Carcinogen Found in Tap Water of More than 200M Americans, says Environmental Group

According to Fox 29 San Antonio, the city of San Antonio is one of the many cities in America that an environmental group is claiming has carcinogen-contaminated drinking water.

Same Toxin Featured in ‘Erin Brockovich’

The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their data and analysis on 23 of the largest water sources in the United States, including San Antonio’s.

Chromium-6, the toxin at the center of the Erin Brockovich movie, was deemed to be at an unsafe level in the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states, according to EWG. California state scientists determined that concentrations of chromium-6 that were larger than 0.02 parts per billion in tap water could cause increased cancer risks.

State regulators, however, settled on a legal limit of chromium-6 in drinking water to be 500 times larger than the proposed limit by the California scientists, says EWG.

San Antonio Water System Rebukes Claims

According to Fox 29 San Antonio, the San Antonio Water System tests the water constantly for toxins, including chromium-6, and no problem has been detected. Mark Hamilton of Edwards Aquifer Authority told Fox 29 San Antonio that much of the chromium-6 in San Antonio tap water is due to natural deposits and in very low concentrations.

In addition, the San Antonio Water System claimed the amount of chromium-6 they’ve discovered is much lower than in the EWG data analysis, reports Fox 29 San Antonio.

Information on Chromium-6 in Drinking Water

The following information is provided by Environmental Working Group (EWG) regarding chromium-6:

  • EPA tests showed that water tested in 1,370 United States counties had an average level of chromium-6 exceeding California’s non-binding public health goal.
    • According to the California scientists, this amount would pose no more than a one-in-a-million risk of cancer for people who drink it daily for 70 years.
  • EWG estimates that if left untreated, chromium-6 in tap water will cause more than 12,000 excess cases of cancer by the end of the century.
  • Studies have found that exposure to chromium-6 may present greater risks to infants and children, people who take antacids, and people with poorly functioning livers
    • Exposure can cause lung cancer, liver damage, reproductive problems, and developmental harm.
  • In 2010, the EPA completed, but did not officially release, a draft risk assessment that classified oral exposure to chromium-6 as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
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