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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

4 Lawmakers Call for Chromium 'Action Level'

November 29, 2000

BURBANK — Despite resistance from state officials, four state lawmakers said Tuesday they would press for an "action level" on total chromium that would require public notice when the chemical exceeds 2.5 parts per billion in drinking water.

Speaking at a news conference at Burbank City Hall, state Sens. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles) and Adam Schiff (D-Glendale) and Assemblyman Jack Scott (D-Altadena) said they believe there is enough evidence that the chemical poses a threat to public health.

"I'm confident we can work with the health department throughout this process, and my hope is we can come to an agreement on the call for an action level," Ortiz said. "We think it's an appropriate request for the department."

The state currently allows up to 50 parts per billion of total chromium. The state Department of Health Services is considering a recommendation to lower that to 2.5 ppb to reduce concentrations of the toxic chromium 6.

David Spath, drinking water chief for the state Department of Health Services, has maintained that there is no need to set an action level for total chromium. He said that the department is still reviewing whether to lower the standard to 2.5 ppb, but that chromium 6 does not pose an acute risk to human health.

He did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

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