Conscious Disregard, continued……..

I previously wrote about the poison Chromium VI which has leached into the rivers and streams of Glasgow City since Shaw Chemicals once processed chemicals in the highly industrial 19th and 20th centuries. Later, in April, I wrote about Industrial Chromium.

Just last month GlasgowLive ran a feature on a horrific image of leaching of the poison into a local river.

What do SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protections Agency) say about it? Efforts to remediate such poisoned land and soil are under way. But how many people have died from being poisoned by Chromium VI since the Shawfield area was contaminated over at least 80 years?

The area is being remediated through a funding body, Clyde Gateway. They said:

Clyde Gateway also confirmed at the time that there were still significant areas of land in the Shawfield area that had not been remediated, with discussions underway with a number of stakeholders – including the Scottish Government – to secure funding to complete the essential work which would improve water quality in the area.

Glasgow, (a major conurbation in Scotland) perhaps not surprisingly, suffers a higher rate of cancer than other European countries. The Chromium VI alone has not been removed from the region, as in the US, it seems it leaches into the groundwater and expands over time.

People cannot be blamed for drinking bottled water, if they can afford it, rather than drink water straight from the tap. Plastic bottles which have contained water often find their way into the Oceans. Factories which produce the bottles also pollute with chemicals as we know so well.

The ongoing battle to give Americans safe drinking water, free of chemicals, especially Chromium VI.

In the 1990s, Erin Brokovitch worked for a small law firm in Hinkley, California. She was a single parent with three children and was highly motivated to earn enough to pay her bills, getting no financial help from anyone. She worked diligently as a law clerk, and she spotted something in the files which made her ask questions, and the busy firm allowed her to seek the answers.

This led to unearthing evidence that the local industry of Pacific Gas & Electric ( PG&E ) had, since the 1950s, used the highly toxic hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium-6, to kill algae and protect the metal at its natural gas pumping station in Hinkley. Starting in 1952, the power company began mixing a toxic form of chromium with water to prevent rust at a new pipeline pumping station in Hinkley, a remote desert community united by a single school and a general store. PG&E dumped the chromium-laced water into a pond. The plume of contaminated groundwater has been growing ever since, and to the present day is still growing.

Hexavalent chromium is a highly reactive chemical that damages cells. The known health effects range from skin irritation to lung and stomach cancers. In the 1990s, hundreds of Hinkley residents claimed illnesses and other damages stemming from the contaminated water.

In 1996, Erin Brockovich helped more than 600 Hinkley residents win $333 million in settlements from PG&E for cancers and other illnesses they blamed on the chromium-tainted water from their wells. Their story was made famous in the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich.”

Sadly, the American system will not risk losing industries and therefore impact the economy and accepts needless harm from polluters will kill their citizens as a price worth paying. In 2004 an article strongly refuted the claim that Chromium VI could have such serious impacts on human health.

You only need to look at the list of members to learn this is a lobbying group of all the leading chemical industry corporates.

The graphic below is from Science Direct.

Lawyers deliberately confused the public about Chromium in the water, only referring to the variations which are not toxic. Anyone can look up the benefits of Chromium III and read Chromium (III)(Cr3 +) is an essential trace element, which is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. It helps in converting glucose into energy, promoting healthy blood glucose and blood pressure levels, and enhancing lean body mass by suppressing appetite.

We cannot have industry scientists reporting to their employers that some life endangering chemical is being released into the environment due to the activities of the company, only for them to be ordered to stall the public knowledge of this finding – see below cover of this report.

For the past 60 years, water polluted with chromium (VI) has plagued Hinkley, Calif., the desert town made famous by the film “Erin Brockovich.” Although residents there won their lawsuit against the polluter, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., there’s still a debate over whether the compound causes cancer in drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency says yes, but industry scientists disagree.

Miles O’Brien, PBS NewsHour

David Heath


Key Findings

  • Tens of millions of Americans drink water contaminated with chromium (VI), a compound the Environmental Protection Agency was poised in 2011 to conclude likely causes cancer. That finding would set the stage for setting stricter drinking-water standards.
  • The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, published a major rodent study in 2008 that concluded there was “clear evidence” chromium (VI) in water was a carcinogen.
  • The EPA’s assessment of chromium was delayed to wait for new studies paid for by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade group and lobbyist.
  • Some of the same industry-paid scientists involved in past efforts to stall government action on chromium worked on the studies delaying the EPA.
  • After delays of nearly a decade, the California Environmental Protection Agency declined to wait for the industry studies and issued its own finding in 2011 that chromium was a carcinogen in drinking water.
  • The EPA initially planned to complete its chromium (VI) assessment in 2015.
  • After the Center for Public Integrity and PBS NewsHour started asking questions about the delay, EPA posted a revised timetable for completing the assessment this year.

Wikipedia Entry:

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), formerly known as the Manufacturing Chemists’ Association[1] (at its founding in 1872[2]) and then as the Chemical Manufacturers’ Association[3] (from 1978 until 2000[4][5]), is an industry trade association for American chemical companies, based in Washington, D.C.

You can read a study explaining the occurrence of toxic groundwater from ancient history to present day which explains additional toxins put there by human carelessness. In other words, the tendency to protest about ancient toxins rather than modern man-made toxins is often used as a dismissal of the corporate harmful product processes.

Those responsible for contaminating the water supply should fund a water filtration plant for all customers they have knowingly harmed.

An example of such a plant is the more recently built $600 million Seymour-Capilano water filtration plant (the largest in Canada), or the Coquitlam Water Treatment Plant described below.

Erin Brokovich, in the image above, says she will always drink bottled water. We hope she can stop doing so to help save the planet from harmful effects of the bottled water industry, and ensure she adopts an in-home filtration system. Unlike many people, I think she can afford it.

The last thing we want is the desperate alternative of bottled water. You can read of the problems of plastic bottles polluting the planet, of water in bottles often coming from the same source as tap water, the depletion of aquifers by drilling down to them and so on. You can never be sure the bottled water you have paid for has no dangerous chemicals in it, like arsenic, chromium and others which water authorities have to continually test for in tap water.

People may choose a filtration system which fits in their own home which purport to provide UV filtration. An example is this company product. We must never be complacent about our consumption of tap water, but if a prestigious engineering project such as the Canadian example was a norm for all countries to implement as vital infrastructure, we would have no bottled water problems and no populations being poisoned by their local water supply.

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see
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