The environmental chemistry of chromium: Science vs. U.S. law
W H Hartford
The cooperation which existed among chromium chemical producers, industrial health laboratories, and governmet agencies was destroyed after 1970 by the advent of environmental activism and regulatory legislation. As prewar plants had been found to pose a serious cancer risk, this fact was the basis of EPA regulations, especially during the term of Joe Califano in HEW under Jimmy Carter. However, as health problems were identified by industry, the legal implications soon became apparent, and corporate scientists could release information only after clearance. This destroyed the free exchange of information necessary to the solution of scientific problems. Within the past few years, the closure of allied plants, the resolution of some superfund litigation, plus the release of records to the historical files at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, has clarified the scientific record. The following will be discussed:
(1) The tendency of the present legal system to exaggerate risk.
(2) Actual risks involved from inhalation, skin contact, and effluents.
(3) the application of these principles to production, use and disposal of CCA and CCA-treated wood.