Parts Per Million: The Poisoning of Beverly Hills High School
, 2007 - Law
- 442 pages
A journalist’s unsettling and timely investigation into the ties between Beverly Hills, its oil wells, and a local cancer cluster
Beverly Hills High School is the crown jewel of a storied community that has long symbolized wealth and privilege. No one, including the author (class of 1971), thought twice about the oil pumps behind the school’s athletic fields; the derricks were just a part of the landscape, bringing in a sizable amount of royalty money to the community. But in 2003, after a group of young graduates developed cancer and the loudmouthed and sensationalistic Erin Brockovich caused a stir claiming the drilling was the cause, Beverly Hills was dragged into a landmark tort case that has split the town in two and will cause a media stir when it goes to trial later this year.
In Parts per Million, Joy Horowitz tells the story behind the headlines, interviewing cancer specialists, lawyers, epidemiologists, city officials, residents, and Brockovich herself. She crafts a riveting picture of PTA moms fighting for the truth, parents in denial, cancer-ridden youth, a school board terrified of having failed in its obligation to keep kids safe, and the complex game of toxic tort litigation that stands to strike a huge financial blow to the powerful oil companies and the iconic community. A Civil Action meets An Inconvenient Truth, Parts per Million couches medical and scientific inquiry in a compelling legal drama. Horowitz examines our tangled relationship with oil, money, and the environment, and bravely questions how many more will have to die before government regulators put economics aside and heed the warnings of science.