Posts Tagged 'hexavalent chromium'

Do You Trust Your Tap Water?

When most of us were kids, we played outside and drank water from the garden hose. Most likely you have traded in the garden hose for bottled or filtered water, but you still need tap water for several household uses. How much do you know about your water and is it safe to drink? The answer depends on where you live.

According to The Washington Post, Hexavalent chromium is being studied by the state of California as a possible carcinogen and has been found in the water supply of 31 cities. 25 of these cities are above the maximum safety level that this California study suggests.

Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? This is the substance on which that movie was based.  Hexavalent chromium is used for industrial practices like chrome plating and plastics manufacturing. The real Erin Brockovich, who is a legal advocate, says she wasn’t surprised by the report because so many factories are using it.

The issue with hexavalent chromium, according to the study by the state of California, is it causes cancer in rats. If California decides to limit the amount of this substance in drinking water, it will be the first standard like this in the U.S.

The highest level was from Norman, OK. Their figure came in at 200 times more than the safe limit (.06 parts per billion) proposed in the California study.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the results of a three-year investigation of municipal water supplies across the U.S. The research and advocacy group looked at water quality tests performed by water utilities since 2004. The EWG also rated 100 cities’ water utilities with a population over 250,000.

Cities with the best water are Arlington, TX, Providence, RI, Fort Worth, TX, Charleston, SC, Boston, MA, Honolulu, HI, Austin, TX, Fairfax County, VA, St. Louis, MO and Minneapolis, MN.

Cities with the worst water are Pensacola, FL, Riverside, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Reno, NV, Houston, TX, Omaha, NE, San Diego, CA and Jacksonville, FL.

Your city not listed? Click here for the full 100-city listing.

The most widespread and well-known contaminant in tap water in the U.S. is lead. Authorities suggest to run the tap water for 30 seconds before using it.

For more information, please click below.


Why We Do Hexavalent Chromium Testing

Guest Blog by Bennett Ghormley, Chief Safety Officer, AltairStrickland Group

A viewpoint from a leading company that includes hexavalent chromium testing as part of its company’s safety program.

From the moment in 2006 that the Department of Labor/OSHA issued a final standard addressing occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium, our company realized that we must take prompt action because our employees work around chromium dust caused by welding, grinding and gouging on stainless steel and other alloy metals.

 The standard revealed the facts that our welders and others in the welding area could be exposed to the hazards of chromium from the metallurgy.  In addition to use of engineering controls, workplace controls, PPE, and respirator selection and use, the company safety specialists knew that education would be the key to control and elimination of hazards that could expose employees.

 By 2007, AltairStrickland had developed and implemented the hexavalent chromium policy, employee training, field action plan and employee medical evaluations.  Without them all, the program would not have been as successful.  Because the company is proactive, hundreds of employees have remained risk-free from the hazards of chromium dust.

 Environmental and laboratory specialists from ExperTox were instrumental in aiding our company in developing the program and prior to the OSHA effective date, assisted AltairStrickland in field testing of welding setups.  The creation of dispersion studies on an actual jobsite helped the company know how to plan for future welding both in confined spaces and in outside fabrication areas.  The studies conducted early-on are still helping the company today.


Lessons learned—No new program is without hiccups.  Even with the best of intentions, our program had some learning curves, such as:

  • Demonstrating to all employees the seriousness of the program
  • Assuring training for all employees and subcontractors
  • Ventilation planning and engineering studies
  • Conducting employee health baselines and medical surveillance


 Thanks to ExperTox, AltairStrickland’s safety for alloy and hexavalent chromium welding is assured.

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