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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Headworks and Hex 6: Dirt At Sky High Levels

Earlier this week, Environmental Working Group (EWG) came out with a national survey on Hexavalent Chromium (aka Chromium VI) in the drinking water of major US cities, including Los Angeles.

Reacting to the findings, U.S. Senators Boxer and Feinstein quickly put together a press conference about how they are now rapidly creating federal legislation to address the Chromium VI problem.

Chromium VI is a nasty little metallic element. To many scientists and health professionals, even at 1 ppb (parts per billion) there are no safe levels of this deadly chemical.

California's state target for safe levels of Chromium VI is less than or equal to 6 ppm (parts per million). The Fed's target has been 10 ppm.

EWG's report weighed in at 20 ppm for Los Angeles water; double the Fed and more than three times the state target level.

Speculation (and it is speculation) is that EWG took its water samples near the Headworks in Griffith Park and nearby public access water sources.

But here's where it gets interesting:

According to our sources, in December of 2009, Regional Screening Levels for Hex Chromium in the adjacent residential area soil came in at roughly one-third of what USEPA would be concerned about. Concern level in soil would be a measured concentration of .86 mg/kg (86 ppm) of Hexavalent Chromium or greater.

Not a big deal at all.

But the kicker?

In December of 2009, industrial soil from Headworks tested at an astonishing 5.3 mg/kg (530 ppm).