It was reported recently that a carcinogen is showing up in numerous municipal waters, from Chicago to Honolulu. The toxin is a metal: hexavalent chromium. The amount found in Chicago was 3X the upper limit of safety declared by the government.
"Hex" refers to 6, and in this case, it refers to +6, which is a measure of oxidation. Therefore, hexavalent chromium refers to chromium that is in a highly oxidized state, and there are many different forms of it. Sodium dichromate and chromium trioxide are two examples. About 150,000 tons of hexavalent chromium are produced each year. It goes into stainless steel, textile dyes, wood preservatives, anti-corrosion chemicals, electroplating, and more. It is considered genotoxic, and inhaling it (as steel workers do) is considered a leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking.
I’m glad the media reported this , but remember, it is the same media that repeatedly hounds us about drinking bottled water. They remind us how expensive it is (more expensive than gasoline) and that all the water bottes could circle the Earth several times, etc. etc. Some municipalities have actually proposed laws banning the sale and distribution of bottled water. Well, avoiding the likes of hexavalent chromium is exactly why we don't drink water from the tap. Besides, if you were serious about identifying unnecessary bottle-waste, wouldn't you start with soda pop rather than purified water?
I realize there is a lot of controversy about which kind of water is best. Lately, I have been drinking soft spring water which comes from Texas springs that are 800 feet below the ground. It is purified and tested before being sold. For many years, I drank distilled water, and I am still not opposed to distilled water. I don't think it is harmful or dangerous, as some Internet pundits declare. Remember that rain water is essentially distilled water, except to the extent that it picks up dust from the atmosphere. So, if Nature is making distilled water, how bad can it be? However, I like the taste of spring water better, and that’s why I drink it. However, I avoid tap water as much as I possibly can. If I’m out somewhere, and I don’t have water with me and I’m thirsty, I may drink from a fountain. But, that is rare, and it is the only time I ingest tap water.