Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Despite 'Erin Brockovich' Bluster, Calif. Town Shows Below-average Cancer Rates

Julia Roberts may have been crowned best actress in 2000 for her performance in (and as) "Erin Brockovich", but the film did what politically-loaded Hollywood products often do: it distorted the facts, and may have done more harm than good to the town of Hinkley, CA.

The film followed Brockovich as she led a class-action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric for releasing hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, a cancer-causing toxin, into the water supply in Hinkley. PG&E eventually went to arbitration, and awarded a record-$333 million in damages to residents of the town.

But now, 10 years after Roberts's award-winning performance, and 17 years after the actual suit, cancer rates in Hinkley are unremarkable. In fact, they are lower than would normally be expected...


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