NEW YORK -. A metal that can cause cancer is found in drinking water counties throughout New York and New Jersey, according to a report released Tuesday
Hexavalent chromium, which appeared in the film “Erin Brockovich” is in the drinking water of 218 million people across the country at the highest levels recommended by scientists, the report of the Working Group Environmental.
“Houston, we have a problem,” said Erin Brockovich, whom the film is based on. “More than 20 years ago, we have learned that this dangerous chemical poisoned tap water of communities in California, and now these tests and show the EWG report that about 218 million Americans are being treated drinking water contaminated with levels this potentially dangerous known carcinogen. ”
The report analyzed 60,000 water samples collected by the Agency for Environmental Protection. The EPA does not have a federal standard for drinking chromium-6 specifically; they have one for total chromium – a combination of chromium-3 safe and chromium-6. The federal standard of total chromium in drinking water is 100 parts per billion.
“Ensuring safe water for all Americans is a priority for the EPA,” EPA said in a statement. “The agency has taken many steps to improve information on chromium and its potential health risks in drinking water. EPA and the states are responsible for ensuring that public water systems are in compliance with the current standard for chromium Total. “
chromium-6 is at or above 02 parts per billion in 90 percent of the water samples studied. Environmental Protection Agency of California has a public health goal of no more than .02 parts per billion, but its current legal limit for the metal in drinking water is 10 parts per billion.
“Unfortunately we are behind the eight ball in this,” said David Pringle, director of Clean Water Action New Jersey.
There is no need to panic and stock up on bottled water, Pringle said. However, people should call for increased water protection.
Some scientists recommend a maximum concentration of 0.06 parts per billion after a 2008 report by the National Toxicology Program; the report found mice and rats that drank high levels of chromium-6 grew cancerous tumors.
concentrations of chromium-6 to 25.59 parts per billion were found throughout the country. Locally, concentrations range from about 0.03 parts per billion to about 0.43 parts per billion.
“Americans deserve to know whether there are potentially harmful levels of a chemical that causes cancer in their tap water,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the report. “It is far past for EPA to take action to protect Americans chromium-6 time.”