More than 200 million Americans drink water containing potentially dangerous amounts of a carcinogen made famous by environmental activist Erin Brockovich — including the residents of Phoenix, Glendale and other Valley cities, according to a report released this week.
The average water sample in Phoenix had the highest level of the toxin among water utilities nationwide serving more than 1 million customers, with almost 400 times the amount of chromium-6 that California scientists set as a health goal. But because that number is an average, it doesn’t quite represent the levels of chromium-6 in the water that customers drink, a city water official said.
Samples from city wells had the highest levels of the contaminant but contribute a small fraction to the tap, said Susan Kinkade, a Phoenix civil engineer. Taking that into consideration, chromium-6 levels in Phoenix drinking water are on average about 20 times the California goal.
Chromium-6 in Valley drinking water
Phoenix: 7.9 parts per billion.
Glendale: 6.4 parts per billion.
Avondale: 6.1 parts per billion.
Gilbert: 5.9 parts per billion.
Mesa: 5.6 parts per billion.
Chandler: 5.2 parts per billion.
Peoria: 3.8 parts per billion.
Queen Creek: 3.5 parts per billion.
Scottsdale: 3.5 parts per billion.
Tempe: 2.3 parts per billion.