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The Carcinogen That Erin Brockovich Battled in Court Could Still Be in Your Water


Chromium-6. This chemical, also called hexavalent chromium, was made famous by the real life lawsuit lead by Erin Brockovich and the subsequent film adaptation about the high-profile case. The original lawsuit was filed against Pacific Gas & Electric, a utility that was poisoning local water supplies with this cancer-causing chemical.

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Unfortunately it seems that cases like those are not in the past. Just a few days ago, the Environmental Working Group published a shocking report that claims chromium-6 could be present in the tap water of over 200 million Americans.

How could such a thing happen? Chromium-6, formed in the process of producing stainless steel and manufacturing textiles, is a known carcinogen and should be nowhere near anyone’s water supply. The National Toxicology Program verified that chromium-6 causes cancer in mice years ago, in 2008.

Even after the film Erin Brockovich brought this chemical in the limelight the Environmental Protection Agency did not implement any official regulations to monitor the level of chromium-6 in anyone’s water. Action should have been taken decades ago, but the EPA has not altered their testing methods or recommended levels of chromium-6.

Over 6,000 water samples from the EPA itself were analyzed in the extensive report from the EWG. The high levels of chromium-6 still present in the water could lead to over 12,000 new cases of cancer, according to the group. Cities in which the amount of chromium-6 was particularly high include Houston, Phoenix, and St. Louis.

California, at least on paper, has the strictest regulations concerning chromium-6. There, the “public health goal” is 0.02 parts per billion, as Verge reports. At this rate, still, one out of every one million citizens would develop cancer after drinking the water their entire life, according to the EWG.

The rate of 0.2 parts per billion isn’t even enforced in California. The legal limit is 10 parts per billion, which would cause even more cases of cancer over time. The nationwide legal limit is 100 parts per billion, a number that is drastically too high. According to the report issued by the EWG, 218 million Americans are consuming tap water with chromium-6 levels above the EWG’s recommended limit.

The amount of work that needs to be done in order for governmental regulatory agencies to implement new changes and procedures is overwhelming. In the meantime, there are concrete steps you can take to protect your family from consuming potential cancer-causing chemicals.

The safest bet is to install a certified reverse osmosis filter that can remove impurities and carcinogenic chemicals from your water. Ensure your water is clean and safe with a 6-step system that utilizes a pre-filter, membrane, post-filter, carbon filter, and calcite cartridge the deliver the purest drinking water possible.

When it comes to chromium-6, you can’t wait on the EPA. Safeguard your family today.

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