05.18.07

Federal Study Called for by Schiff Reveals Chromium 6 in Drinking Water can Cause Cancer

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff announced the release of a draft report of a federal cancer study of the health effects of ingesting chromium 6.  In 2001, Rep. Schiff spearheaded a California delegation-wide effort to commission the study by the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program.  The two year study found that high doses of chromium 6 in drinking water cause cancer in lab rodents.

“This study provides us with valuable information on the serious health risks associated with chromium 6 in drinking water,” said Schiff.  “It offers definitive evidence that chromium 6 contaminated drinking water can cause cancer and highlights the need to ensure that our federal drinking water standards are up to date to keep Americans healthy and safe.”

Congressman Schiff cautioned that the doses of chromium 6 used in the study far exceeded the amounts found in drinking water. Nonetheless, this is the first extensive study of chromium 6 in drinking water, and it shows that chromium 6 may pose a real health risk.

The link between chromium 6 and cancer garnered national attention after the release of the movie “Erin Brockovich” in 2000. Congressman Schiff has long worked to keep chromium 6 out of drinking water, dating back to his work in the California State Senate.  As a State Senator, he sponsored a bill requiring the California Department of Health Services to prepare a report on the amount of chromium 6 in the San Fernando Valley aquifer and the danger it poses to residents.

As a U.S. Congressman, he secured more than a million and a half dollars to develop technology capable of removing heavy metals such as chromium 6 from drinking water in Glendale.

He has also written to the EPA Administrator asking the EPA to determine whether a new, lower national public health standard is needed for chromium in drinking water. The national public standard is 100 parts per billion (ppb) of total chromium; California has established a standard of 50 ppb, and some health experts believe 2.5 ppb levels of chromium 6 are necessary to further protect public health.