A discovery made by Environmental Working Group have found that hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, a probable carcinogen, is present in the tap water of 31 out of 35 U.S. cities tested, or 89 %.
25 of those cities had levels that were higher than a health goal proposed in California, which has been trying aggressively to reduce hexavalent chromium in its water supply.
The National Toxicology Program concludes that the chemical drinking water contamination shows “clear evidence of carcinogenic activity” in laboratory animals, according to EWG. A recent review by the EPA discovered hexavalent chromium’s presence in tap water “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
Hexavalent chromium first got public attention in the 2000 Hollywood film “Erin Brockovich”.
“This chemical has been so widely used by so many industries across the US that this doesn’t surprise me,” said Brockovich.
In a statement that CNN got from EPA, they say standards are being reviewed to determine whether the levels are safe:
“In order to protect people’s health, EPA has had drinking water standards for total chromium, which includes chromium-6,” the agency said in a statement to CNN. “When this scientific assessment is finalized in 2011, EPA will carefully review the conclusions and consider all relevant information, including the Environmental Working Group’s study, to determine if a new standard needs to be set.”