How safe is the tap water in your home or office?
Recent studies have uncovered that over 200 million Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of chromium-6. Where? In everyday tap water.
Made famous by the film Erin Brockovich, chromium-6 levels in our tap water are far above the recommended limit. But what's the scandal behind this metallic element, and how is it harmful to Americans?
In this post, we'll highlight the dangers of chromium-6 and how they were uncovered.
What Is Chromium-6?
Also known as hexavalent chromium, it's a naturally occurring metallic element found in soil, plants, and rocks.
Basically, this chromium is split into two types:
1. Trivalent chromium (chromium-3)
2. Hexavalent chromium (chromium-6)
Chromium is actually an essential human dietary requirement. It's found in the vegetables, fruit, meats, and grains we eat. The body uses chromium to process carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and enhance insulin production.
However, hexavalent chromium is a toxic and highly dangerous form of this mineral. This is especially true when it's produced through industrial processes.
So how does it make its way into our ground water? This is the exact question Erin Brockovich had.
Industrial pollution is the short answer. Leakages, inadequate storage, and poor industrial waste disposal are to blame.
What Are the Health Effects of Chromium-6?
Exposure to hexavalent chromium at certain levels can be fatal. Before it reaches this point, it can cause many negative health effects.
Research has established that just breathing in particles of hexavalent chromium can cause lung cancer. This has led to strict regulations against the use of airborne chromium-6 in the workplace.
Negative health effects include:
- Eye irritation and damage
- Perforated eardrums
- Respiratory irritation
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Pulmonary edema
- Respiratory cancer
- Colon cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Reproductive failure
- Reproductive developmental harm
- Skin ulcers, also known as chrome ulcers
It's also worth noting that infants and children are at greater risk when regularly exposed to this harmful element.
Erin Brockovich Uncovers the Dangers of Hexavalent Chromium
If you haven't seen the 2000 film based on Erin Brockovich's discovery of hexavalent chromium, let us fill you in.
An unemployed, single mother of three, Erin was involved in a car accident with an irresponsible driver. She tried to claim against the irresponsible driver, but the lawsuit fell through. She then managed to convince her lawyer, Ed Masry, to give her a job in lieu of losing the lawsuit.
Initially hired to file paperwork, Erin stumbled upon some incorrectly filed papers which she decided to investigate.
Erin uncovered a suspicious real estate case involving multi-billion Dollar corporation, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). PG&E was trying to buy land from homeowners in the area of Hinkley, California, which is contaminated with chromium-6.
Due to their negligent waste disposal methods, the water used by their power plants had been contaminating the local groundwater. As Erin dug deeper, she discovered it was this contaminated groundwater which was poisoning residents of the area.
As the investigation intensified, Erin and the law firm found themselves involved in a multi-million Dollar lawsuit stacked against PG&E. PG&E was eventually found guilty of groundwater contamination and had to pay $333 million to the residents of Hinkley.
The lawsuit is one of the largest class action lawsuits against a billion-dollar corporation in US history.
A jaw-dropping fact? Some of the residents of Hinkley were asked to sign a waiver by PG&E stating they were aware of groundwater contamination.
What they didn't understand was just how bad the contamination was. The waiver they signed conveniently failed to mention this fact.
How Are Our Lives Impacted by This Discovery Today?
With the contamination of our US groundwater exposed, how has this impacted our lives today?
The truth is, the battle against water contamination is ongoing for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Despite the unacceptably high levels of hexavalent chromium, the US currently has no drinking water standard for chromium-6.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has confirmed that ingestion of tiny amounts of hexavalent chromium can cause cancer in people.
Now more than ever before, Americans are exposed to this deadly carcinogen and need to be aware of the dangers. Thanks to Erin Brockovich and her discoveries, US citizens are now aware of the dangers lurking in our groundwater.
What Does This Mean for the Average American?
The stark reality is that Americans are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals every day.
Carcinogens are present in the foods we eat, certain cosmetics, and the water we drink. The combination of these different forms of carcinogens is far more harmful than one cancer-causing element.
There's no doubt that hexavalent chromium is toxic. But experts argue that our lifestyles could also add to our development of diseases such as cancer.
The bottom line is that Americans should not be forced to take the risk of exposing themselves or their children to hexavalent chromium.
You need to take your health into your own hands. Knowing that you could be exposing yourself and your children to dangerous toxins, it comes down to daily choices. Choosing to stay informed on everyday environmental hazards is essential to preserving your health.
The good news is that Americans are not left without options. Water purifiers that can be installed in your home and office are just one of those options.
Drink Safe and Clean Water with Rock Mountain Water Distillers
At Rocky Mountain Water Distillers, we provide Americans with the ability to take their health into their own hands.
Our range of commercial and home water distillers ensure the water you drink is always pure. Our business ensures you drink water the way nature intended.