Hexavalent chromium or chromium-6 first came to national attention when law clerk and now consumer advocate Erin Brockovich investigated the water from California-based company Pacific Gas & Electric. Now, a new study of the drinking water in 85 Kentucky counties finds the highest levels of chromium-6 right here in Daviess County

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The study by the Environmental Working Group found that the average level of chromium-6 was 1.12 parts per billion which equals to a drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The normal limit imposed by the EPA is 100 parts per billion. But the limit of toxicity is based on chromium-3 not chromium-6. There is currently no standard to cover the more dangerous element.

Chromium-6 is found in coal-burning plants, is used in leather-tanning, and it is used in the production of materials like chrome plating; when inhaled, it is known to cause asthma, pneumonia, decreased respiratory function, and long-term exposure can produce effects on the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal, and immune systems.

Owensboro Municipal Utilities is the main supplier of drinking water in Daviess County. Read more about the study and link to an interactive map HERE.

(Source: wkyufm.org)