Carcinogen in ‘Erin Brockovich’ found across 31 US cities

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LONDON - The domestic tap water of 31 out of 35 US cities, which were surveyed, contains hexavalent chromium — the probable carcinogen made famous by the film “Erin Brockovich”.

The chemical has been linked to leukaemia in animals as well as liver and kidney damage.

The first nationwide analysis of the chemical to be made public was conducted by the Environmental Working Group that detected its presence in 31 cities.

The highest levels were in Norman, Oklahoma; Honolulu, Hawaii; Riverside, California; and Madison, Wisconsin, the Telegraph reports.

The US government’s Environmental Protection Agency is currently deciding whether to set a limit for hexavalent chromium in tap water after the National Institute of Health assessed it a “probable carcinogen” in 2008.

Hexavalent chromium is often discharged from steel and pulp mills as well as metal-plating and leather-tanning facilities, the report states.

“This chemical has been so widely used by so many industries across the US that this doesn’t surprise me,” Brockovich told the Washington Post. “Our municipal water supplies are in danger all over the US.”

Brockovich’s battle against the chemical on behalf of the people of Hinkley, California, was brought to international attention in the 2000 film starring Julia Roberts.

The company eventually had to pay $333 million in damages to more than 600 residents.

Filed under: Environment, Medicine, World

Tags: ,
will not be displayed