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Hexavalent Chromium Found In Tap Water of 31 US Cities


Washington, DC: A survey released Monday, December 20, has revealed the presence of a potentially carcinogenic chemical in the tap water of 31 of 35 US cities tested. The report, by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), found the highest levels of hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium-6, in Norman, Oklahoma; Honolulu, Hawaii; Riverside, California; and Madison, Wisconsin.

Hexavalent chromium was made famous by lawyer Erin Brockovich and a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & electric which alleged the company was leaking the toxin into the ground water of Hinkley, CA, and had been doing so for decades. Residents of Hinkley won their lawsuit, with the company paying $333 million in damages to the 600 townspeople, some of whom had become terminally ill.

Hexavalent chromium is chemical discharged by manufacturing sites including steel and pulp mills, leather tanning facilities and metal plating shops. In 2008, the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, said it is a "probable carcinogen" and consequently, the US Environmental Agency (EPA) is currently trying to determine whether or not to set a limit for the chemical in tap water.

In 2009 California because the first state to try and set a limit in drinking water, proposing a "public health goal" of 0.06 parts per billion. According to the report by the EWG, 25 of the cities tested had levels in excess of the limit proposed by California.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Mrs. Brockovich said "This chemical has been so widely used by so many industries across the US that this doesn't surprise me. Our municipal water supplies are in danger all over the US. This is a chemical that should be regulated."

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Published on Dec-20-10

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