Study says cancer-causing toxin found in Northeast Ohio water

Study finds chemical in local drinking water

CLEVELAND - A new study says that a dangerous toxin has been detected in water in 50 states, including concerning amounts in Northeast Ohio.

The Environmental Working Group published its study findings Tuesday, noting that a dangerous carcinogen, called chromium-6, has been found in the drinking water of 200 million Americans. It's the same toxin featured in the famous Erin Brokovich case.

Between 2013-15, utilities took more than 60,000 drinking water samples and found chromium-6 in more than 75 percent of them. The EWG analyzed the date and found that more than two-thirds of America's population is drinking from a contaminated supply.

In Cuyahoga Falls, four EPA water tests in 2014 and 2015 found levels of chromium-6 in one sample.  The sample came from the lab at the local water plant.  It contained 1.4 parts per billion of chromium-6, which is well below the EPA standard.  

In Cuyahoga County, all six water systems that were tested yielded positive results for the presence of chromium-6. The six systems tested were Cleveland, Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Berea, Bedford and Chagrin Falls. Forty-seven of 52 samples tested positive.

All seven systems tested in Lorain and all four tested in Lake counties had traces of chromium-6. all four in Medina and all five in Summit County including the city of Akron, were positive.

The city of Cleveland Water Department issued a statement in response to the study on Tuesday.

"We want to assure all of our customers that your safety continues to be our top priority. Cleveland Water meets and exceeds all State and Federal drinking water standards as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), including regulations related to Chromium," the statement said.

According to the EWG, a 2008 study found that drinking water containing chromium-6 caused cancer in lab rodents. A 2010 study concluded that ingesting small amounts of chromium-6 can cause cancer in humans.

The city of Cleveland ranked 15th in average level of chromium-6 in the largest U.S. water systems, averaging .102 parts per billion. 

The next scheduled testing is between 2018 and 2020.

To learn more about the EWG study, click here.



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