hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee that the
state- sponsored study was too limited in its scope and depth and
didn't acknowledge the uncertainties of its research. He also said
there were undisclosed conflicts of interest among some scientists
contributing to the report.
The University of California study -- released in August 2001 --
showed no basis for considering ingested chromium 6 a carcinogen. The
study prompted the California EPA's Office of Environmental Health
Hazard Assessment to lift the state's public-health goal of 2.5 parts
per billion for the heavy metal in drinking water.
"Chromium 6 is a carcinogen, there is no question about it,"
Froines told a panel of state senators. "This report should not be
used as the basis for the California Environmental Protection
Agency's policy on chromium 6 via the oral route of exposure."
The committee, led by state Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacra- mento),
is looking into whether scientists manipulated the study on behalf of
Pacific Gas and Electric. An attorney representing 900 people in a
class-action lawsuit against PG&E, told the committee, which included
state Sen. Jack Scott (D-Glendale), that one of the scientists who
participated in the study and several others who contributed to it
were PG&E consultants paid thousands of dollars to testify in court
on behalf of the company.
"Industry very clearly opposed the proposed public-health goals,"
attorney Gary Praglin told the committee. "The reason they did is
that it costs a lot of money to clean up [contaminated groundwater]."
Until a new public-health standard for allowable levels of
chromium 6 in drinking water is established, EPA officials have
determined the state standard of 50 parts per billion is "health