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Parliamentary questions
31 May 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Oreste Rossi (EFD)

 Subject: Hexavalent chromium levels in drinking water

Hexavalent chromium has been shown to be hazardous to human health and the environment and has been clinically demonstrated to have carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic effects on humans and animals.

Given that all international bodies have set a maximum limit for hexavalent chromium in surface groundwater of 5 ppm, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1. Is it aware that, in some EU countries (Italy in particular), water is considered fit for human consumption with total permitted chromium levels (i.e. trivalent and hexavalent chromium) of 50 ppm? Trivalent chromium is not hazardous for humans or animals, but when in water 90 % of it turns into hexavalent chromium. It is therefore certain that, of the total chromium in drinking water, 90 % will be hexavalent chromium, and only 10 % will be trivalent chromium. Hence, setting a limit of 50 ppm total chromium in drinking water for human consumption equates to permitting levels of 40 ppm of hexavalent chromium, which is highly dangerous for human health. This amount is eight times higher than the maximum permitted limit for hexavalent chromium in surface groundwater. Clearly, countries with the legislative arrangements described above are effectively sanctioning the poisoning of their own people.
2. Does the Commission intend to monitor strictly national laws that permit this abnormal situation? What action will it be taking to protect the health of the people affected?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 256 E, 05/09/2013
Last updated: 8 June 2012Legal notice