Is hexavalent chromium in drinking water harmful?
The nonprofit research and advocacy organization Environmental Working Group, EWG, conducted a study of drinking water in 35 communities from different parts of the United States which was released in December 2010. Their report points out that water in 89% of the cities sampled included measurable amounts of chromium, more than half of which may be hexavalent chromium – a suspected carcinogen made famous by the movie "Erin Brockovich.?

Water from Pittsburgh was found to contain 0.88 parts per billion of chromium. Water from West View – Cranberry?s sole supplier – was not tested. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a limit of 100.00 ppb in tap water, primarily to safeguard against skin irritation. So Pittsburgh is well within current regulatory requirements.

Other communities tested ranged from as little as zero, including Indianapolis, Reno and San Antonio, to as high as 12.90 ppb in Norman, Oklahoma. Separate research has found that hexavalent chromium is more common in systems using groundwater wells than surface water; West View Water is drawn from the Ohio River.

On December 20, 2010, the American Water Works Association, a trade organization of water professionals, commented that the EPA “is currently looking at new health effects data on hexavalent chromium. The process should be completed in late 2011, and the results will inform future regulatory actions.” They went on to note that while the EWG?s report may raise concerns, “it?s important to remember that detecting a substance in water does not always imply a health risk. The key question to answer is whether the substance presents health concerns at the level it is detected.”

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1. What is chloramine?
2. Why does West View Water use chloramine as a disinfectant?
3. How is my drinking water affected by chloramine?
4. Are there any precautions for using chloraminated water?
5. Is hexavalent chromium in drinking water harmful?
6. Why does my water sometimes have a cloudy appearance?