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Chromium in City Water Found to Be at Safe Level

November 11, 1998

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY — The Valley's watermaster has assured a Los Angeles City Council committee that local drinking water is safe.

Last month, City Councilman Joel Wachs called for an investigation of hexavalent chromium in drinking water. Tests have found that the substance caused cancer in laboratory mice when taken in very high doses.

The state office of environmental health hazard assessment is considering a proposal to dramatically tighten the drinking water standards for the chemical.

But Watermaster Mel Blevins, who oversees local water supplies, said this week that the 1958 study that produced cancer in mice exposed the animals to ten thousand 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 asked for a status report on the proposed levels for hexavalent chromium.

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