Thursday, October 3, 2013

Demand safer drinking water in California!

2013-09-02 message from the "Environmental Working Group":
Demand a true safety limit for hexavalent chromium. We must make our voices heard before October 11.
Click here right now to demand safe drinking water [link].
The California Department of Public Health is about to leave you unprotected from hexavalent chromium, the potentially carcinogenic industrial chemical made famous by investigator Erin Brockovich.
After spending 10 years developing a legal limit for the amount of hexavalent chromium that can pollute drinking water, the agency has proposed a bar that is 500 times higher than the level California state scientists have determined to be safe for public health.
The state Department of Public Health is accepting public comment until October 11. We need you to take action right now. The California Department of Public Health needs to know that Californians want real protection from hexavalent chromium.
Some hexavalent chromium pollution occurs in nature but more is attributed to leakage from industrial processes such as chrome-plating, leather tanning and corrosion control.
In 2010, EWG research found potentially unsafe levels of hexavalent chromium in the drinking water in 31 of 35 city water supplies across the country. This report became one of the turning points in a nationwide movement to set safe legal limits on hexavalent chrome in drinking water.
The California Department of Public Health wants to set the legal limit for hexavalent chromium in water at 10 parts per billion, 500 times higher than the public health goal issued by state toxicologists. As well, if these regulations become law, only 15 percent of California's contaminated water sources would be treated.
That is simply not good enough. We need the state to establish real protections for our drinking water. The state is accepting public comments on these proposed standards until October 11. If we can flood the Office of Regulations with demands from Californians - from you! - we can get a true safety standard.
Text of petition:
"Establish a health protective drinking water limit for hexavalent chromium" at []:
Thank you for this opportunity to provide comment on the Department of Public Health's (DPH) proposed drinking water legal limit (also known as a maximum contaminant limit or MCL) for hexavalent chromium. I wish to go on record as strongly opposing the 10 parts per billion (ppb) standard because it will not protect the vast majority of Californians already exposed to this extremely toxic chemical through their drinking water. 
Hexavalent chromium is a potent carcinogen and reproductive toxicant and is linked to other serious health effects such as severe gastric problems, hemorrhaging, and liver and kidney damage and failure. Yet DPH is proposing a standard 500 times greater the public health goal of .02 ppb, which the state has determined (through peer-reviewed scientific analysis) to be protective of health.
What DPH has done in proposing the 10 ppb standard is to give greater priority to the costs to drinking water providers and polluters than to the health and safety of the people living in the 51 counties with detected hexavalent chromium pollution. Based on the department's own data, this standard will ensure that 85 percent of the water sources known to contain hexavalent chromium will not be treated, allowing potentially millions of Californians to continue to be exposed. While DPH argues that treating the water is expensive, it is largely ignoring the external costs borne by communities in the form of health expenditures, replacement water, lower property values, and other social effects. It is also turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering of families hurt by this contaminant.
I am concerned that DPH has forgotten that its role is to protect public health. I call on you to remember that mandate and to establish a health protective drinking water standard that will ensure that all known water sources contaminated with hexavalent chromium are treated.

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