The people of Houston are drinking chromium 6 and at larger than acceptable amounts. And according to scientists, “…at a certain point – chromium 6 can cause cancer.”1 (Currently, the states differ on the amount of chromium 6 that’s acceptable to consume.)

Now, while chromium 6 is found in small amounts across the city, the ZIP code testing the highest year after year is 77099. Houston.

Although the EPA only requires cities to test for total chromium, not just chromium 6, California public health officials say cancer rates start to rise at a concentration of 0.02 parts per billion.

Here are their latest numbers:

(If you can’t read the numbers well, please click here.)

Houston City Council member Steve Le, who represents the district where numbers are most elevated, believes the only options people have are either a reverse osmosis filtration system or for the city to re-route the areas where they draw water. And both of those options are costly.

Congressman Al Green, who Le has been in contact with, authored a resolution asking for a tax break to help people afford filtration systems in 2017. “And he wrote the EPA asking for a hearing. Sadly, neither of those things has happened yet.” 2 He also asked the EPA to come up with a standard for chromium 6 in tap water:

“EPA is working on the development of an Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment, which will include a comprehensive evaluation of potential health effects associated with both inhalation and ingestion of hexavalent chromium. EPA anticipates that a public comment draft of the assessment will be released in late 2019.”3

However, the EPA has indicated in the past that the draft report would be available at the end of 2016 then at the end of 2017. Obviously, we are at the end of 2018 with no decision in sight.

Sources and References

  1. NBC, Click 2 Houston, October 9, 2018.
  2. NBC, Click 2 Houston, October 9, 2018.
  3. NBC, Click 2 Houston, October 9, 2018.