In the blockbuster movie Erin Brockovich, residents in the town of Hinkley, California, successfully sued Pacific Gas and Electric Company for discharging a cancer-causing chemical into their drinking water supply. This chemical, hexavalent chromium (also known as chromium 6 and chrome-6) has long been known to cause cancer. In August 2009, the State of California proposed limits on the amount of hexavalent chromium in drinking water. This is significant not only because the Erin Brockovich case took place in California, but also because California is the first state to propose a drinking water limit on this chemical.
Currently, drinking water standards in California, and many other places, limit only the amount of total chromium, without requiring a limit on each specific type of chromium. The new regulatory limit on hexavalent chromium proposed in California, which is .06 parts per billion, was the result of a long battle led by health and environmental activists. Big industry fought against placing a limitation on this chemical.
The sad reality is that most people assume that their drinking water is safe, simply because it is regulated and tested. Before making this assumption, it would be wise to find out what is regulated and what is not. You may be shocked at what you find out.
Source: Environmental Working Group
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