Merry Christmas, fellow Americans, water is now going to give you cancer!
As I smugly sip the Diet Pepsi water enthusiasts have long told me is carcinogenic while chugging multiple bottles full of seemingly benign H20, the chemical responsible for Julia Roberts’ Oscar in Erin Brockovich has been found in the tap water in 31 out of 35 American cities. Yikes. Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, is classified by the Environmental Protection Association as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” and was not thought to be present in tap water in the US on such a wide scale until the recent study.
CNN got a statement from the EPA, in which they say standards are currently being reviewed to determine whether the levels are safe:
“In order to protect people’s health, EPA has had drinking water standards for total chromium, which includes chromium-6,” the agency said in a statement to CNN. “When this scientific assessment is finalized in 2011, EPA will carefully review the conclusions and consider all relevant information, including the Environmental Working Group’s study, to determine if a new standard needs to be set.”
Bottled water is not thought to be any safer, but employing a home water filter could limit exposure to hexavalent chromium. To see if your region is high-risk, you can check this map.