20/20 (Television program). [2000-07-14--excerpt], Give Me a Break! Erin Brockovich

Moving Image
Created: 2000


20/20 (Television program). [2000-07-14--excerpt], Give Me a Break! Erin Brockovich
Summary: "When the movie 'Erin Brockovich' opened in March 2000, it was an immediate hit, earning more than $100 million. The tale of the down-and-out legal assistant who uncovers corporate pollution and widespread illness became one of the biggest grossing ever among films based on a 'true story.'

"But when many illnesses are attributed to one pollutant, scientists are skeptical. The litany of illnesses attributed in this case to corporate polluter Pacific Gas & Electric--breast cancer, Hodgkin's disease, heart failure, brain cancer, and more--skeptics asked, where's the proof'

"John Stossel investigated the claims in the movie and the lawsuit on which it is based, and says, 'Give Me A Break!' Stossel found that while chromium is indeed a carcinogen, blamed for lung and sinus cancer when inhaled, there is no proof that chromium in drinking water can cause cancer. In fact, Stossel learned that the California Cancer Registry, which charts cancer incidence, compared the area around Hinkley with surrounding counties and found no excess of cancer in the Hinkley area.

"Stossel believes that the people making movies that are supposed to be a 'true story'--especially about something important, like people being poisoned--ought to try and make sure the stories really are true. Any of our viewers among millions who have seen the movie will hopefully see the case with a different perspective."--2000 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: ABC News | ABC Television Network

Persons Appearing: John Stossel (Reporter) | Elizabeth Vargas (Host) | Erin Brockovich

Broadcast Date: 14-Jul-00