According to a new report, millions of Americans are drinking tap water with dangerously high levels of a well known, but not heavily regulated cancer causing chemical, chromium-6.
The new report comes from the independently operated advocacy program known as the Environmental Working Group and details the chromium-6 levels in local water supplies across the nation, according to CNN.
According to the report, “[T]he tap water of 218 million Americans contains levels of chromium-6 that the group considers dangerous.”
The descriptor employed is “that the group considers dangerous” because there is no federally set standard for allowable or safe chromium-6 levels in the public water supply.
The state of California — often the trailblazer under such circumstances — has a statewide limit for the chemical, and as CNN reports:
‘Seven million Americans receive tap water with levels of chromium-6 that are higher than the legal limit established by California — 10 ppb — which is the only state to enforce a maximum contaminant level.’
That’s right — seven million Americans are drinking water with levels of a cancer causing chemical that are known to be dangerous.
As CNN reports of the chemical:
‘In 2008, a two-year study by the National Toxicology Program found that drinking water with chromium-6 caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice.’
It’s as simple as that, a “that” which David Andrews, co-author of the report and a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, called the “gold standard of animal studies,” thus establishing that yes, the chemical found at high levels in the drinking water of millions of Americans causes cancer.
When the chemical becomes airborne, its cancer causing properties are well documented — and regulated. Since, as CNN reports, “[s]cientific reports have indicated that breathing in airborne chromium-6 particles can cause lung cancer.,” the federal government has strict standards for airborne levels of the substance in industrial workplaces.
But not in water.
Famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who made her name fighting the very chemical which is the subject of the just-released report, released a statement on the occasion of the report’s startling revelations.
Her statement reads, in part, “I should be shocked by the findings… but I am not. The American people and public health have been sidelined by the interests of corporations responsible for this contamination.”
Read the rest of the statement below.
— erin brockovich (@ErinBrockovich) September 20, 2016
The United States is staring down the barrel of a loaded revolver of an environmental crisis. Texas recently fell under scrutiny after a statewide report found a disturbing number of local water contamination incidents.
Florida’s inland waterways and estuaries are struggling to maintain any life as the flow of fertilizers and related chemicals from sugar fields into major lakes shows no sign of stopping.
And then there are the more extreme examples, like the well-known public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, that has left the city’s children suffering from lead poisoning en masse.
Suggesting that environmental concerns be relegated to the status of something over which to negotiate may seem economically beneficial in the short term.
But tell that to the future generation left without certain major waterways at best — and left with little to no naturally clean water at worst.
Featured Image via Detroit Free Press/ Getty Images.