The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on
April 12 that a peer review panel will assess their draft assessment of
hexavalent chromium (Cr6), a by-product of the welding, sanding and grinding of
some motor vehicle parts, after the agency found that the chemical is more
toxic than originally estimated in 1998.
In addition, the draft assessment concluded that drinking
water containing hexavalent chromium could cause cancer in humans. Previously,
EPA stated that the chemical could only cause cancer if inhaled.
Industry groups are observing the assessment closely as
the American Chemistry Council estimated that costs to industry from potential
regulatory standards based on these toxicity values "could easily exceed
$500 million in a single year."
In February, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told the
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that EPA would likely regulate
hexavalent chromium in drinking water about two years after the draft
assessment is issued into its final form.
According to the EPA’s toxicological
review, hexavalent chromium compounds are used in metal plating, pigment and
dye manufacture, production of corrosion inhibitors, chemical synthesis,
refractory production, leather tanning and wood preservation. These assessments
provide EPA with consensus conclusions about the human health hazards chemical
pose and the doses at which those hazards could occur. EPA stated that the peer
review panel will evaluate the draft assessment on May 12 in Arlington, Va. and
interested parties who wish to register for the meeting must do so by May 5.