Dark water

Down to Earth - - CONTENTS - WATER SUPPLIE S

A re­port finds that Chromium 6, a car­cino­gen, has seeped into twothirds of the US pop­u­la­tion's water sup­plies

for two-thirds of the US pop­u­la­tion con­tain hex­ava­lent chromium (Cr-6) in po­ten­tially un­safe quan­ti­ties, says non-profit En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group. Sci­en­tists of Cal­i­for­nia, the only US state to have a le­gal limit for the car­cino­gen, say the pub­lic health goal for Cr-6 should be 0.02 parts per bil­lion. Long-term in­ges­tion of Cr-6 can cause gas­troin­testi­nal can­cers, re­pro­duc­tive com­pli­ca­tions, liver dam­age and dis­rupt brain de­vel­op­ment in chil­dren. De­spite know­ing this, the US has not set a limit for Cr-6 in water. Ex­perts say it might have leached into tap water dur­ing its use in steel and power plants.

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