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Watch Your Drink, Hexavalent Chromium found in some Tap Water

By Paromita Pain - 22 Dec 2010 9:30:48 GMT
Watch Your Drink, Hexavalent Chromium found in some Tap Water

This is news that will make people take to the bottle and they can't be blamed. After all plain water might give the unsuspecting cancer. Chromium-6 is widespread in US tap water, say laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG) in tap water from 31 American cities. In simple terms, this means cancer-causing chemicals have been found in 89 percent of cities sampled. This is one of the broadest surveys for hexavalent chromium ever conducted.

Called the 'Erin Brockovich' chemical since it was made famous by the 2000 film "Erin Brockovich”, the Hexavalent chromium was found in drinking water in the southern Californian town of Hinkley and was brought to popular attention by the involvement of journalist Erin Brockovich who won for the victims a $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

This chemical can enter water sources through erosion, from natural deposits and improper disposal of industrial wastes created especially during the manufacture of metal plating, wood and textiles products and stainless steel.

Cancer in a glass?

The EWG tested tap water from 31 of 35 American cities. The highest levels were in Norman, Okla, Honolulu, Hawaii; and Riverside, California. In all, water samples from 25 cities contained the toxic metal at concentrations above the safe maximum recently proposed by California regulators.

The report has been criticized as “alarmist” by various sections in spite of The National Toxicology Program, the branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, considers hexavalent chromium a "probable carcinogen”.

These criticisms find an audience in spite of what the authors of the report authors of the report, "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now” have to say.

Members of the The President's Cancer Panel and creators of this report say that new research had revealed that Environmental carcinogens definitely add to rising rates of cancer. A draft toxicological review dated September 2010by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had also found that hexavalent chromium in tap water is “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

Environmental Working Group says that At least 74 million Americans are exposed to this contaminated water and given the magnitude of exposure the EPA must establish legal limits and testing for this.