Toxic chromium in California’s drinking waterlabroots
Drinking water sources in the U.S are becoming contaminated daily. Especially in California, the drinking water sources are being saturated by Chromium-6. What is Chromium-6? Also known by the name hexavalent chromium, it is a chemical compound in which chromium is present at the +6 Oxidation state.
You might not be aware that, unlike the trivalent chromium, which helps in breaking down glucose, hexavalent chromium is a harsh chemical and can cause intestinal and stomach cancer. Hexavalent chromium is mainly used in industries like wood preservation, textile manufacturing, electroplating, and stainless-steel production. Hexavalent chromium is highly soluble and moves in the environment easily.
Normally because of the industrial leaks, chromium-6 gets mixed with the groundwater, which enters your body through the tap water. The concern with chromium-6 in tap water led a group of scientists to analyze the data collected by GAMA on chromium values in California groundwater. The study revealed that about 15% of the groundwater sources contained more chromium-6 values than 10PPB. After the study, it was confirmed by the scientists that industrial leaks are not the only cause for the contamination of groundwater.
The drinking water/tap water is being contaminated by naturally occurring chromium-6 also. After analyzing the situation, it was found that Central Valley and California’s coast have the highest rate of conversion of chromium to chromium-6.
Even though researchers have analyzed the locations around California and identified the bay area and the area near Industrial LA as having the highest amount of conversion, they are yet to determine the reason behind the oxidation of natural chromium to its toxic form.