It was recently reported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that tap water in over 30 U.S. cities contains hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen. Hexavalent chromium is the chemical that was made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich. In the EWG study, tap water was tested in 35 cities; 31 of those cities’ water contained hexavalent chromium.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not set limits for hexavalent chromium yet, but is considering it after the National Institutes of Health recognized it as a likely carcinogen in 2008. EPA limits total chromium in drinking water, but total chromium also includes the beneficial chromium—trivalent chromium—which is used by the body for nutrition. They should really test for the two separately.
California is attempting to set limits for hexavalent chromium in water at 0.06 parts per billion (ppb). Of the 35 cities tested in EWG’s test, 25 cities contained levels above California’s limits.
There are so many other toxins in water that I don’t have room to cover in this blog post. Instead, I urge you to consider filtering your water at home. The best filters are thought to be reverse osmosis filters, which utilize fine membranes to filter out toxins. Reverse osmosis filters go under the sink, and are more expensive than other filters. But when it comes to getting the purest water, I think it’s a great investment in your health. (And think of all the money you’ll save if you don’t have to buy bottled water anymore, not to mention reducing the amount of plastic entering landfills!)