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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

On October 12, 2005, Ms Zoe Kelman, a chemical engineer with the Site Remediation Program and a participant on the Chromium Workgroup submitted a memo to Commissioner Bradley Campbell outlining her independent review, "A Counter - Argument to the New Jersey Chromium Workgroup's Recommendations ”. Upon Commissioner Campbell’s request, the Chromium Workgroup chair coordinated responses to the memo. Not every point was commented upon, as there were time constraints.

Many of the criticisms of the chromium workgroup raised in this memo seem to represent criticism of the risk based paradigm in general. The chromium clean up criteria are based on the current risk based paradigm and not on a precautionary paradigm, although the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It is the tool that both the federal and state government uses for determining “acceptable” risk. Other paradigms have been addressed in recent years and include the precautionary approach. The European Commission stresses the need for "reliable scientific data and logical reasoning" when adopting the precautionary approach. Before "triggering" the use of the principle, it recommends a thorough evaluation of scientific evidence. The analysis must also include an assessment of the uncertainties in the scientific data. It stresses the wide range of actions that may be taken under the principle, including no action at all. The precautionary principle should not be used in an arbitrary way but is itself based on a thorough review and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Discussion of the various approaches to manage risk is valid. However, it is beyond the purview of this work group to change the paradigm.

Memorandum to Commissioner Campbell criticizing the Chromium Workgroup Report
with responses from the Workgroup Chair

Return to Chromium Workgroup - Home

Office of Science
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Manager

Mailing Address:
Mail code 428-01, P.O. Box 420
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 0862
Office Location:
428 East State St., 1st floor
Trenton, NJ 08625
Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340


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P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 1, 2010