The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released this week a list of 28 chemicals and two viruses that it will monitor from 2013 to 2015 as part of its drinking water contaminant monitoring program. The list Includes hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, a likely carcinogen made famous by the 2000 film Erin Brockovich, about a real-life single mom played by Julia Roberts who learns that a major utility company might be poisoning local residents by illegally dumping toxic waste.
In its news release, the EPA said that addressing the possible presence of chromium-6 in drinking water is a top priority. The agency has come under fire in the past over the fact that no new contaminants have been added to the Safe Drinking Water Act since a 1996 provision called for a continuous five-year review. The current list covers 91 contaminants, including total chromium, a naturally occurring metal used in steel manufacturing and other industrial practices.
If you're concerned about chromium-6 contaminating your drinking water, installing a point-of-use water filter in your home could offer protection, according to the Environmental Working Group. Choose a system that meets NSF/ANSI standards 53, 58, or 62. That mainly applies to reverse-osmosis systems, though one carafe-style filter by ZeroWater also makes the grade. Consumer Reports' water filter Ratings include a dozen reverse-osmosis systems ranging in price from $150 to $1,800, as well as eight carafe-style filters, including the ZeroWater filter for as little as $35.