Monday, December 20, 2010

Chromium-6 In Honolulu's Tap Water

Original post below. Please read the endnote.
In 1996 the cancer-stricken residents of Hinkley, CA won a $333 million settlement from PG&E for contaminating their tap water with hexavalent chromium, which is commonly abbreviated as chromium-6. This was the basis of the 2000 movie
Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts.

Fast forward to 2010: Tap water from 31 of 35 U.S. cities tested contains chromium-6 according to laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG). [Click for a summary of the EWG report.] The highest levels were detected in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Riverside, California, as the table below shows.

City ------------------------ Population ----- Chromium-6 in Tap Water
Norman, Oklahoma ---------- 89,952 --------------- 12.9 ppb
Honolulu, Hawaii ----------- 661,004 --------------- 2.00 ppb
Riverside, California ------- 280,832 --------------- 1.69 ppb
Madison, Wisconsin -------- 200,814 --------------- 1.58 ppb
San Jose, California -------- 979,000 --------------- 1.34 ppb

The EPA has not yet set a limit for chromium-6 in water despite mounting evidence of the contaminant’s toxic effects, including an EPA draft toxicological review that classifies it as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” when consumed in drinking water.

According to EWG, the National Toxicology Program has found that chromium-6 in drinking water shows clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in laboratory animals, increasing the risk of otherwise rare gastrointestinal tumors.

California officials last year proposed setting a public health goal for chromium-6 in drinking water of 0.06 parts per billion (ppb). The level of chromium-6 in Honolulu's tap water is 33 times over this proposed limit.
Note added on December 29, 2010: This article suggests that the Chromium-6 reported amount in tap water is of no consequence to human health.


Anonymous said...

I am horrified to learn that our Honolulu water is contaminated with this highly toxic carginogen. What can we do?

Panos Prevedouros said...

The EWG website has a list of suitable water filters for filtering out chromium-6.

Panos Prevedouros said...

Did you see how the Board of Water Supply tried to confuse the issue? By mixing up all chromium variants. Wrong! Chromium-3 is good and is in some dietary supplements. Chromium-6 and higher number variants are likely carcinogenic.

Anonymous said...

Why don't any local tv stations want to make a report on this important subject?
I guess they are ok with the poisining of our citizens

Anonymous said...

How does Chromium-6 become part of the Honolulu water supply ?

Panos Prevedouros said...

I believe that at least a couple local TV news programs had a story on this but without any further investigation. KITV interviewed BWS. Basically the BWS did not have any answers and they repeated the position that since EPA does not provide regulatory limits, they do not have to do anything about it. Chromium-6 is most likely coming from the coating of the water pipes used to inhibit corrosion.

Unknown said...

I was there for 3 years in the navy. I drank alot of water. If I get some kind of cancer I'm suing. My friend was there for 5 years, she already had fibroid tumors but they grew in number and size. She like to eat ice and drink cold water all day.