Hexavalent Chromium: Tap Water Contamination?

In some U.S. cities where tap water supplies were tested for hexavalent chromium levels of the chemical exceeded the minimum set by the law to protect public health. Apparently there are high levels of contamination in our tap water.

Laboratory tests commissioned by EWG have discovered that hexavalent chromium is present in the tap water of 31 out of 35 U.S. cities tested, or 89 percent.

To conduct its test, the organization said it recruited volunteers in 35 cities to collect tap water samples from unfiltered taps in homes or in public buildings such as hospitals, libraries and malls.

Does hexavalent chromium cause cancer? Is the chemical the same featured in the movie Erin Brockovich?

asked by Ryan in Diseases & Conditions | 2847 views | 12-20-2010 at 10:59 PM

Millions of Americans may be drinking tap water contaminated with the cancer-causing metal hexavalent chromium.

The chemical hexavalent chromium got public attention via the movie "Erin Brockovich" and has been deemed a probable carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Hexavalent chromium or "chromium 6" can come from steel mills, pulp mills, metal-plating shops and leather-tanning facilities. It also can enter the water naturally as soil and rocks erode.

Even though scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Toxicology Program have linked the ingestion of hexavalent chromium to cancer, the EPA doesn't require cities to test for the toxic metal.

This is the first national analysis of hexavalent chromium's presence in tap water that's been released to the public, and researchers were caught off guard by the findings.

answered by Bob | 12-20-2010 at 11:01 PM

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