"Cancer-causing chrome 6 detected in Portland steel foundrie's air pollution
In the movie “Erin Brockovich,” a UCLA chemistry professor tells Julia Roberts, playing the title role, that there are three kinds of chromium. One form is necessary for good health, a second form, trivalent chromium, is relatively benign, and a third form, hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, is a dangerous carcinogen.
In real life, as in the 2000 movie, Brockovich, a legal researcher, discovered that Hinkley, Calif., a small town near Barstow, in the Mojave desert, had a hexavalent chromium problem. She found that it was being used as an anti-corrosive agent by a local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. Hundreds of residents filed suit after discovering that it had contaminated drinking water and was causing cancers and other health problems.
Thanks to Brockovich, they won a $333 million court settlement from PG&E, and brought a halt to the pollution.
Hexavalent chromium is used in the production of stainless steel, one of ESCO’s products.
Like Hinkley Calif., Northwest Portland also has an hexavalent chromium problem, although as of yet there is no evidence it is present in large enough concentrations to cause cancers or other health problems. "