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Utah DDW Response to the EWG Study on Hexavalent Chromium

The analytical method used in the Environmental Working Group (EWG) study may be subject to interference by other metals present in the water, such as iron or other salts. The method is known to require the addition of buffers that have trace levels of chromium. Using a method which is susceptible to interference by naturally occurring minerals in water can only lead to uncertain findings.

The EWG study has one data point from the entire state of Utah. This data point is an unknown location somewhere in Salt Lake City. Furthermore, there is no follow-up sampling at this spot or neighboring locations. It is Utah DDW’s policy to first resample a location that shows high levels of any contaminant to first rule out error and to truly confirm the initial findings.

What Should You Do?

The Utah DDW does NOT recommend that water consumers install a point of use filtration device, as mentioned in the EWG report. The advice to install a filtration device at the tap is premature, and if the filtration device is not properly maintained, over time it can pose a much bigger risk than trace amounts of hexavalent chromium (or any other naturally occurring minerals or salts) poses.

If you are interested in finding the levels of total chromium present in your drinking water please contact your water system and ask for a copy of the most recent Consumer Confidence Report. This report is prepared by July 1 of every year and will show all levels of all detected contaminants, along with the standards, for your water system.

The Salt Lake City water system routinely goes above and beyond the requirements for sampling their water sources. Their data is extensive and ranges from 1977 to present day for total chromium. At no time has their testing exceeded the standard maximum level for total chromium. The Salt Lake City water system is diligent in their sampling, and aggressive at maintaining a safe drinking water system.

If you have further questions, please contact Mark Berger (mberger@utah.gov) (801) 641-6457.

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