Water is an often overlooked and under appreciated natural resource. We need to consume it to sustain human life, we require it to bathe, we depend on it to grow our food, and so much more. And while water may serve as a luxury for many of our lifestyle needs, when it comes to the basics, it’s essential.

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Drinking water is often a no-brainer for many. We grab a cup and fill up whenever thirst hits, never thinking twice about what a luxury it is to do so. But what if you were told that the water you consume could be doing the opposite of helping you to thrive?

According to an Environmental Working Group’s review of government water analysis, 75% of America’s drinking water is ridden with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6. And 200 million Americans are currently being exposed to it.

Chromium-6 is a heavy metal categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, or WHO. The same heavy metal Erin Brockovich brought to attention, it’s a by-product of industrial manufacturing and is known to cause cancer even in minute concentrations. Indeed, California scientists labelled it dangerous when it surpasses a mere 0.02 parts per billion — the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Research has exposed that no level is safe in your water, however. A two-year study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (2008) concluded that drinking water with traces of chromium-6 resulted in cancer among the test subjects.

The scary news is that, while the numbers and results are right in front of us, California remains the one state to have a public health record on the heavy metal’s effects, and is the only state that has mandated a legal limit on it. Unfortunately, even that is not enough for residents of the state, since they permitted levels of chromium-6 500 times higher than what’s known to be safe. The EWG reported:

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The California scientists based their public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion solely on protecting people from cancer and other diseases. Public health goals are not legally enforceable, but legal limits are supposed to be set as close as possible to health goals “while considering cost and technical feasibility.”[8] But the California Department of Public Health relied on a flawed analysis that exaggerated the cost of treatment and undervalued the benefits of stricter regulation,[9] and adopted a legally enforceable limit of 10 parts per billion.

And even if you wanted to be mindful of it yourself, chromium-6 has neither taste nor smell, and leaves no sign of its presence. In order to ensure you are not ingesting it, you would have to take your water to a specialized lab for testing.

As for why more is not being done to protect America’s drinking water, it seems to be an issue of the cost and work needed to properly filter out the harmful contaminants. Way too many gallons are needed in the process, and at a cost too high to resolve a nation-wide concern.

There are plenty of people trying to support it, oddly enough, as well. In fact, some unethical superfood and raw food companies say that eating heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium is good for you because they are “naturally occurring.” But if that’s the case, then chromium-6, which is also naturally occurring, and causes cancer, must be beneficial as well.

The EPA website said: “Chromium-6 occurs naturally in the environment from the erosion of natural chromium deposits. It can also be produced by industrial processes. There are demonstrated instances of chromium being released to the environment by leakage, poor storage, or inadequate industrial waste disposal practices.”

Chromium-6 is just one of the issues with our water these days. EPAwatch.org tested hundreds of municipal water samples across the nation and discovered  high levels of lead and other heavy metals in 6.7% of samples.

So how can you take action? Buy and use a water filter like the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher, which has been tested to remove chromium-6 by up to 96 percent, the lab-verified Big Berkey gravity filter, or the AquaTru countertop filter, which removes chromium-6 along with hundreds of other toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Note that brands like Brita will not protect you against this form of contamination.

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