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Dec-11-2010 01:30printcomments

Toxic Plume of Chromium Spreads at Town Made Famous by Erin Brokovich

Hinkley, California
Hinkley, California photo courtesy: LA Times blog

(GARDEN GROVE, Calif.) - Last month MSNBC reported that a toxic plume of chromium has spread to numerous groundwater wells in a California desert town made famous by actress Julia Roberts in the Erin Brockovich movie. According to the article, regulators have reported increasing concentrations of chromium that had been discharged decades ago in wells near the town of Hinkley.

Hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, is believed to be a human carcinogen and is recognized as such via inhalation exposure. It refers to chemical compounds that contain the element chromium in the +6 oxidation state. In 2001 the California Department of Health Services (now known as the CDPH) adopted regulations that added chromium 6 to the list of ‘unregulated chemicals for which requiring monitoring is required’ (UCMR). (Also see: Oregon's Own Toxicologist Points Out Toxicity of Hexavalent ChromiumDr. Phillip Leveque

Not only can hexavalent chromium contaminate groundwater, it is also a threat to many industrial workers due to inhalation exposure. Occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs during the production of stainless steel, chromate chemicals and chromate pigments. Exposures also occur during other work activities such as stainless steel welding, thermal cutting, chrome plating, painting and coating processes.

LA Testing is a leading provider of hexavalent chromium testing services.

“NIOSH considers all hexavalent chromium compounds to be potential occupational carcinogens,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical.

“Other adverse health effects associated with exposure include dermal irritation, skin ulceration, allergic contact dermatitis, occupational asthma, nasal irritation and ulceration, perforated nasal septa, rhinitis, nosebleed, respiratory irritation, nasal cancer, sinus cancer, eye irritation and damage, perforated eardrums, kidney damage, liver damage, pulmonary congestion and edema, epigastric pain, and erosion and discoloration of the teeth. LA Testing offers testing solutions to ensure people are safe from its exposure.”

Source: News release from LA Testing and EMSL Analytical; providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. To learn more about hexavalent chromium or other environmental testing services please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

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