The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a report raising concerns about the presence of chromium 6 – also known as hexavalent chromium – in public water supplies. Hexavalent chromium, a suspected carcinogen, is the contaminant made famous by the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich.”
Ridgewood Water shares the EWG’s concern for water quality and public health protection. Water utilities currently monitor for “total” chromium, of which hexavalent chromium is a component. Most public water utilities, including Ridgewood Water, are in compliance with the existing standard.
The Safe Drinking Water Act, which was established to protect the quality of drinking water, requires a rigorous scientific approach for evaluating contaminants for regulation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been looking at health effects data on hexavalent chromium. Ridgewood Water has been testing for this substance as part of the unregulated contaminant sampling program which provides data to EPA for scientific evaluation.
It’s important to remember that detecting a substance in water does not always imply a health risk. The key question that researchers seek to answer is whether the substance presents health concerns at the level it is detected. That’s why the federal regulatory process requires EPA to examine potential health impacts of the substance, paths of exposure, and occurrence data. A thorough evaluation of all this data increases the likelihood that new regulations will offer meaningful risk reduction. Ridgewood Water is committed to meeting all regulatory standards for public water supplies including any new requirements for hexavalent chromium that may be instituted.
For more information on chromium in drinking water, please refer to the links to the right.