In 2016, Environmental Working Group released a list of cities with Chromium-6 in their water. Chromium-6 made headlines years ago, and has resurfaced recently for causing concern in drinking water. The real life story of Erin Brockovich, and subsequent film starring Julia Roberts, made chromium-6 a household name, and focused the nation on residential water quality and contamination.
Chromium-6 in your water can cause serious health complications and even cancer, so it’s worth understanding more about where chromium-6 comes from, its health effects, how you can identify it in water, and how you can remove it if your water could be at risk.
What is Chromium-6 and Where Does it Come From?
Chromium-6, also known as hexavalent chromium, is an unstable form of chromium, an element that occurs naturally in the environment. There are other types of naturally-occurring chromium, but chromium-6 is commonly used and produced as a byproduct of industrial production. The stainless steel industry, and any other manufacturer of anti-corrosives, are the main cause of chromium-6-related industrial pollution.
Chromium-6 can be especially harmful if it finds its way into the water system, because it can cause cancer and other serious complications over prolonged consumption in humans. It specifically targets respiratory and digestive systems, produces kidney and liver damage, skin reactions, and has been known to cause cancers targeting those areas. It’s especially dangerous for those already vulnerable members of the population like young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions like asthma.
Testing For Chromium-6
Like many other metallic elements, chromium in general and chromium-6, are odorless and tasteless when dissolved in water, so it can be nearly impossible to tell if you have it in your water.
If you live near any kind of industrial manufacturer or processor, or if you live in an area that has been shown to be contaminated with chromium-6 in the past (use this chromium-6 map to see if your home falls in an area of concern), the best way to determine if it’s affecting you and your home is through a water test.
Your local Culligan can test your water for free, and tell you whether or not chromium-6, or any other contaminants are present in your tap water. And while a certain trace amount of total chromium is allowable, and even safe, in water supplies the legal limit for chromium-6 in drinking water is 0.02 parts per billion (ppb). If your test results return anything above that, you’ll want to consider a solution to remove it from your water.
Need A Water Filter That Removes Chromium-6?
The most effective way to ensure chromium-6 is removed from your water supply is through either reverse osmosis filtration or sophisticated carbon and micron filtration. Culligan can make a recommendation about which of the styles of reverse osmosis filters would make sense for your home, and help you understand how the chromium-6 removal process works.
If a water filtration system doesn’t fit your home’s needs, bottled water may provide a safe alternative. However, you’ll want to do your research, as many kinds of bottled water are often simply repurposed tap water. Culligan provides the highest-quality, purest drinking water, free from harmful contaminants, and can be delivered right to your home on a schedule that works for you.
Culligan will be able to help you find the best solution for your home’s specific needs, whether you have elevated chromium-6 levels, or something else affecting your water. Schedule your free water test online today to get started.