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Hexavalent chromium

Toxic chemical carcinogen found in water supplies nationwide

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: hexavalent chromium, water, health news

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(NaturalNews) A recently-released report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found that the water supplies of many major cities are contaminated with hexavalent chromium, an industrial chemical toxin that does not get filtered out by most consumer water filtration devices. Thirty-one of the 35 water supplies tested contained hexavalent chromium, and 25 of them contained levels higher than a California-proposed maximum upper threshold for safety.

Topping the list of contaminated water supplies was Norman, Okla., with 12.9 parts per billion (ppb) of hexavalent chromium, followed by Honolulu, Hawaii, at 2.0 ppb and Riverside, Calif., at 1.69 ppb. Other highly-tainted cities include Madison, Wisc., San Jose, Calif., Tallahassee, Fla., and Albuquerque, N.M.

According to the National Toxicology Program, hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, is linked to causing gastrointestinal tumors and other forms of cancer. International governing bodies have stated that it is toxic when inhaled. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared hexavalant chromium "likely to be carcinogenic to humans."

A previous 2009 EWG analysis states that at least 74 million Americans from 42 states drink hexavalent chromium-contaminated water. And commonly-used household filtration systems like water pitchers and under-sink filters typically do not remove this harmful chemical from drinking water like they do many other chemicals.

Not all chromium is bad, however. Trivalent chromium, or chromium-3, is a vital nutrient that helps metabolize sugar and lipids. In fact, the trace mineral form of chromium is vital for good health, particularly in helping to stave off diabetes (http://www.naturalnews.com/030292_chromium_d...)

But the EPA makes no differentiation between the nutrient form of chromium and the toxic form of chromium. The agency has actually lumped the two together and set maximum limits for total chromium, which is a major regulatory failure. EWG hopes to reverse this position and have the toxic chromium-6 form regulated and removed from water supplies.

To read the entire EWG report on toxic hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, visit:
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