December 20, 2010

Poison in the well

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 6:41 pm

Author’s note:
While this article focuses on my hometown, Madison, WI, it is of relevance to everyone, especially if your city is on this list. (I hope Norman, OK isn’t near Bart in Tulsa). This is yet another example of corporate America poisoning people for profit and of the need for government to regulate industries. One may think that after the “Erin Brockovich” case industries would have learned a lesson, but apparently not. Keep in mind that the infamous Koch brothers own many of the types of industries that pollute our water with this poison.

An environmental group that analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States, including Madison, WI, found that most contained hexavalent chromium (a.k.a. chromium-6), a probable carcinogen that was made famous by the film “Erin Brockovich.” Of the 35 cities’ drinking water that was tested, Madison ranks number four worst at 1.58 ppb.

The study, released today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is the first nationwide analysis of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public. Although no safety limits have been set nationwide for the chemical, the state of California has proposed “a public health goal” for safe levels of 0.06 ppb.

According to the Washington Post, this comes as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering whether to set a limit for hexavalent chromium in tap water. The agency is reviewing the chemical after the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, deemed it a “probable carcinogen” in 2008.

Hexavalent chromium has long been known to cause lung cancer when inhaled, but scientists only recently found evidence that it causes cancer in laboratory animals when ingested. It has been linked in animals to liver and kidney damage as well as leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers.

Hexavalent chromium was a commonly used industrial chemical until the early 1990s. It is still used in some industries, such as in chrome plating and the manufacturing of plastics and dyes. Hexavalent chromium gets into water supplies after being discharged from steel and pulp mills as well as metal-plating and leather-tanning facilities. The chemical can also leach into groundwater from natural ores.

The study suggests that about 74 million U.S. residents from 42 states drink tap water with chromium, the bulk of which are likely in the cancer-causing form.

Read more, get links and a list of the cities tested here: Madison Independent Examiner

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