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Decade of Research Reveals Cancer Danger in Town's Drinking Water

Scientists show that the controversial chemical made famous in the film "Erin Brockovich" is indeed carcinogenic in water.

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EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones said Thursday that hexavalent chromium is among 20 compounds selected in 2008 for review by the agency's Office of Research and Development. When officials there analyze all scientific literature, including the new study, they then will decide whether to change the old toxicity levels used to set standards for water and soil cleanup, she said.

Cleanup of Hinkley's contaminated water -- an underground plume that is two miles long and one mile wide -- began in the late 1980s and is continuing, according to California Water Resources Control Board documents. The contamination is still spreading, so the state issued its latest cleanup order to PG&E in August.

Brockovich, now president of a consulting firm, has since fought other legal battles related to chromium and other pollutants.


Marla Cone is the Editor in Chief of Environmental Health News.