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Worrisome levels of cancer-causing toxic metal found in Chicago drinking water

Bryan Alaspa's picture

Reports are that, in the very first test for the metal contaminant, Chicago’s water contains level of a potentially toxic, cancer-causing metal.

It was the first time the test has been done in the Chicago area, where drinking water comes from Lake Michigan. When the test was completed, according to reports, the levels of hexavalent chromium was more than 11 times higher than the new health standard set in the state of California just a month ago.

According to media reports, there are those who believe that the toxic metal may lead to incidents of stomach cancer. However, there is debate over whether or not there should be national standards over levels of hexavalent chromium in water supplies all over the country.

Right now there are debates between industrial polluters and municipal water facilities around the country to prevent an initiative from the Obama administration to enact standards for the metal in drinking water. In fact, President Obama has initiated standards that would require communities to look for a whole bunch of new materials and substances in drinking water.

Reports say that the water was tested out of Lake Michigan contained .23 parts per million of the toxic metal. Lake Michigan supplies water to the entire city of Chicago and much of the surrounding area. Over seven million people get their drinking water from Lake Michigan.

Recent, the state of California enacted new standards for the metal. The new standard has set a new goal of only .02 parts per million of hexavalent chromium.

There are a variety of health concerns connected with the toxic metal. In addition to the threat of stomach cancer, there are some who believe prolonged exposure could cause reproductive problems, interference with childhood development and risks of liver and kidney damage.

Chicago city officials stated that the tap water in the city is safe. They also stated that, if a national standard was established for the water then the standard for Chicago would likely be less than California’s.

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