Key Findings

  • Tens of millions of Americans drink water contaminated with chromium (VI), a compound the Environmental Protection Agency was poised in 2011 to conclude likely causes cancer. That finding would set the stage for setting stricter drinking-water standards.
  • The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, published a major rodent study in 2008 that concluded there was “clear evidence” chromium (VI) in water was a carcinogen.
  • The EPA’s assessment of chromium was delayed to wait for new studies paid for by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade group and lobbyist.
  • Some of the same industry-paid scientists involved in past efforts to stall government action on chromium worked on the studies delaying the EPA.
  • After delays of nearly a decade, the California Environmental Protection Agency declined to wait for the industry studies and issued its own finding in 2011 that chromium was a carcinogen in drinking water.
  • The EPA initially planned to complete its chromium (VI) assessment in 2015. After the Center for Public Integrity and PBS NewsHour started asking questions about the delay, EPA posted a revised timetable for completing the assessment this year.