You are on page 1of 39

CHROMIUM POISONING!

Why Should You Care?


Chromium is a toxic metal which occurs in many forms and, depending on conditions and temperature, can change from the common form of trivalent chromium (Chromium 3) to the more dangerous form of hexavalent chromium or (Chromium 6). Hexavalent chromium is in our water and in our air and it can cause cancer. An estimated 558,000 workers in the United States are potentially exposed to chromium and chromium-containing compounds in the workplace. In many occupations, workers are exposed to both trivalent chromium (Chromium [III]) and Chromium (VI), as soluble and insoluble materials. At least 74 million Americans in 42 states drink chromium-polluted tap water, much of it probably tainted with hexavalent chromium 6, according to studies by the nonprofit Oakland-based Environmental Working Group. They also found chromium 6 in tap water from 31 of 35 cities tested last year, with some of the highest levels in Riverside (1.69 ppb) and San Jose (1.34 ppb). California environmental officials have detected hexavalent chromium in the drinking water of an estimated 13 million people in 52 of the state's 58 counties, including Los Angeles. In Hinkley, California, some hexavalent chromium plumes are growing in size and maximum concentrations near the gas compressor station are far worse than originally reported. A recent peer review of the much touted PG&E background report on hexavalent chromium was a scathing critique of the companies sampling methods and analysis techniques. Given these developments
1

and the new studies showing drinking water cancer risks for hexavalent chromium exposure, many of the blog complaints about the validity of the Hinkley case and the Erin Brockovich arguments appear to be unfounded. In July 2011, the California EPA set a public health goal for hexavalent Chromium in drinking water at 0.02 parts per billion or 20 parts per trillion. In Missouri, hundreds of farmers used free sludge as fertilizer which was contaminated with chromium 6. There is a four county cancer cluster of brain tumors which has been associated with this toxic waste dumping over the last 25 years. Other areas of the country may also have been contaminated since the EPA has not normally tested sludge for hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium (VI) is recognized as a human carcinogen via inhalation. Workers in many different occupations are exposed to hexavalent chromium. Problematic exposure is known to occur among workers who handle chromate-containing products (such as in tanning) as well as those who perform welding, grinding, or brazing on stainless steel. Last year, for the first time it was recognized by the EPA as a likely cancer causing chemical element in drinking water.

Proven and Probable Carcinogens.


The carcinogenity of chromate dust (Chromium 6) has been known for a long time, and in 1890 the first publication described the elevated lung cancer risk of workers in a chromate dye company. The EPA has classified chromium (VI) as a known human carcinogen by the inhalation route of exposure, but until recently, the oral route of exposure has been disputed. However, the Sept 2010 preliminary Toxic Review of Hexavalent Chromium was a reassessment of the noncancer and cancer health effects associated with the oral route of exposure only. According to the EPA report, hexavalent chromium is likely to be carcinogenic to humans via the oral route of exposure based on a statistically significant increase in the incidence of tumors of the oral mucosa and tongue of rats and of the small intestine of mice, and evidence of an association between oral exposure to hexavalent chromium and stomach cancer in humans Additionally, available evidence indicates that chromium interacts with DNA, resulting in DNA damage and mutagenesis Based on the weight of the available evidence, hexavalent chromium is proposed to act through a mutagenic mode of carcinogenic actionHexavalent chromium compounds are also genotoxic carcinogens. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),and the EPA have determined that chromium(VI) compounds are known human carcinogens. In workers, inhalation of chromium(VI) has been shown to cause lung cancer. Chromium(VI) also causes lung cancer in animals. An increase in stomach tumors was observed in humans and animals exposed to chromium(VI) in drinking water.

Sources, Occurrence
Naturally occurring chromium is usually present as trivalent Cr (III). Hexavalent Cr (VI) in the environment is almost totally derived from human activities Chromium can be found in air, soil, and water after release from the manufacture, use, and disposal of chromium-based products, and during the manufacturing process. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Toxics Release Inventory, environmental releases of chromium compounds since reporting began in 1988 were lowest in 2001 (about half the average from 1988 to 2000). In 2007, 1,384 facilities released 12 million pounds of chromium, and 1,147 facilities released 51 million pounds of chromium compounds. The 100 facilities with the largest releases accounted for most of the total amounts released.

Virtually all chromium ore is processed via hexavalent chromium, specifically the salt sodium dichromate. Approximately 136,000,000 kilograms (300 million pounds) of hexavalent chromium were produced in 1985. Other hexavalent chromium compounds are chromium trioxide and various salts of chromate and dichromate. Hexavalent chromium is used for the production of stainless steel, textile dyes, wood preservation, leather tanning, and as anti-corrosion and conversion coatings as well as a variety of niche uses. Primer paint containing hexavalent chromium is still widely used for aerospace and automobile refinishing applications.

Chromium hexavalent (CrVI) compounds, often called hexavalent chromium, exist in several forms. Industrial uses of hexavalent chromium compounds include chromate pigments in dyes, paints, inks, and plastics; chromates added as anticorrosive agents to paints, primers, and other surface coatings; and chromic acid electroplated onto metal parts

to
5

provide a decorative or protective coating. Hexavalent chromium can also be formed when performing "hot work" such as welding on stainless steel or melting chromium metal. In these situations the chromium is not originally hexavalent, but the high temperatures involved in the process result in oxidation that converts the chromium to a hexavalent state. Chrome-plating sources are estimated to contribute 700 metric tons of chromium per year to atmospheric pollution, 100% of which is believed to be Chromium (VI). Chromium waste slag containing potentially hazardous levels of Cr (VI) compounds was used as fill material at more than 160 residential, industrial, and recreational sites. Persons living or working in the vicinity of the sites may have been exposed through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact with contaminated soils and dusts

Pollution History
Human studies of possible associations between oral exposures to environmental hexavalent chromium and health outcomes include several epidemiology studies in which health outcomes (primarily cancer) were evaluated among populations that resided near sources of industrial waste containing hexavalent chromium compounds in Liaoning Province, China, Kings County/San Bernardino County, California, Nebraska and Glasgow, United Kingdom. In addition to these studies, two cases of Hodgkins disease in residents of Hinkley, California, where hexavalent chromium was used as a cooling additive at a local gas plant, were described in a case report.

China
Several villages were investigated for oral chromium exposure after their water turned yellow in Liaoning Province. An association was found between the distance to the plant and mortality from stomach and lung cancer. Liaoning Province studies provide the most detailed analysis of all of the epidemiological studies that have been conducted with respect to chromium and cancer mortality (specifically stomach cancer or other cancers of the digestive system). These studies are important in that they examined a population exposed to very high levels of chromium in drinking water wells (i.e., sufficient to impart a visible yellow color to the water). Sources of exposure include the drinking water, food grown in contaminated soil, and possibly air. Levels up to 20 mg/L (20ppm) in well water were documented in the first surveys done in 1965 in the two villages closest to the source of exposure (a ferrochromium alloy plant). The contamination began sometime between 1959 and 1964; the reporting of a yellowing of the water by local residents in 1964 is what led to the investigation and identification of this contamination by the local health department. The multiple studies provided evidence of an excess risk in the villages in the contamination zone of mortality from stomach cancer (rate ratio 1.69, 95% CI 1.122.44) and lung cancer (rate ratio 1.78, 95% CI 1.032.87), with a small increase also suggested in total cancer mortality (rate ratio 1.23, 95% CI 0.971.53).

Iraq
In 2008, defense contractor KBR was alleged to have exposed 16 members of the Indiana National Guard, as well as its own workers, to hexavalent chromium in Iraq in 2003. Later, 433 members of the Oregon National Guard's 162nd Infantry Battalion were informed of possible exposure to hexavalent chromium while escorting KBR (a former subsidiary of Halliburton) contractors. In 2003 before the invasion of Iraq, the Army Corps of Engineers signed a no-bid contract with KBR to restore oil production after combat ended. A key site was a Soviet-built plant at Qarmat Ali where water from the Tigris River was injected to drive oil in nearby fields to the surface. The water was treated with sodium dichromate, a rust fighter that contains hexavalent chromium, a welldocumented carcinogen. The Inspector General reported Sept. 17 that 977 men and women from Oregon, Indiana, West Virginia and South Carolina National Guard units and the Corps of Engineers served at the plant. Among them were 277 Oregon Guard between late April and July 2003. But the troops didn't know piles of fine orange powder that coated their uniforms was dangerous until 2008, when KBR employees testified of their own health problems at Senate hearings on contractor waste, fraud and abuse. Soldiers filed suit in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and Oregon. One of the National Guard soldiers, David Moore, died in February 2008. The cause was lung disease at age 42. His death was ruled service-related. His brother believes it was hexavalent chromium. As a result, 26 Oregon veterans filed a lawsuit against the company. In response, several Oregon lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to increase accountability for military contracting by requiring disclosure of the presence of unusually hazardous or nuclear risks. KBR has dismissed the allegations against it as 'unproven, incorrect and baseless.' According to the Oregonian, During depositions in U.S. District Court in Portland, a KBR attorney revealed he'd secured a secret agreement that requires taxpayers -- not KBR -- to pay for any death, injury or property damage during the Restore Iraqi Oil contract.

Greece
The chemistry of the groundwater in eastern Central Greece (central Euboea and the Asopos valley) revealed high concentrations of hexavalent chromium in groundwater systems sometimes exceeding the Greek and the EU drinking water maximum acceptable level
8

for total chromium. Hexavalent chromium pollution here is associated with industrial waste. The contamination of water by hexavalent chromium in central Euboea is mainly linked to natural processes, but there are anthropogenic cases

Australia
Kooragang Island, New South Wales Hexavalent Chromium was released from the Newcastle Orica explosives plant on the 8th August 2011. Up to 20 workers at the plant were exposed and 70 nearby homes in Stockton. The town was not notified until 3 days after the release of the Hexavalent Chromium and a slight uproar of the townsfolk occurred.

Regulation
The United States Environmental Protection Agency set a standard of no more than 0.1 mg/L (100 parts per billion) of total chromium in 1991. This includes both chromium VI and less toxic forms. There is currently no drinking water limit established by the EPA specifically for Chromium VI. The agency began a toxicology study in 2008, following a report by the National Toxicology Program. EPA released a draft scientific assessment in September 2010 and expects to begin rulemaking in 2011 or 2012 based on the final assessment. As of 2010, the California Environmental Protection Agency had proposed a goal of 0.06 parts per billion, despite a 2001 state law requiring a standard be set by 2005. A final Public Health Goal of 0.02 ppb was established in July 2011. In the U.S., the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for airborne exposures to hexavalent chromium is 5 g/m3 (0.005 mg/m3) as of May 2010. For drinking water, no United States EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) exists. California has finalized a Public Health Goal of 0.02 parts per billion (ppb or micrograms per liter) and is now in the process of establishing an enforceable MCL

10

Symptoms
Acute
Breathing high levels of chromium(VI) can cause irritation to the lining of the nose, nose ulcers, runny nose, and breathing problems, such as asthma, cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing. The concentrations of chromium in air that can cause these effects may be different for different types of chromium compounds, with effects occurring at much lower concentrations for chromium(VI) compared to chromium(III). Oral intake of Cr (VI) compound may cause: intense gastrointestinal irritation or ulceration and corrosion, epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo, fever, muscle cramps, hemorrhagic diathesis, toxic nephritis, renal failure, intravascular hemolysis, circulatory collapse, liver damage, acute multisystem organ failure, and coma, and even death, depending on the dose The main health problems seen in animals following ingestion of chromium (VI) compounds are irritation and ulcers in the stomach and small intestine and anemia. Chromium (III) compounds are much less toxic and do not appear to cause these problems. Sperm damage and damage to the male reproductive system have also been seen in laboratory animals exposed to chromium (VI).
11

Skin contact with certain chromium (VI) compounds can cause skin ulcers. Some people are extremely sensitive to chromium (VI) or chromium (III). Penetration of the skin will cause painless erosive ulceration (chrome holes) with delayed healing. These commonly occur on the fingers, knuckles, and forearms. The characteristic chrome sore begins as a papule, forming an ulcer with raised hard edges. Ulcers can penetrate deep into soft tissue or become the site of secondary infection, but are not known to lead to malignancy Chromium Allergic dermatitis reactions consisting of severe redness and swelling of the skin have been noted. Chromium allergic dermatitis is characterized by symptoms of dryness, erythema, fissuring, papules, scaling, small vesicles, and swelling According to the ATSDR, Accidental or intentional ingestion of extremely high doses of chromium (VI) compounds by humans has resulted in severe respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological, hepatic, renal, and neurological effects No studies were located regarding death in humans after acute inhalation of chromium or chromium compounds.

12

Chronic
The EPA has determined that chromium (VI) compounds are known human carcinogens. In workers, inhalation of chromium (VI) has been shown to cause lung cancer. Chromium (VI) also causes lung cancer in animals. An increase in stomach tumors was observed in humans and animals exposed to chromium (VI) in drinking water. Chronic inhalation of hexavalent chromium compounds increases risk of lung cancer (lungs are especially vulnerable, followed by fine capillaries in kidneys and intestine). Soluble compounds, like chromic acid, are much weaker carcinogens. Chromate-dyed textiles or chromate-tanned leather shoes can cause or exacerbate contact dermatitis. Ingestion of chromium VI can also cause irritation or ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Pulmonary irritant effects following inhalation of chromium dust can include: asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic irritation, chronic pharyngitis, chronic rhinitis

13

Diagnosis and Testing


Since chromium (III) is an essential element and naturally occurs in food, there will always be some level of chromium in your body. Chromium can be measured in hair, urine, and blood. Chromium concentrations in whole blood, plasma, serum or urine may be measured to monitor for safety in exposed workers, to confirm the diagnosis in potential poisoning victims or to assist in the forensic investigation in a case of fatal overdose.
14

If exposure was recent, chromium levels in blood or urine may be used to confirm exposure. Renal function should be tested (urinalysis, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and 2 microglobulin) to determine if renal tubular damage has occurred. When obtaining biologic specimens for chromium analysis, care must be taken to avoid sample contamination and chromium loss during collection, transportation, and storage. For example, use of stainless steel utensils to collect tissue samples might raise tissue chromium levels, as will stainless steel grinding and homogenizing equipment. Some plastic containers contain significant amounts of leachable chromium; therefore, specially prepared acid-washed containers should be obtained from the laboratory. Considerable care also must be taken in the analysis to minimize chromium volatilization during sample washing.

15

Treatments
The acute toxicity of chromium (VI) is due to its strong oxidational properties. After it reaches the blood stream, it damages the kidneys, the liver and blood cells through oxidation reactions. Hemolysis, renal and liver failure are the results of these damages. Aggressive dialysis can improve the situation. Acute Cr (VI) poisonings are often fatal regardless of the therapy used. The average oral lethal dose of Cr (VI) in humans is 1-3 grams (Meditext 2005). Chelation with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) does not seem to be of clinical benefit. Fluid and electrolyte balance is critical. Affected patients should be monitored carefully for evidence of: gastrointestinal bleeding, hemolysis, coagulopathy, seizures, and pulmonary dysfunction Appropriate supportive measures may include ventilatory support, cardiovascular support, and renal and hepatic function monitoring. When renal function is compromised, maintenance of adequate urine flow is important. Progression to anuria is associated with poor prognosis.

16

Induction of vomiting is contraindicated, owing to the potential corrosive effects of the chromium compounds and the potential for rapid deterioration of the patient. Gastric lavage with magnesium hydroxide or another antacid might be useful in cases of chromium ingestion. The efficacy of activated charcoal has not been proven. Orally administered ascorbic acid was found to be protective in experimental animals and was reported beneficial in at least one patient after chromium ingestion; however, no clinical trials have been conducted to confirm the efficacy of this treatment. Exchange transfusion was effective in reducing blood chromium levels 67% in one case of chromium poisoning, using 10.9 L of blood. Existing evidence does not allow the conclusion that exchange transfusion generally should be employed, however. In most patients with chronic low-dose exposure, no specific treatment is needed. The mainstay of management is removing the patient from further exposure. If the exposure has been to high levels or lengthy, the increased risk of lung cancer should be discussed with the patient

17

Risks
Chromium (VI) is generally considered 1,000 times more toxic than Chromium (III) by the EPA. The first epidemiological study of chromate production workers in the United States that demonstrated an association with lung cancer was conducted with 1,445 workers in seven plants engaged in the extraction of chromates from ore from 1930 to 1947. The percentage death due to cancer of the respiratory system was 21.8%; the percentage expected was 1.4%. In another key epidemiological study involving workers at a chromate production plant who had worked at the plant for more than 1 year from 1931 to 1949, the percentage of deaths due to lung cancer was 18.2%; the percentage expected was 1.2%. For the 332 workers first employed from1931 to 1937, the percentage of deaths due to lung cancer was close to 60% of all cancer deaths, with a latency period of approximately 30 years. Stratified analysis of lung cancer mortality showed a trend of increasing mortality with higher cumulative exposure levels. The analyses stratified duration of employment and time since first exposure indicate a consistency of results among those employed the longest and with the longest elapsed time since first exposure. The latter suggests a latency period of approximately 20 -35 years, which is compatible with other research

Appearance
Chromium is a hard steel-gray metal that is highly resistant to oxidation (rust), even at high temperatures. It is odorless, tasteless and malleable. It is the sixth most abundant element in the earths crust, where it is combined with iron and oxygen in the form of chromite ore.

18

Map Distribution

Source: EWG 2009 US Map Showing Chromium in Tap Water

19

In 2010, the Environmental Working Group studied the drinking water in 35 American cities. They concluded at least 74 million Americans in 42 states drink chromium-polluted tap water, much of it likely in the cancer-causing hexavalent form. The study was the first nationwide analysis measuring the presence of the chemical in U.S. water systems. The study found measurable hexavalent chromium in the tap water of 31 of the cities sampled, with Norman, Oklahoma, at the top of list; 25 cities had levels that exceeded California's proposed limit at that time.

20

Case Studies

Hinkley, California
There have been several important new studies in the Hinkley area in 2011 which California EPA is about to review for the residents and stakeholders in December 2011. Note that there is a Public Information Meeting scheduled for Dec 8, 2011 at the Hinkley Elementary School from 6:30 to 8 pm Topics: Whole House water replacement order Oct 2011 Results of the Fall 2011 groundwater monitoring Env. Impact Report Development Update Summary of Peer Review Comment on 2007 background Chromium study.

21

Hinkley Area Map with Superfund Sites Overlain to Stomach Cancer Death Rate in Males (Hinkley near center with highest death rates in darker blue colors)

The town of Hinkley in the Mojave Desert of California had its groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium, resulting in a legal case and multi-million dollar settlement. The legal case was dramatically portrayed in the film, Erin Brockovich, released in 2000. Samples taken in Aug 2010 showed that the plume of chromium 6 contaminated water highlighted in the film has started to migrate into the lower aquifer and spread out.

22

Hinkley Map Showing Changes in Northern Extent of the Plume (increased Plume in dark yellow & decreased plume in blue) Hexavalent chromium was found in drinking water. The 0.58 ppm Chromium VI in the groundwater in Hinkley exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 0.10 ppm for total Chromium currently set by the EPA. It also exceeded the California MCL of 0.05 ppm (as of November 2008) for total chromium. Note that since no MCL exists for Chromium VI, the total Chromium
23

standards apply. In July 2011, the Calif. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment established a Public Health Goal for hexavalent Chromium at 0.02 ppb or 20 parts per trillion.

Hinkley Map Showing Southern Extent of Plume near Compressor Station A study released in 2010 by the California Cancer Registry showed that cancer rates in Hinkley "remained unremarkable from 1988 to 2008." An epidemiologist involved in the study said that "the 196 cases of cancer reported during the most recent survey of 1996 through 2008 were less than what he would expect based on demographics and the regional rate of cancer." However, considering the survey spanned a time period of 22 to 32 years after PG&Es discontinued use of hexavalent chromium, it is unknown how many cancer cases were not included in the study due to the relocation of families or the untimely deaths of afflicted residents of Hinkley. One reviewer noted that 196 cases over 12 years for a population of 1915 equates to roughly 853 cases per 100k population per year. By comparison San Bernardino County averaged 359/100k/yr over the same period.

Pacific Gas & Electric operates a compressor station in the town for natural gas transmission pipelines. The station uses large cooling towers to cool the compressors. The water used in these cooling towers contained hexavalent chromium to prevent rust
24

in the machinery. Since the water was stored between uses in unlined ponds, it ultimately severely contaminated the groundwater in the town. Some of the wastewater percolated into the groundwater 80 feet below, affecting an area near the plant approximately two miles long and nearly a mile wide.

Index Map and W-E Cross Section of Plume (in yellow)

N-S Cross Section of Chromium Plume with highest conc. in purple (seen index map above for legend)
25

The PG&E Topock Compressor Station averaged 7.8ppb and peaked at 31.8ppb based on the PG&E Background Study. Compare to the California proposed health goal of 0.06 ppb which was finalized as 0.02 ppb. The same day the study came out, the plume of contaminated water was reported to be spreading. According to the Second Quarter 2011 Groundwater Monitoring Report reported by the California Regional Water Quality Board previously posted on the Calif. EPA website, the highest level of hexavalent chromium detected in groundwater was 7,800 micrograms per liter which is 7,800 parts per billion (ppb) or 7.8 parts per million (ppm). These extraordinarily high values are confirmed on the close-up of the map of the southern extent of the plume below. Concentrations of hexavalent chromium are present above background levels for at least the next mile north.

Close-up of the Southern Plume Extent Showing Highest Values Near Compressor Station (in orange)

26

PG&E had alerted the townsfolk earlier about the chromium but said that it was nothing to worry about, saying that chromium was in many multivitamins. After many arguments the case finally led to arbitration with maximum damages of $400 million. After the first 40 people received about $110 million, PG&E reassessed its position and decided it was a bad idea. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history. In 2006, PG&E agreed to pay $295 million to settle cases involving another 1,100 people statewide for chromium (VI) related claims. In 2008, PG&E settled the last of the cases involved with the Hinkley claims for $20 million.

27

Based on the Oct 2011 comments from the three reviewers comprising the Independent Peer Review of the much-touted PG&E Background Study, the study was severely flawed in approach, methodology and analytical procedures. Their critique included the following:

Peer Reviewer 1, James Jacobs, In summary, the natural Cr (VI) and Cr (T) levels will be difficult to assess since the entire area has had intense agricultural pumping from both Upper and Lower Aquifers for up to eight decades. Artificial recharge has also been occurring in certain locations, affecting the natural background conditions of Cr (T) and Cr (VI). The background study for both Cr (T) and Cr (VI) in the current form is inadequate and inaccurate for reasons given above. Detailed statistical evaluation of geochemical data coming from a majority of wells with unknown screen intervals or of screens covering commingled aquifers does not provide much scientific value... Properly performed statistics on inaccurate geochemical data are not valid.... On the basis of my understanding of the well construction information (or lack thereof) of the wells used for the background study of Cr(T) and Cr(VI), the scientific approach to this study is seriously flawed if wells used in the study do not have proper screens in one discrete aquifer zone. If these mixed-aquifer wells are used for the overall concentration maps for Cr(T) and Cr(VI), the maps will be in error and likely to underestimate the Cr(T) and Cr(VI) concentrations, since the wells screened over both the Upper and Lower Aquifer will have most of the water in the well bore derived from the cleaner Lower Aquifer. Reviewer 2, Stuart Nagourney. faulted some of the laboratory methodology and showed a high number of samples which failed the quality control criteria. Reviewer 3, Yoram Rubin, criticized the statistical validity of the hydrologic models.

28

To summarize, the uneven distribution of wells could lead to bias. There are known techniques that could handle the clustering effect, but none was carried out, to my understanding. So, expanding the area being sampled cannot compensate for the lack of discrete-depth samples.

29

Davenport, California
The Unified Air Pollution Control District reported high airborne levels of chromium (VI) at an elementary school and fire department in Davenport, California. The substance apparently originated from a local Cemex cement plant. The levels of chromium (VI) were eight times the air district's acceptable level at Pacific Elementary School and ten times at the Davenport Fire Department. The levels detected did not exceed EPA limits. However, the air samples taken by the air district from June to August at the elementary school and fire department in Davenport registered measurements of hexavalent chromium that were up to ten
30

times higher than allowed by Californian environmental standards. The case highlights the previously unrecognized possible release of chromium (VI) from cement-making.

Map of Midland Texas Area Overlain to Liver Disease Death Rate in Males (Highest Death Rates are in darker blue colors)

Midland, Texas
In June 2009, the ground water in Midland, Texas was found to be contaminated with chromium. The Midland groundwater reached higher levels of contamination than originally reported in Hinkley with 5250 ppb or 5.25 ppm. Hexavalent Chromium, Erin Brockovich said, is now being found in significant amounts in the water of over 40 homes in Midland. "The only difference between here and Hinkley," Brockovich said, "is that I saw higher levels here than I saw in Hinkley." Midland resident, Kay Saythre knew something was wrong, and asked Brockovich to investigate. "We didnt really understand why the water was yellow when we filled the pool," Saythre said. That's when Saythre and her neighbors learned their water is contaminated. Saythres next door neighbor, Sheldon Johnson, and his wife are experiencing health problems. They have both been diagnosed with kidney problems.
31

"Its kind of odd that two members of the same household basically have the same problem," Johnson said. Both Saythre and Johnson now have state-monitored filters on their water supply. Note that data on Kidney Cancer in this area is too sparse to report or display.

32

Illinois Chromium Superfund Sites Overlain to Stomach Cancer Death Rate for Males (Higher Rates are darker blue colors)

Chicago, Illinois
In Chicago's first ever testing for the toxic metal contaminant, results show that the city's local drinking water contains levels of hexavalent chromium more than 11 times higher than the health standard set in California in July of 2011. The results of the test showed that the water which is sent to over 7 million residents had average levels of .23 parts per billion (230 parts per trillion) of the toxic metal. California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment designated the nation's new "public heath goal" limit as .02 parts per billion. Echoing their counterparts in other cities where the metal has been detected, Chicago officials stress that local tap water is safe and suggest that if a national limit is adopted; it likely would be less stringent than California's goal.

33

Missouri Chromium Superfund Sites Overlain to Stomach Cancer Death Rate for Males (Higher Rates are darker blue colors)

Cameron, Missouri
In April 2009, a lawsuit was filed against Prime Tanning Corporation of St. Joseph, Missouri, over alleged hexavalent chromium contamination in Cameron, Missouri. An unusually high number of residents of the small town have developed brain tumors, with at least 70 cases diagnosed since 1996. According to 2000 census data, the total population for the town was only 8,312. The lawsuit alleges that the tumors were caused by waste hexavalent chromium that had been distributed to local farmers as free fertilizer. Legal proceedings are still ongoing involving Erin Brockovich as a representative for the residents. .

34

Thousands of tons of the sludge containing the chemical was applied on farm ground in Andrew, Buchanan, DeKalb and Clinton counties, the suit says, as a way for Prime Tanning to avoid paying for disposing of it in a landfill. The EPA is investigating the claims. To date, the investigation has identified approximately 773 separate distributions of sludge to 116 farmers in Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton and DeKalb counties between 1983 and 2008. EPA and Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources (MDNR) are working to determine similar information about the tannery's sludge distributions since 2008. On May 1, 2009, MDNR and EPA staff collected a total of eight soil samples from three farms Andrew, Buchanan and DeKalb counties where sludge from Prime Tanning or National Beef Leathers is known to have been spread. Chromium (VI) was detected in five of the eight samples, at levels ranging from 20 to 49 parts per million. MDNR, EPA and Missouri Dept. of Senior Services (MDHSS) have set a screening level of 86 parts per million for chromium (VI), meaning that any detections above that level could warrant closer investigation. One former employee said he worked at the company more than 20 years ago in a processing area where hair was removed from the hide. He said he and his coworkers frequently got rashes from chemicals used in the process, and he said they were never given or advised to wear protective clothing. in

35

Jersey City New Jersey


According to the New Jersey Dept. of Env. Protection. During much of the twentieth century, waste material from the production of chromate was deposited in many locations in Jersey City. Some of this material was used as fill in construction and some of this material was simply disposed in convenient locations. This waste material contained hexavalent chromiumThe locations where this waste was used or disposed eventually became characterized as waste sites. Hexavalent chromium was found in the dust in all of the houses sampled in Jersey City and all of the houses in the reference study In Jersey City, two percent of the samples, or six out of 289 samples, had concentrations higher than 20 ppm (parts per million). Two percent of samples taken from households in other urban communities were also higher than 20 ppm. In each of the samples from Jersey City and the background communities, when a house had a sample higher than 20 ppm, it came from a single sample on a single surface in that house. In all cases, that surface was wood The scientific literature suggests that household materials, including some wood stains used in the past, may be a source of hexavalent chromium in household dust.

36

Things to Avoid!
People who live near industrial facilities that use chromium (VI) compounds or near chromium waste disposal sites have the greatest potential for exposure. They should avoid direct contact with contaminated soils and avoid water polluted with chromium 6. Children should avoid playing in soils near uncontrolled hazardous waste sites where chromium may have been discarded. Avoid tobacco smoke and stop smoking if possible. Smoking may act synergistically to increase risk and is itself a significant risk factor for lung cancer. Avoid smoking in enclosed spaces like inside the home or car in order to limit exposure to children and other family members. Avoid Breathing Chromium 6- It should be ensured that workers exposed to Cr (VI) are provided proper protective gear, trained, and medically monitored. Avoid chromium dust in the workplace = Wear proper personal protective equipment such as respiratory protection, protective clothing, eye protection, and gloves. Maintain a clean work area free of dust. Shower and change clothes immediately on completion of work. Leave or dispose of contaminated clothing at the work site. Do not track dust from the work area to the rest of the home. Do not smoke, eat, or drink in the work area. Wash hands well before eating, drinking, or smoking. Heed employer provided patient and worker education. Avoiding contact with older pressure treated lumber CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate). This can reduce your risk of exposure to chromium. You may also have your water tested to ensure that you are not exposed to high levels of chromium. Avoid using contaminated water - Residents who use contaminated well water should be encouraged to use an alternative water source for drinking, cooking, and showering/bathing and any other use that results in dermal or oral exposure.

37

Avoid household dust - General dust reducing procedures like using doormats at the entrances to the home (to keep out outdoor dust) and mopping floors with a damp mop (rather than sweeping) and damp wiping surfaces, are useful. Reducing dust in your home is the best short term solution. Avoid consuming Chromium (VI). Regularly washing hands and washing any toys that children may put in their mouths is also helpful in reducing exposure. Although chromium (III) is an essential nutrient, you should avoid excessive use of dietary supplements containing chromium.

For More Information see websites.


Were you poisoned www.wereyoupoisoned,com http://wereyoupoisoned.yolasite.com
Toxicological Review of Chromium VI: in Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) (PDF) Hexavalent Chromium oral route of exposure.

http://oaspub.epa.gov/eims/eimscomm.getfile?p_download_id=498828

With hexavalent chromium lawsuit pending, Oregon Democrats ... www.oregonlive.com Health & Fitness News Breaking News Erin Brockovich Current Environmental Work http://www.brockovich.com/environmental.html
EPAs recommendations for enhanced monitoring for Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium-6) in Drinking Water http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/chromium/guidance.cfm Chromium-6 MCL Update - California Department of Public Health www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/drinkingwater/Pages/Chromium6.aspx Public Health Goal For Hexavalent Chromium In Drinking Water http://oehha.ca.gov/water/phg/pdf/Cr6PHG072911.pdf

38

Hinkley Compressor Station Chromium Contamination Cleanup http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb6/water_issues/projects/pge/index.shtml

Toxicological Profile for Chromium www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp7.pdf) o TOXFAQs for Chromium www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts7.html, National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic - Chromium - www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/chromium/ National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic - Hexavalent Chromium www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hexchrom/ OSHA Chemical Sampling Information - Chromium(VI) (Hexavalent Chromium) www.osha.gov/dts/chemicalsampling/data/CH_228697.html U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Technology Transfer Network - Air Toxics Web Site - Chromium Compounds www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/chromium.html OSHA regulations http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hexavalent chromium/index.html

39