands,” Harrington said. “The most famous is barite, from which we get our state rock, the barite rose.”

Noble, which is just south of Norman, is often called “The Rose Rock Capital of the World.”

Further evidence of heavy metals in the Garber-Wellington came in 2006 when the city was forced to shut down about half of its groundwater wells after the EPA lowered what was considered accepted levels of arsenic in drinking water.

“So it comes as no surprise that other minerals containing heavy metals, such as chromite (a mineral that contains chromium), would also be present in this area,” Harrington said. “Ground water chemistry would reflect the chemical composition of the rock the water is flowing through.”

As for other sources of the chromium-6, Harrington said he wasn’t aware of any facilities in the Oklahoma City area that produce or use it.

Oh, isn’t that nice…the Rose Rock Capital of the World. Harrington says he isn’t aware of a place in the area that would be producing Chrome 6? Reports about the contamination from Tinker AFB are easily accessible.

This image was from a presentation done by the USGS for the Oklahoma Water Board regarding the Garber Wellington aquifer. So concerns about contamination from the industrial processes in the area was mentioned in 2009.  Maybe Harrington missed that meeting? (Note that the study the USGS cites is dated from 1987.) Maybe this 2008 land use report that the ACOG has published is clouding Harrington’s memory of Tinker AFB, Building 3001 and Soldier Creek? Check this out:

Cooperation, collaboration and future visioning are key tenets to a study that is currently being conducted between Tinker Air Force Base and the greater Oklahoma City metropolitan region.

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) serves as the primary sponsor of the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS), which is funded by the US Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment.

The study is a cooperative land use planning effort. It is designed to promote community growth and development that is compatible with Tinker’s training and operational missions.

I don’t think this guy has the public safety at heart. He is part of the association that brings development to the area. Toxic drinking water is bad PR, you would think that more questions would be raised from the local media. Here are some links to media articles from the area…it is interesting to read these when you know the facts about Chrome 6.

Norman gets more from Garber-Wellington aquifer | Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City) | Find Articles at BNET

The article above is from 2008, Norman had to get more permits to tap into the Garber Wellington aquifer. So more contaminated water is being used in the system.

Erin Brockovich, chromium and cancer | NewsOK.com

Norman water’s level of chromium-6 is 200 times California’s proposed limit | NewsOK.com

California chromium 6 regulation a contentious and lengthy process | NewsOK.com

Safety questions remain on chromium 6 | NewsOK.com

City asks EWG for specifics >> Headlines >> The Norman Transcript

Voices of Oklahoma >> Beyond The Tap: Q&A on Norman water issues

Judge Approves Questioning of Schlumberger Employee and Resident – KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

What I find interesting too, is the tone of the articles regarding Chromium 3. There is a lot of mention that is a “good” thing and a necessary nutrient for healthy living. And that Chromium 6 is known to change into Chromium 3 in the body…well they do not discuss the toxic reactions of that change from Chrome 6 to Chrome 3. If you read the last post of mine, you can see technical proof of the health problems this conversion can cause.

The area’s annual cancer incidence rate is also a bit alarming. The top 4 counties that have higher rates than the US average are Oklahoma, Tulsa, Cleveland, Canadian. Of these counties, Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian counties get their tap water from the Garber Wellington aquifer. I don’t think this is a coincidence.

And if you think the EPA is going to set a maximum amount for Chromium 6 in drinking/tap water, think again. According to this EPA’s Lisa Jackson Has Checkered Chromium Record | CommonDreams.org

New Jersey Tenure Marked by Stifling Health Warnings on Deadly Substance

WASHINGTON – December 27 – Three days before Christmas, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson promised swift action on the presence of hexavalent chromium (or chromium-6, the substance made famous by Erin Brockovich in California) in drinking water after meeting with 10 U.S. Senators. During her tenure as the top environmental official in New Jersey, however, Jackson stalled or minimized health warnings on chromium-6, including those from her own staff, according to materials posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Despite being seemingly taken by surprise by the Environmental Working Group findings of chromium in drinking water, from her very first until her last days as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from 2005 to 2008, Jackson wrestled with increasingly dire scientific findings that raised big questions about how protective her department’s policies were, including –

A DEP risk assessment that found current New Jersey standards for chromium 6 in soil are more than 200 times laxer than needed to protect public health. While this assessment was about soil, it pointed to risks from ingestion in water and recommended review of stomach cancer rates near contaminated sites. That assessment has yet to be translated into standards;

A DEP scientist-whistleblower who revealed state sampling data showing that individual cancer risks from continued presence of airborne chromium may be as high as 1 in 10 at some sites the state has declared to be clean. Nonetheless, Commissioner Jackson lifted the moratorium on chromium cleanups, thus allowing more inadequate site remediations to proceed;

A 2008 DEP health assessment that found heightened risks of lung cancer from exposure to airborne chromium in the Jersey suburbs of the New York metropolitan area; and

Newspaper exposés documenting that scientific fraud by consultants and improper industry influence led to relaxed DEP cleanup standards for chromium, saving corporate polluters hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced cleanup costs.

None of these developments were met with substantive reforms, however. “For years Lisa Jackson has reacted to blaring chromium alarms as if each one was news to her,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, pointing to cities like Garfield. “Thousands of people in New Jersey remain as vulnerable to chromium risks as they ever were.” Compounding the problem was that Jackson and her top deputies took actions to cut off the flow of new scientific information rather than addressing underlying risks, such as –

Abolishing the DEP Division of Science & Research which produced the chromium risk assessments and replacing it with an advisory body with industry representation;

Removing the DEP whistleblower, Zoe Kelman, from chromium-related assignments and denying her meaningful work. Kelman eventually resigned in disgust; and

Issuing “gag” orders prohibiting scientists from disclosing agency data to any outside parties “until it is ready for public distribution.”

“Chromium in water is a concern but it is also of concern in the air and soil. We need a comprehensive national response to chromium in all media,” added Ruch. “Our fear is that we will see the New Jersey pattern of promises but no follow-through repeated at EPA.”

Follow the link to the Common Dreams site, they have listed sources for this recent article.

With the knowledge of just how many US Military sites are contributing to the contamination of environments around the world, I do not think that the EPA is “gung-ho” on setting a limit for Hexavalent Chromium in drinking water. The liability is far to great…the cost of cleaning up the mess, as well as any legal settlements paid out, are so enormous…I just think the DoD is really pushing for all this Hex Chrome to “Poof” go away. Let’s see what 2011 brings. The EPA is giving its decision on Chromium 6 sometime this year. I hope they “man up” and do something for the people and their safety. But you won’t be seeing me placing any bets on the EPA setting a maximum level for Hexavalent Chromium, and having federal regulations passed any time soon.