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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Testing Sought for Chromium 6 in State's Tap Water

October 19, 2000

ALTADENA — Joining a growing chorus of public officials concerned over chromium 6 in local water, Assemblyman Jack Scott (D-Altadena) on Wednesday asked the Department of Health Services to begin testing for the chemical in tap water across the state.

In a letter to the department, Scott said quicker action was needed in light of tests by Los Angeles County toxicology officials revealing chromium 6 levels as high as 8 parts per billion at some county facilities--about 40 times more than a proposed new standard.

"Two years is too long to wait," he wrote. "I suggest that the timeline for statewide testing be expedited by more than a year."

Already, Gov. Gray Davis has signed SB 2127, a bill by state Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) that would require the state health department to determine chromium 6 levels in drinking water supplied by the San Fernando Valley aquifers, assess the risk and report findings by Jan. 1, 2002.

Officials say that while the study will focus on the San Fernando Valley, its conclusions, particularly with regard to health impacts, will be relevant statewide.

A draft regulation by the state Department of Health Services would give the state's 3,400 water systems until Dec. 31 2003, to test for chromium 6 and other chemicals, according to a copy provided by Scott.

David Spath, Department of Health Services drinking water chief, said he had not seen the letter from Scott and would reserve comment on any proposal for expediting water testing or expanding testing to include tap water.

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