What is Chromium-6 and How to Remove it from Your Drinking Water?
Made famous by the ‘’Erin Brockovich‘’ story, chromium-6 has since been at center stage regarding unsafe heavy metal levels in drinking water.
The story is about a Californian single mother who noticed an unusually high amount of health issues such as cancers, nosebleeds, or miscarriages in her town of Hinkley. She then realized that the town’s groundwater supply was poisoned with chromium-6 by a local utility company.
Unfortunately, years later, a shocking study revealed that over75% of American households still have unsafe levels of chromium-6 in their drinking water. Indeed, this toxic chemical has been found in every American state.
So, this means that there is a 75% chance that you have one of the deadliest cancer contaminants in your tap water.
Are you wondering how to ensure that you don’t drink this harmful substance?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about chromium-6 including long-term health effects and how to remove it from your tap water.
What Is Chromium-6?
Chromium-6 (also called hexavalent chromium) is a heavy metal and acarcinogenic substance that can cause lung cancer and other life-threatening health issues. And even though it can be found in rocks, volcanic dust, and plants, it is mostly created through a number of industrial processes across many sectors, including welding, stainless steel production, or textile manufacturing. The issue is that inadequate industrial waste disposal systems or leakages can, unfortunately, lead to cross-contamination in water and affect your health.
While this substance has been proven to cause cancer, the environmental protection agency hasn’t set any specific limits for the safe levels of chromium-6 in drinking water. Instead, it has set a maximum level of 100ppb for total chromium, which also includes harmless chromium-3.
Note that chromium-6 is odorless and tasteless and can only be detected with testing.
Long-term Health Effects of Chromium-6
Even though research has been focusing on the health impacts of hexavalent chromium’s inhalation, recent studies revealed a clear link between ingestion and negative health consequences as the substance oxidizes our DNA.
Some of the long-term health consequences of chromium-6 include:
Research has shown that a high level of chromium-6 in drinking water can causecancer. Indeed, some of the studies highlight the occurrence of mouth and small intestine malignant tumors when hexavalent chromium is ingested via food or water. They also report ulcers and small intestine irritation, revealing the negative consequences oral ingestion of chromium-6 can have on the body.
A fewstudies also show that hexavalent chromium can permeate through the cells of your organs, including lungs andpancreatic lymph nodes, lowering the immune system and increasing the risk of cancer.
Astudy revealed that ingestion or inhalation of chromium-6 can be harmful to reproductive health and affect sperm as well as the baby during pregnancy, leading to miscarriages and stillbirths.
Unfortunately,research has also revealed that the ingestion of a high amount of hexavalent chromium can lead to renal and liver damage and potential death.
Note that common symptoms of chromium poisoning also include vomiting, fever, or nausea.
How to Remove Chromium-6 from Your Drinking Water?
If you’re hoping to remove hexavalent chromium from your home’s water, you’ll need to use a chromium-6 water filter that has been specifically designed to do so.
Note that, contrary to common myths, boiling water or adding Himalayan sea salt to it will unfortunately not eliminate the toxic substance from your drinking water.
There are two effective ways to remove chromium-6 from your tap water:
Reverse osmosis uses a semipermeable membrane to separate contaminants (organic compounds such as heavy metals or pharmaceuticals) from the water molecules. Indeed, by applying external pressure on a contaminated tank, the water is forced through the membrane, which is composed of microscopic pores. These pores prevent harmful chemicals and molecules from passing through, only allowing purified water molecules to pass. Reverse osmosis is, in fact, one of the best ways to ensure that you’re drinking highly purified water as the system can remove up to 99% of contaminants.
And the great news is that there are a few affordable reverse osmosis systems on the market that are excellent at removing specific harmful contaminants from tap water, such as chromium-6.
Some of the best reverse osmosis systems includeFilterSmart as well as any other reverse osmosis system.
Some water filter pitchers and under-the-sink filters can also reduce levels of chromium-6 from your tap water. However, you’d have to make sure you choose filters that have been specifically designed to remove this toxic substance.
Some of them might have a slow filtration flow and the filters can be a bit costly to replace, but they’re a great alternative to more advanced reverse osmosis water purification systems.
As outlined in this blog, chromium-6 can pose a serious health threat to you and your family.
So, if you want to know whether you have elevated chromium levels in your home, check the EWG’s map and click on your area. If you have a private well, you can send a sample to a third-party lab. And if you find that the levels are high, make sure to invest in an efficient chromium-6 filter and maintain it properly to ensure your drinking water is free from chromium-6.