California Cities Have Chromium 6 Levels Above The State-Mandated Maximum

More than 20 years ago, a legal clerk by the name of Erin Brockovich was organizing medical records for a pro bono real estate case her employer was handling, when she started wondering why the medical records were there in the first place. Three years later, her curiosity culminated in a $333 million settlement with PG&E, to compensate the residents of Hinkley, California for exposing them to a toxic chemical: hexavalent chromium, better known as chromium 6.

Chromium 6 exposure in drinking water is known to cause cancer.

Chromium 6 is present in the environment both through natural process and artificial manufacturing. It is currently used in a number of industrial processes, such as the manufacture and finishing of stainless steel and chrome plating, and is also used as an anticorrosion agent in cooling towers (which was the source of the Hinkley contamination in the 1980s).

Chromium 6 is a carcinogen, which means that it causes cancer. Most incidental exposures of chromium 6 involve drinking water contaminated with the chemical. This form of exposure results in cancers of the mouth and intestine.  However, chromium 6 can also be inhaled, which can result in respiratory cancers, such as lung cancer. Despite these health effects, there is no federal legal limit for exposure to chromium 6, and California is the only state in the country with such a limitation.

While the story of Hinkley is now several decades old, chromium 6 exposure—recognized by the state of California to cause reproductive harm as well as cancer—is still a cause of concern.

A national study found that two local Central California cities have drinking water with chromium 6 levels above the legal limit.

In September of 2016, KQED reported that an analysis of more than 60,000 sources of tap water across the country showed that two Central California towns, Davis and Woodland, have levels of chromium in their drinking water that exceed the state limit of 10 parts per billion.

The state limit of 10 parts per billion is believed to result in an exposure level that will cause cancer in 500 out of every 1 million people who drink contaminated water every day over a period of 70 years. The tests showed that drinking water sampled at the University of California, Davis, had chromium 6 levels of 16.25 parts per billion, while Woodland had slightly higher levels, 16.79. These levels are more than 60% higher than the state mandated exposure level.

In addition, the study—conducted by watchdog organization Environmental Working Group—showed that two-thirds of American consumers have drinking water with contamination levels exceeding what state experts believe is the safe level of exposure.

While the projected health risks of chromium 6 exposure may seem minor or remote, the true health consequences of chromium 6 are unclear, especially in children, the elderly, and others who are particularly sensitive to environmental hazards.

So how can you protect your family from chromium 6 exposure?

A water filtration system can filter out harmful chromium 6, as well as other unwanted contaminants.

Don’t waste money and clutter up the environment by buying case after case of bottled water, or put your trust in cheap, consumer grade kitchen faucet filters. Besides, at best these measures only protect you from the water you drink—not the water you bathe in, brush your teeth with, or wash your clothes in.

A professional grade home water filtration system installed by the experts at Gilmore can protect your family from all in-home chromium 6 exposure. In addition, you will be protected from other potential contaminants, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and unknown hazardous chemicals.

We have decades of experience in choosing the right filtration system for the job, and properly installing it so that your system operates at peak performance. We believe that your family deserves to feel safe, especially in your own home, and we will do everything we can to provide you with the safe, healthy water that you deserve.