Best Non-TV Story of the Day: Is Our Tap Water Safe? Group Finds Hexavalent Chromium--the carcinogenic 'Erin Brockovich chemical'--in Tap Water From 31 of 35 U.S. Cities. Is Your City on the List? Greenwire posted by The NY Times; Washington Post
"In 25 of 35 U.S. cities where tap water supplies were tested for hexavalent chromium [Chromium 6] -- deemed likely to cause cancer in humans in a U.S. EPA draft review this year -- levels of the chemical exceeded the minimum set by the state of California to protect public health, according to a report released today by an environmental group," says a Greenwire report published on the New York TImes website.
"The chemical hexavalent chromium got public attention in the 2000 film 'Erin Brockovich' and has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health" The Washington Post says in its report, adding, "The analysis, released Monday by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide look at hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public. The advocacy group sampled tap water from 35 cities and detected hexavalent chromium in 31 of those communities. Of those, 25 had levels that were higher than a health goal proposed last year by the state of California."
According to the Washington Post story, "Last year, California released a draft of a "public health goal" for a safe level of hexavalent chromium in drinking water: 0.06 parts per billion. If the state sets a limit, it would be the first in the nation."
The Post article adds later, "The American Chemistry Council, which represents the chemical industry, says the California goal is unrealistic because some water supplies have naturally occurring hexavalent chromium that is higher than .06 parts per billion. In a written statement, the group's senior director, Ann Mason, said that 'even the most sophisticated analytical methods used by EPA are not able to detect the extremely low levels that California wants to establish.' In her statement, she said that 'given that hexavalent chromium exists naturally in groundwater, it is not surprising that it was found in 31 of the 35 sites selectively targeted, which had previously reported the existence of chromium.' "