HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Thousands of residents in central Pennsylvania have a cancer-causing chemical made famous in the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich” in their drinking water, according to a new study.
The study released by the non-profit group Environmental Working Group shows that more than 40 communities in Pennsylvania have Chromium-6 in their drinking water. Those communities include Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York.
Chromium-6, often referred to as the “Erin Brockovich chemical,” can cause cancer, reproductive problems, and liver damage.
Environmental Working Group analyzed federal data from nationwide drinking water tests. They found the chemical contaminated more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states.
The water provided by local agencies does not exceed the federal limit of 100 parts-per-billion.
“Water is not ever pure. It always has some constituents in it. It’s up to us, as water professionals, to determine the risk of the different levels of those constituents in there,” said Shannon Williams, the CEO of Capital Region Water. “We can say that our water is safe. And it’s, in fact, some of the best in the country. We meet all state and federal regulations. And we do everything that we can to protect our source water from those types of contaminants that could enter into the stream, such as has happened in other parts of the country.”
Williams says Capital Region Water tested for Chromium-6 as recently as last year. Two of the four samples tested did not detect the chemical, while the other two found trace amounts.