A new report released recently finds hexavalent chromium—the "probable carcinogen" made famous by the Eric Brockavich story—in 31 cities and towns across the United States. The report by the non-profit Environmental Working Group was issued just as the federal Environmental Protection Agency is mulling new standards that would limit the level of the metal which has been linked to cancer in laboratory studies involving animals.
The highest levels of the metal were found in Norman, Oklahoma, Honolulu, Madison, Wisconsin, San Jose, California, and Tallahassee, California. No chromium was detected in Indianapolis, Plano, Texas, Reno, or San Antonio.
Industry analysts predict that the findings will likely increase consumer demand for bottled water—an industry that has grown at a rapid pace in recent decades, amid rising interest in personal health, food safety and premium food and beverages. The sale of bottled water is expected hit 174 billion liters in 2011, up 51% from 2006. The value of the industry is expected to reach $86 billion in 2011, up 41.8% since 2006.
The presence of hexavalent chromium is one reason why bottled water is so popular, however, many environmental groups are increasingly worried about the environmental effects of bottled water itself. Concerns run the gamut from waste disposal and recycling issues to the cost and energy demands of transporting bottled water.
Analysts say one thing is certain—clear water is an increasingly scare commodity, and more and more people will find a way to profit from it as demand goes up.[Source: Rosenbush, Steve. "Bottled Water Sales are Flowing Fast." Portfolio.com/Bizjournals. 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.]