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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

Area Drinking Water Is Safe, City Council Told

November 10, 1998|SUE FOX

The San Fernando Valley's watermaster assured the City Council's Environmental Quality and Waste Management Committee on Monday that the Valley's drinking water is safe.

Last month, City Councilman Joel Wachs called for an investigation of hexavalent chromium--which decades ago was found to cause cancer in laboratory mice at very high doses--in drinking water. The state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is considering a proposal to dramatically tighten the drinking water standards for the chemical.

"I think they're just throwing out a number, where there's no chance of anyone ever--forever and ever--getting cancer," said Watermaster Mel Blevins, who oversees local water supplies. He said the 1958 study that produced cancer in mice exposed the animals to 10,000 times the amount of hexavalent chromium now allowed in drinking water.

The federal and state limit for total chromium in water is 50 parts per billion, and there is currently no standard set specifically for hexavalent chromium. The state agency's proposal would set the standard at two-tenths of a part per billion, a level Blevins called unrealistic and unacceptable.

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who chairs the committee, asked Blevins and representatives from other environmental agencies to return to the council in 60 days with a status report on the proposed levels for hexavalent chromium.

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