Hexavalent Chromium Concerns on the Rise

by wfnblog on January 4, 2011

Tap waterHexavalent Chromium tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds hexavalent chromium in tap water from 31 of 35 American cities.

Chromium is a metal found in natural deposits as ores containing other elements. It exists in three forms (divalent, trivalent, and hexavalent) and is carcinogenic only in the hexavalent form. By comparison, chromium III (trivalent chromium) is actually necessary to the body to metabolize sugar. It is important to remember this distinction.

Though the EPA does not regulate hexavalent chromium specifically, it does limit total chromium to 1 part per million. The problem being that the hexavalent form is dangerous in much smaller amounts. The State of California is proposing a 0.06 part per billion limit, which at least indicates the seriousness of this issue, especially when you consider the average chromium-6 level for the 35 cities tested was 0.18 parts per billion; 3 times the proposed safe level.

Fortunately the EPA’s response has been swift and within 72 hours of the release of EWG’s report, EPA Chief Lisa Jackson announced the agency will work with local and state officials to “get a better picture of exactly how widespread this problem is.” She said it will offer technical help to communities identified this week as having the chemical, also known as hexavalent chromium, in their drinking water.

The EWG report and the EPA’s response should serve to underline at least two important facts. First; every individual needs to take ownership of their water quality. Municipalities work very hard, and thank goodness they exist, but they are only a first step in a safe water supply. Point of use water filtration equipment is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! Second; we can and should have an impact on regulatory agencies, like the EPA, who are charged with protecting us. Citizen activism and support of groups like EWG is vital to our future.

We’ve saved the best for last; Chromium-6 is easy to remove from water! With a simple Reverse Osmosis System your water can be pure and free of carcinogens. Look for more information about Chromium and other contaminants at our Water University at WaterFilters.NET.

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