Cancer-causing chemical found in drinking water in parts of Houston-area

Chromium-6, a natural substance, is also known to cause cancer.

Proposed standard for Chromium-6
Proposed standard for Chromium-6

HOUSTON – Chromium-6 is a natural substance, but it’s also known to cause cancer.

Nobody knows that better than Erin Brockovich who fought to remove the same chemical from water in Hinckley, California as documented by the movie named after her.

Yet, this is the first time something is being done about it at the National level.

On Thursday, the U.S. House passed an amendment that Congressman Al Green authored, requiring the EPA to set a federal standard for chromium-6 in drinking water.

“It’s happening, the conversation that’s being had, we are being heard, we are being seen and that’s the step I think gets us where we need to go,” Brockovich said.

Some of the most elevated levels of chromium 6 in drinking water can be found in Alief, Fort Bend and Liberty counties.

Under current rules, there’s no standard for chromium-6 and no requirement to test for it. After KPRC tested for it, the city of Houston Public Works agreed to also test Alief’s water four times a year.

The state of California has a health goal of 0.02 PPB. At one facility in Alief, on Sun City Court, the latest reading was 6.3 PPB.

“This is a problem that we have to address, and my hope is that we will get this legislation passed in the Senate and that the President will sign it,” Green said.

If that happens, it could force the EPA to set a standard in the next two years.

“I come to Texas often. It’s great people, great state. I hate to tell you, you definitely got some water problems, but I’m glad this conversation is getting bigger and bigger,” Brockovich said.

Proposed standard for Chromium-6
Proposed standard for Chromium-6