Harmful substance in Villanova's water?

VILLANOVA, Pa. - December 20, 2010

The report says unacceptable amounts of a substance known as Chromium-6 is showing up in the town's drinking water.

A water quality study performed by a non-profit organization called the Environmental Working Group revealed that varying amounts of Chromium-6 was found in the drinking water in 31 of 35 selected US cities.

That includes the area around Villanova.

Chromium-6 is widely believed to cause cancer. It was introduced to the broader public in the Julia Roberts blockbuster movie Erin Brockovich.

Despite the massive class action lawsuit, upon which the movie was based, the EPA has yet to set a legal limit for Chromium-6 in tap water. Officials from EWG say that poses a risk to the public.

EWG spokesperson, Rebecca Sutton, is quoted saying "Without mandatory tests and a safe legal limit that all utilities must meet, many of us will continue to swallow some quantity of this carcinogen every day."

Aqua of Pennsylvania, the local water utility, says this is merely a ploy by EWG to scare the public into supporting its cause. Aqua officials say trace amounts of Chromium-6 in tap water is common.

They go on to say the amount found in the Villanova sample falls well within their safety guidelines.

"It's interesting. Of the 31 samples where they found chromium 6, the results for Villanova were right in the middle of the pack," said Preston Luitweiler of Aqua of Pa. "Our customers should not be concerned in Villanova or anywhere else in our distribution system."

EWG has not said why it chose Villanova to be part of the study.

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