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Selective Reporting on Chromium Health Risks

With Teflon toxicity in the news -- thanks to DuPont's negligent behavior -- it's not surprising scientists are finding other commercial chemicals may be just as harmful and industry attempting to hide the bad news.

That's the gist of a report (free PDF link below) produced by George Washington University and Public Citizen that found industry had failed to disclose important data about the health risks of hexavalent chromium, one of only five chemicals (out of 80,000) regulated by the FDA and the subject of the recent Oscar-winning film Erin Brockovich.

Industry groups had commissioned a study of hexavalent chromium to head off moves by OSHA to enact tougher restrictions in the workplace, according to the report. After the study was completed four years ago, however, big business cherry-picked the data they sent to OSHA, suggesting only high levels of exposure to hexavalent chromium led to lung cancer rates and greater mortality risks, not intermediate exposure.

How the industry covered up the extent of the bad news: The data regarding patients monitored at four facilities (two each in America and Germany) were divided into two parts by country, disguising actual cancer rates and falsely supporting their claim for a more liberal standard.

For the record, hexavalent chromium is used by some 400,000 steelworkers, jewelers and welders in dye production, welding and chrome plating.

Environmental Health February 23, 2006 Free Full Text PDF

MSNBC February 23, 2006

Los Angeles Times February 24, 2006 Registration Required

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