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Environmental Working Group | 2010 Annual Report | www.EWG.org


Right to know what's in our tap water

EWG has a long track record for raising awareness about the critical need to protect rivers, streams,and aquifers from pollution that ends up in tap water and bottled water alike – and, ultimately, in our bodies. 

Americans have a right to drinking water free of drilling fluids, carcinogenic chemicals and other toxic chemicals.

EWG’s January 2010 report "Drilling Around the Law” disclosed that companies drilling for natural gas and oil with a process called hydraulic fracturing were injecting toxic petroleum distillates into thousands of wells, skirting federal law and threatening drinking water supplies from New York to Wyoming. The report sparked congressional investigations. EWG lobbied with Josh Fox, director of the HBO documentary “Gasland,” nominated for an Academy Award.

Last July, EWG President Ken Cook testified before a U.S. Senate appropriations subcommittee about the 1.8 million gallons of dispersants dumped in the Gulf of Mexico during the catastrophic oil spill, with little information on the chemicals’ environmental or possible dangers to humans, animals and plants.

EWG’s December 2010 report documented that toxic hexavalent chromium, an industrial water pollutant known as chromium-6, or the "Erin Brockovich chemical," contaminated the tap water of 31 of 35 cities.  The EWG report was featured on CNN, ABC News, NPR, the Associated Press and in more than 300 local outlets.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson met with 11 U.S. Senators to discuss EWG’s report, conduct an assessment of chromium-6 contamination and issue a proposed drinking water standard by summer 2011. She followed up with guidance to water utilities on how to test and treat chromium-6. Meanwhile, the California government proposed a strict safety goal for hexavalent chromium. In early 2011, Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, summoned administration and industry officials to testify, along with EWG President Cook, about chromium-6 water pollution.

EPA granted a petition filed by EWG, Beyond Pesticides and Fluoride Action Network to end of the use of sulfuryl fluoride, an insecticide and food fumigant. The action marked the first time EPA granted all objections to a petition under the  “reasonable certainty of no harm” standard of the Food Quality and Protection Act. The petition also helped prompt a 2011 decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reduce its recommended maximum level of fluoride in tap water by 42 percent.


"Keep on doing what you're doing. I like what you're doing. I certainly welcome it. We can't stop the science or telling the truth to the American people."

– Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to EWG President Ken Cook, at a Feb. 2, 2011, Senate Environment and Public Works committee hearing on chromium-6 water pollution

Recomended Links

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Chromium-6 is Widespread in Tap Water

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Drilling Around the Law

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