Recent laboratory tests commisioned by the Environmental Working Group have found hexavalent chromium in the tap water of 31 cities. More disturbing still is the fact that the tap water from only 35 cities was sampled for the cancer-causing chemical, meaning it was found in 89 percent of the cities tested. The EWG estimates that 74 million Americans in 42 states could be drinking tap water that is polluted with chromium or its carcinogenic form, hexavalent chromium.
The Environmental Protection Agency allows for 100 parts per billion of total chromium in drinking water, but it has not set a safe or acceptable limit for hexavalent chromium, the cancer-causing variant of chromium. As such, water utility companies are not required to test for hexavalent chromium. California is the only state that requires such testing, and it has set a legal limit of .06 parts per billion. Of the 31 cities that had hexavalent chromium, 25 cities had levels higher than that amount.
Currently, the EPA maintains a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 100 parts per billion for total Chromium, but they do not test specifically for the carcinogenic variant hexavalent chromium.
The EPA currently tests only for total chromium, and not for hexavalent chromium. Chromium can cause allergic dermatitis, and the EPA has set a Maximum Contaminant Level of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for total chromium. Hexavalent chromium is recognized as a carcinogen if inhaled, and while further research must be done, it is probable that it is also carcinogenic when ingested in drinking water.
We at Filters Fast believe that everyone deserves the right to clean water, and we know the EPA has always supported this right. Through the Safe Water Drinking Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency sets "national health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water. US EPA, states, and water systems then work together to make sure that these standards are met."
In light of the EWG's recent tests, it is obvious that hexavalent chromium is found in the tap water of many cities, and it is also likely that it occurs in the tap water of cities that were not included in the test. To protect the American public, we ask that the EPA set a standard for hexavalent chromium in tap water so that the agency may work with water utilities to ensure our drinking water is safe.