Erin Brockovich crusaded for safe water, and now she’s being shoved down our throats. In 1993 she sued Pacific Gas & Electric for polluting the water in the town of Hinkley, California, with Chromium 6. There’s a good movie about her exploits, starring Julia Roberts. Let’s see, what the heck was the name of that movie? Oh yes, Erin Brockovich. Julia Roberts played Erin, and won an Oscar for Best Actress.
The lawsuit and the movie brought awareness to the danger of Chromium 6. Chromium 6 has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats when they consume it in astronomical quantities.
Oh God, here’s some technical shit coming your way. I’ll try to keep it simple: The town of Hinkley had over 500 parts per billion (ppb) of Chromium 6 in their tap water. The federal standard is no more than 100 ppb. This is also the standard for most states.
But after Erin Brockovich, the state of California reduced the allowable amount to 50 ppb. And then about two years ago we reduced it again, all the way down to 10 ppb. We’ve gotten very paranoid about Chromium 6, thanks to good ol’ Erin.
Our neighboring town couldn’t quite meet the new standard. Just a bit too much chrome in their well water. So now they have to spend over a million dollars to tap into a pipeline that imports water from northern California. Apparently, northern California has much less chrome in its water than the south.
The Westside Elementary school in Thermal, California has relied upon it’s own well water for many years. But recent tests indicate their Chromium 6 level has risen from 10 ppb to 13 ppb. The alarm has been sounded. They must scramble to protect the school children from this health menace, so they are now going to spend a million dollars to tie into the local water district’s water supply.
Meanwhile, the kids aren’t allowed to drink that tainted, 13 ppb well water. Instead, they are being given bottled water. But the FDA standard for bottled water is 50 ppb for Chromium 6. It appears these children will be exposed to potentially higher levels of Chromium 6, in order to “protect” them from the lower levels, which are higher than is allowed from well water.
That’s just crazy bureaucracy for you. But I want to thank Erin Brockovich for making California one of the most anomalous tourist destinations in the world. When you come out here on vacation, be warned. Don’t drink the bottled water. The tap is your safest bet. Unless you attend Westside Elementary school.