Lawsuit filed in Calif. over Brockovich chemical

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(AP) – Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Public Health for failing to establish a safe drinking water standard for the cancer-causing chemical made famous in the film “Erin Brockovich.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Working Group filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, claiming the department is eight years late in setting the hexavalent chromium standard and has made no progress toward the goal.

The Legislature directed public health agencies to set the standard by 2004.

Officials say the delay was caused by a scientific dispute over whether hexavalent chromium is carcinogenic when ingested in water. Federal scientists eventually confirmed that it is.

Water quality testing by state officials shows thousands of drinking water sources throughout California are contaminated with the chemical at unsafe levels.

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