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Drinking Water

Chromium-6 in the News

February 24, 2011
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Proposed bill requires drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both California Democrats, introduced a bill Jan. 25 requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium in drinking water, the San Bernardino County Sun reported.

The bill would require EPA to set a limit on the amount of hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, in drinking water within a year of enactment, the article stated.

EPA has a goal for the level of chromium in drinking water, but the bill calls for an enforceable limit, according to the story.

“There is no place for dangerous cancer-causing substances in our drinking water," Boxer said. “This bill is a major step forward in ensuring that children in California, and across the country, are protected from toxic chemicals, such as chromium 6, in the drinking water supply.”

To read the entire article, click here.

EPA issues guidance for monitoring hexavalent chromium in drinking water

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued guidance recommending how public water systems might enhance monitoring and sampling programs specifically for hexavalent chromium, according to a press release.

The recommendations are in response to emerging scientific evidence that chromium-6 could pose health concerns if consumed over long periods of time.

The enhanced monitoring guidance provides recommendations on where the systems should collect samples and how often they should be collected, along with analytical methods for laboratory testing, the release stated.

EPA currently has a drinking water standard for total chromium, which includes chromium-6, and requires water systems to test for it.

To read the entire article, click here.

Water industry associations respond to hexavalent chromium study

LISLE, ILL. and DENVER — The Water Quality Association (WQA) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) have both released statements in response to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that found that tap water in 31 of 35 American cities is contaminated with hexavalent chromium.

According to WQA’s press release, the study emphasizes the importance of final barrier water treatment technology.

“This report is one more piece of evidence to consumers that final barrier technology should be utilized to provide a sense of confidence for their families’ water,” said Peter J. Censky, executive director of WQA.

The release added that reverse osmosis (RO) systems as well as distillation and anion exchange are effective methods for reducing hexavalent chromium.

According to AWWA’s release, the association shares EWG’s concern for water quality and public health protection, but more thorough investigation is needed.

“While EWG’s report may raise concerns, it’s important to remember that detecting a substance in water does not always imply a health risk,” AWWA stated. “The key question to answer is whether the substance presents health concerns at the level it is detected. That’s why the federal regulatory process requires EPA to examine potential health impacts of the substance, paths of exposure and occurrence data. A thorough evaluation of all this data increases the likelihood that new regulations will offer meaningful risk reduction.”

To read the WQA press release, click here.

To read the AWWA press release, click here.

Chromium-6 contaminates tap water in 31 of 35 U.S. cities tested

WASHINGTON — A new study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that tap water in 31 of 35 American cities is highly contaminated with hexavalent chromium, according to a press release.

The highest levels were in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Riverside, Calif.

In all, water samples from 25 cities contained the toxic metal at concentrations above the safe maximum recently proposed by California regulators, the release stated.

The National Toxicology Program has concluded that hexavalent chromium (also called chromium-6) in drinking water shows “clear evidence of carcinogenic activity” in laboratory animals, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal tumors.

In September 2010, a draft toxicological review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) similarly found that hexavalent chromium in tap water is “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

At least 74 million Americans in 42 states drink chromium-polluted tap water, much of it likely in the cancer-causing hexavalent form, according to the release.

In light of the study’s findings, EWG has urged EPA to move expeditiously to establish a legal limit for chromium-6 and require public water suppliers to test for it.

To read the entire article, click here.

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