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Hexavalent chromium in tap water -- what does it mean? This Web chat can provide some answers

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

December 21, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
(Reed Saxon / Associated…)

Hexavalent chromium has been found at high levels in tap water in some U.S. cities. The report comes from an environmental advocacy group that urges federal regulators to adopt tougher standards for hexavalent chromium in drinking water. But what's toxic and what's safe remain in question. And now the Environmental Protection Agency promises to study hexavalent chromium and may order cities to start testing their tap water.

Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne will discuss the issue during an online chat Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST (noon CST and 1 p.m EST). Hawthorne wrote this story Monday that details Chicago-area communities whose water was found to carry high levels of the metal, which has been linked to cancer. He also reports here on the EPA's recent action.

Naturally, the news has created quite a stir. This Booster Shots blog post delves into the known -- and unknown -- hazards of hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6. And yes, this is the same metal found in the drinking water of a California town made famous in the movie "Erin Brokovich."

Bring your questions to the Web chat -- and stay tuned; this issue isn't going away any time soon.

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