State tries to limit carcinogen in drinking water

Colorful tap water

California became the first state in the nation Thursday to propose limiting a carcinogen found in drinking water throughout the state, but environmentalists say the recommended standard under the plan is too lax.

Under rules proposed by the state Department of Public Health, hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, would be capped in drinking water at a level of 10 parts per billion, 500 times higher than the limit of .02 parts per billion suggested by the state's Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA's recommendation is not binding, and public health officials said the newly proposed level was the more economically realistic one.

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