Community Mapping Resources
Home   Store   Free GIS   Education   Free Shapefiles   Census   Weather   Energy   Climate Change   News   Maps   TOPO   Aerial   GPS   Learn GIS

DOWNLOAD SHAPEFILES: Canada FSA Postal - Zip Code - U.S. Waterbodies & Wetlands - Geographic Names - School Districts - Indian Federal Lands
Zip Code/Demographics - U.S. Streams, Rivers & Waterways - Tornadoes - Nuclear Facilities - Dams & Risk - 2013 Toxic Release Inventory TRI

FREE MAPCRUZIN UPDATES
Enter your e-mail



GIS Shapefile Store - for Beginners & Experienced GIS Users Alike. Geographic Names Information System, Nuclear Facilities, Zip Code Boundaries, School Districts, Indian & Federal Lands, Climate Change, Tornadoes, Dams - Create digital GIS maps in minutes.

Toxic Release Inventory TRI Shapefiles

Canada FSA Postal Code Shapefile

GNIS Shapefiles 2,000,000+ Points

Nuclear Energy Facilities in the U.S.

Download Zip Code with Demographics Shapefiles

Download U.S. Streams & Rivers Shapefiles

Download Water Body & Wetland Shapefiles

Download Zip Code Boundary Shapefiles

Download School District Shapefiles

Download Indian & Federal Land Shapefiles

Download Climate Change Shapefiles

Download Tornado Shapefiles

Download Dams & Risks Shapefiles

Follow Mapcruzin.com on Twitter Follow on Twitter

A Member of the
Reimagination Network

Didn't find what you are looking for? Email me and I'll find it for you.

Progressive Links

Federation of American Scientists

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Union of Concerned Scientists

Alternet

Reader Supported News

Common Dreams

Truthout

Huffington Post

Media Matters

Think Progress

Grist Environmental News

Have a question or comment? Post them at the MapCruzin Blog.

Climate Shift Blog

MapCruzin Consulting
GIS and Google Maps Development, Website Creation and Hosting, Fast and Affordable.

GIS Tutorials

GIS Basics

GIS Terminology

Of Interest

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Maps

Climate Shift - The effects of climate shift on the future of planet earth and its inhabitants.

Right to Know or Left to Wonder?

Hazardscapes - Toxic and Nuclear Risks in your backyard.

War & Environment

Worst Case Scenarios: Terrorism & industrial chemicals.


Subscribe for Updates


Fear of Toxin in Tap Water Rocks California Valley
Fair Use Statement

Source: Washington Post

Fear of Toxin in Tap Water Rocks California Valley

By Rene Sanchez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 8, 2000; Page A03

BURBANK, Calif. No one tastes it, smells it or even knows how much to fear it, but a toxic chemical just featured in a popular movie has the San Fernando Valley racked with worry that its tap water has become the latest victim of Southern California's endless battle with pollution.

Chromium 6 is turning up in wells that supply water to this arid basin in metropolitan Los Angeles at levels state environmental researchers say should no longer be acceptable. There is no sign of panic in the streets, but that revelation has set off a political and scientific scramble to assess the contamination problem and decide whether it requires urgent fixing.

Nearly 200 industrial sites around the valley are being examined for evidence of the pollutant, which can cause cancer or other serious illnesses from extensive exposure. Sales of bottled water are booming and schools are sending parents reassuring letters about water safety. A nearby city, Glendale, has postponed using any well water. And the real-life inspiration for the film "Erin Brockovich," a tale of a feisty woman's heroic fight to uncover the dangers of chromium 6 in a California desert town, is back on the case.

When inhaled as dust, chromium 6 is widely considered to be a carcinogen, but scientists are still debating the dangers it may pose when ingested.

"There's significant concern," said Adam Schiff, a state senator in the valley who was elected to Congress last month. "All of us are taking a long look at the water now before we drink it down."

The furor is familiar here. This region constantly is trying to recover from its reckless or clueless environmental past. Its air and water have been pummeled for decades from byproducts of military manufacturing and runaway population growth. Last week, a study found that half of the Southern California coastline is unsafe for swimming after rainstorms because urban runoff dumps so much harmful bacteria into the ocean.

The struggle to improve the environment at times also creates as many problems as it solves. A state crackdown on chromium 6, for example, could shut wells across the valley. And that could force one of the most densely populated--and fastest-growing--parts of greater Los Angeles to scrounge once more for new sources of water at a time when soaring populations in other desert communities in the West are making it ever more scarce.

"We don't currently have enough water for our growth needs," said David Beckman, a lawyer in the Los Angeles office of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "So when you start talking about taking major sources of it out of service because of contamination, it's potentially a really bad situation. But they might have to do that. Nobody here is arguing that it is good to have chromium 6 in the water."

But how much is too much? That is the fundamental question confronting state and local officials.

The debate in the valley over chromium 6 in some ways is a sign of how serious California's campaign against pollution is getting. The state has stronger rules to protect its water supply than the federal government recommends, particularly for chromium. But for the past year, a state agency that examines environmental health hazards has been calling for even tougher standards to keep the chemical out of the ground water that California cities pump and treat for human consumption.

Some officials say the step is overdue because of the risks associated with chromium 6. It is a manufacturing byproduct of chromium, which is an odorless metallic element that many industries use to make and harden steel. And it is being found in soil and water around the San Fernando Valley because long before the area became a home to movie and television studios, it was a hub for aerospace industry giants such as Lockheed Martin. The company had a large manufacturing plant in Burbank for more than 50 years.

The toxic chemical also is not just turning up in worrisome amounts around industrial wastelands. Recent county tests have shown possible contamination near schools, libraries and health clinics.

At some of those sites, water faucets and fountains are being forsaken. "Parents are asking a lot of questions," said Joan Graves, a staff member at William McKinley Elementary School. "Everyone wants more information, but it sounds like that could take awhile. Students are just bringing bottled water."

The mood is similar at the main public library in Burbank. "We don't really use the tap water," said Nancy Tidwell, a reference librarian. "But there's no way you could tell that anything is wrong with it."

At a packed hearing in the Burbank City Hall last month, a panel of scientists told lawmakers and residents that while waiting for more conclusive studies on the risks of chromium 6, the state should err on the side of caution and enact tougher protections against it seeping into the water supply.

Public anxiety over the issue is spreading in part because of the recent film "Erin Brockovich." Set in the small desert town of Hinkley, Calif., it dramatized the true story of how chromium 6 in the soil inflicted unsuspecting residents with serious illnesses. The amounts turning up around the San Fernando Valley are nowhere close to what was found in Hinkley, but they still exceed the strict new limit being proposed for the state.

Brockovich, an outspoken legal aide to local lawyer Edward Masry, is once again sounding an alarm. "People are being exposed to a poison in their water," she told a Los Angeles City Council meeting recently.

The uproar began when the state's health department conceded this fall that it could take five years to adopt a stronger standard to protect local water supplies from chemical contamination. That disclosure, reported first in the Los Angeles Times, has provoked an aggressive political attack.

California Gov. Gray Davis (D) swiftly signed legislation requiring the health department to assess the threat of chromium 6 in water in no more than a year. Last week, a coalition of legislators also urged the state to force utility companies to notify the public any time levels of chromium 6 in water exceed the new limit environmental researchers have proposed.

The state's 3,400 water systems have been asked to conduct tests for the chemical. In Los Angeles County, water also is being checked at all government facilities and the regional water board is promising to increase its inspections of suspected polluters.

But the price of purifying the water in dozens of wells, or finding new sources of water, could be steep. By some estimates, the cost in parts of the San Fernando Valley could top $50 million a year. And whether all, or any, of it is necessary to guarantee public safety is still in doubt.

Water officials are in an awkward position. Even as they endorse more investigations into chromium 6, they insist there are no reasons for residents to fear for their health when they drink tap water.

"This situation certainly bears study, and no one is brushing it off," said H. David Nahai, chairman of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. "But we have yet to hear from any other regulatory agency that the levels of chromium 6 in the drinking water right now are unsafe."

Nahai also suggested that rising public apprehension over pollutants could, nevertheless, be a blessing in disguise for Southern California.

"In the past, we haven't done a very good job of protecting our limited water resources," he said. "I think we've finally woken up to that."

2000 The Washington Post Company

Didn't find what you are looking for? We've been online since 1996 and have created 1000's of pages. Search below and you may find just what you are looking for.



MapCruzin.com is an independent firm specializing in the publication of educational and research resources. We created the first U.S. based interactive toxic chemical facility maps on the internet in 1996 and we have been online ever since. Learn more about us and view some of our projects and services.

If you have data, GIS project or custom shapefile needs send me an email.

Contact Us

Report Broken Links

Subscribe for Updates

Advertise on MapCruzin

Follow on Facebook
News & Updates

Find: Maps, Shapefiles, GIS Software & More

MapCruzin Blog for updates, questions and answers

Mapcruzin Free GIS Tools, Resources, News and Maps

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Blog Updates

More Blog Updates

Downloads

Google Earth Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Maps
Lester Brown's Plan B 3.0
State GIS Shapefiles, Maps & Resources
GIS Shapefiles & Maps
GIS Programs, Tools & Resources
Free World Country & Regional Maps
GIS / GPS Careers and Job Positions
Disease Outbreak Maps
TOPO Maps
Extreme Weather & Disaster Maps
Free World Maps from the CIA Factbook
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ANWR Maps
Oil and Gas Maps
Africanized Honey Bees
Renewable Energy Potential Maps of the United States
Terrorism Maps
War Maps
Google Maps
Weather Maps
GPS Resources
Historical Maps of the World
Google Earth
Library of Congress American Memory Map Downloads
Toxic Chemical Pollution Maps
Climate Change Maps
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Maps
Census Shapefiles
World Maps

Issues

Environmental Justice
Data Sources
Greenwash & JunkScience
Statistical Resources
Wireless Dangers
Surviving Climate Change
Global Right-To-Know
Creating Living Economies
Books of Note
Toxic Klamath River
Federal Lands Maps
TRI Analysis
TRI Webmaps
EnviroRisk Map Network
Community-Based Research
Right-To-Know or Left to Wonder?
Chemical Industry Archives
21st Century Warfare
Biotechnology
Nanotechnology
Globalization/Democracy
National Parks and Public Lands
Trade Secrets/Toxic Deception
GIS Books
Our Projects
Other Projects
1999 Archive Environews
Environmental Books
Environmental Links
Redwood Coast Information
Recycle, Salvage, Reuse

Resources
Shapefile Store
Free GIS Software
Free Map Downloads
Free Shapefiles
Free Remote Sensing
Free Topo Maps
Free GIS Tutorial
Free GPS
ToxicRisk.com
ClimateShift.com
Maptivist.com

About MapCruzin - Cookies, Privacy, Fair Use and Disclaimer - Advertise on MapCruzin.com

Website development and hosting provided by Michael Meuser

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Michael Meuser, All Rights Reserved
MapCruzin is a Pop-Up Free Website -- Best Viewed With ANY Browser