California set the unsafe level in drinking water at 0.06 parts per billion (ppb). Here were the top 5 contaminated cities:
- Norman, Oklahoma: 12.9 ppb
- Honolulu, Hawaii: 2.00 ppb
- Riverside, California: 1.69 ppb
- Madison, Wisconsin: 1.58 ppb
- San Jose, California: 1.34 ppb
Click to enlarge.
Hexavalent chromium (Cr-6) is not the same as trivalent chromium (Cr-3), the latter employed as a dietary supplement to improve glucose metabolism and regulate body fat. Cr-6 is a strong oxidant linked to stomach and gastrointestinal cancers. Although the two can interconvert: Cr-3 becoming Cr-6 in the presence of chlorine, Cr-6 to Cr-3 in acid conditions.
What to do? We could regulate the industries that discharge Cr-6 into the environment. But that would cause a hardship for the industries. Maybe we could monitor discharge from big industries and exempt small ones, similar to the Tester Amendment on the food safety bill. After all, small industries care more about the public. They don't discharge toxins into the environment.
Maybe we should forego any regulation - just keep government out of people's business. Let water companies distribute any water they like.