May 06, 2011

UL Expands Water Testing Capabilities to Detect Chromium-6

Company offers chromium-6 and total chromium testing according to EPA methods

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is now offering municipalities and customers across the country access to its globally recognized testing and certification services to detect chromium-6, also known as hexavalent chromium, in drinking water supplies.

Through an investment in new technology and advanced personnel training, UL has begun testing water samples using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 218.6 revision 3.3, which allows for a minimum reporting limit of 0.02 parts per billion (ppb). The company also offers a low-level testing option for total chromium to 0.1 ppb by EPA Method 200.8.

The chemical may be more widespread than previously believed, as suggested by a recent study from the Environmental Working Group, which tested tap water in 35 cities and found chromium-6 in 31 of them. To assess potential hazards, EPA issued new recommendations for monitoring the chemical, which currently has in place a total chromium limit of 100 ppb for drinking water. However, there is currently no federal testing mandate and limit for chromium-6 in drinking water, so few labs have the capability to test for the chemical at low levels.

Based on new science, and as mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA launched a review of the effects of chromium-6 on human health to determine if a revised standard needs to be set. It is expected that the scientific assessment will be finalized before the end of 2011.

"I'm excited that UL is now one of the few trusted laboratories offering enhanced capabilities in this area," said Hank Lambert, general manager, UL Global Food and Water Businesses. "Our goal as a business is to bring safe, clean drinking water to people around the world and this new investment directly supports our mission."