Study finds high levels of cancer causing chemical in Phoenix water supply

A recent study showed high levels of Chromium-6 in Phoenix drinking water. FOX 10's Danielle Miller reports on why city officials say these numbers are misleading.

- A recent study showed high levels of Chromium-6 in Phoenix drinking water.  

You may have heard it before: Chromium 6 or Hexavalent chromium. It was the subject of the movie, "Erin Brokovich."

And this study found water in the city of Phoenix has very high levels of Chromium 6.

It's pretty scary stuff to hear, knowing all the possible effects of Chromium 6. We spoke with the city of Phoenix and they tell us thousands of tests are done daily on the drinking water, totaling nearly 5 million a year.

Officials claim the study is misleading.

A recent report done by EWG claims the average level of Chromium 6 in the Phoenix's drinking water supply is one of the highest in the country, coming in at 7.853 parts per billion -- which is 400 times more than what California chemists deem safe.

Studies have shown Chromium 6 to cause lung cancer, reproductive problems, liver damage and developmental harm.

"What we have is Chromium 6 is just an oxidized version of the chromium that's in our earth, in our crust that's coming out in the ground water," explained Troy Hayes, Assistant Water Services Director with the city of Phoenix.

Hayes says people living in the valley, drinking the water from the tap have nothing to worry about. He believes the numbers are misleading in the study because it was the ground water that was tested.

The unique thing is Phoenix is ground water is only 2 percent of our water that we use, 98 percent of that is surface water and so the water that is in our distribution system, the water that's going to our customers actually has very low levels of chromium in it."

He says drinking water in the valley is a very safe product for the customers.

"The technology to remove chromium only removes it to about one part per billion, like I said, the average in our water distribution system, we don't even have half of that what the technology can remove it to." 

The EPA released a statement to us, saying in part:

  • An acceptable level of Chromium 6 in tap water has not yet been determined
  • The EPA is in the process of studying it and its effects
  • Future regulation could come from these studies

Hayes believes whatever those new regulations may be, Phoenix will already be within the guidelines and people drinking the water here in the valley should not be concerned.

EWG Study:
www.ewg.org/research/chromium-six-found-in-us-tap-water

Map:
www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/2016-chromium6-lower-48.php


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