If you think that having fluoride in your drinking water is disturbing, here’s something that will trouble you even more. Hexavalent chromium or chromium-6, a potentially carcinogenic pollutant, is found in the drinking water of over 30 cities in the United States and is being consumed by almost 74 million Americans nationwide.
A December 2010 report submitted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that hexavalent chromium pollutes 31 of 35 tested water samples – submitted by EWG supporters – from different cities in the US. A number of independent tests by various water utility companies confirmed these findings.
Dr. Joseph Mercola says that hexavalent chromium is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
The PG&E and Hexavalent Chromium Controversy
One of the biggest controversies about hexavalent chromium involved Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), a California utility company that was contaminating the groundwater of Hinkley, California with the chemical for over three decades. PG&E did their best to cover this up, even going as far as publishing a fraudulent analysis!
“A 2005 Wall Street Journal investigation and a separate EWG report based on court documents and depositions from a similar lawsuit in Kettleman City, California, revealed that PG&E had hired consultants to publish a fraudulent analysis of cancer mortality in Chinese villagers exposed to hexavalent chromium, in an attempt to disprove the link between the chemical and cancer.
The study was published in the respected Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and scientists and regulators — including the EPA — cited the fraudulent article in research and safety assessments. The journal retracted the paper in 2006 in response to EWG’s request for corrective action.” (link)
After reviewing the data, California officials later discovered that those exposed to chromium-6 had a significant increase in stomach cancer. In 2007, a study by the National Toxicology Program revealed that that this chemical increases gastrointestinal tumors in animals.
In the end, PG&E paid 333 million dollars in damages to the residents of Hinkley, which is the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history.
Beware of the Damaging Effects of Chromium
Industrial workers who are exposed to chromium through the inhalation of dust or mist or through skin contact experienced numerous health problems like lung cancer and respiratory tract, eyes, and skin damage. However, there are no studies confirming the effects of hexavalent chromium in drinking water on humans.
But Dr. Mercola says that whether or not there are proven side effects, a carcinogenic substance like hexavalent chromium should NOT be in your drinking water.
“There’s no way to know what health problems these tap water toxins will cause after decades of exposure. Effects are often cumulative and long-term, making it difficult to connect the dots between cause and effect,” he warns.
Hexavalent chromium is just one the hazardous contaminants found in drinking water. Other common contaminants include fluoride, disinfection byproducts, and pharmaceutical drugs.
Where To Get Safe, Chemical-Free Drinking Water
Dr. Mercola says purified water is the best beverage to help maintain optimal health. Bottled water is not a good option, though, because it is often taken from the same municipal water systems as tap water, meaning it may contain chromium-6 and other toxins that lurk in public water supplies.
Unfortunately, carbon-based filters and basic water filters cannot remove chromium-6. Therefore, using a safe water filter with a reverse osmosis system, which can filter out this toxin, is your best option.
Natural spring water is also a great choice because it is filtered by the earth, and is not pasteurized or heated like bottled water. Some springs are even monitored by the local municipalities for contaminants. It is called “living water” because of its restorative benefits. So if there is a gravity-fed spring in your area, get your drinking water from it.