What is Hexavalent Chromium?
Hexavalent chromium (CrVI or Chromium 6) is a group of chemical compounds containing the element chromium that is odorless and tasteless. It is used in the production of stainless steel, textile dyes, wood preservation, leather tanning, and a variety of other applications. Hexavalent chromium is a probable carcinogen and was brought to national attention when it was found in the drinking water supply of the southern California town of Hinkley, and the subsequent involvement of Erin Brockovich.
What are the Health Effects of Chromium 6?
The EPA is currently performing a comprehensive review of the adverse health effects of Hexavalent Chromium on humans. Chromium 6, if inhaled, has been known to cause lung cancer. Chromium 6 is a probable carcinogen, and has shown increased risk of gastrointestinal tumors (stomach cancer), leukemia, as well as kidney and liver damage when ingested by laboratory animals.
Is there Federal Standards for Chromium 6 Water Contaminant Levels?
As of January 2011, the EPA has not established a safety standard for Chromium 6 in drinking water. The EPA currently only regulates the total Chromium found in drinking water supplies (this includes Chromium 3, which is found naturally in foods at low levels and is an essential human dietary nutrient). Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Chromium set at 0.10 ppm (parts per million).
California has proposed, but not enacted, a MCL of 0.1 ppb (parts per billion) for Hexavalent Chromium.
Is Chromium 6 in Your Drinking Water?
The EPA has a list of water systems across the US, some provide online water quality reports and if they do not their contact information is provided.
National Testing Laboratories, Inc. in Ypsilanti has a five bottle testing kit, which is supplied by many water quality professionals across the nation. You simply follow the directions in the kit and return the sample to the lab. They test your sample and then report to you. Your test results will be a two page report showing contaminant level, a cover letter explaining the test results and what you should do.View Drinking Water Testing Kits from National Testing Laboratories
How to Remove Chromium 6 from Your Drinking Water?
Faucet and countertop filters using activated carbon are not capable of removing or reducing Hexavalent Chromium. Water purification (reverse osmosis), not just simple filtration, will remove Hexavalent Chromium from drinking water. Systems with a NSF/ANSI Standard 58 seal are third-party certified to remove Hexavalent Chromium.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
NSF 58 Certified
NSF/ANSI Standard 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems
Overview: This standard was developed for point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis (RO) treatment systems. These systems typically consist of a pre-filter, RO membrane, and post-filter. Standard 58 includes contaminant reduction claims commonly treated using RO, including fluoride, hexavalent and trivalent chromium, total dissolved solids, nitrates, etc. that may be present in public or private drinking water.
Sources of Information on Hexavalent Chromium
- EPA – Chromium in Drinking Water
- EPA – Chromium Compounds
- OSHA – Hexavalent Chromium
- CDC – Hexavalent Chromium
- Environmental Working Group – Chromium-6 in U.S. Tap Water [PDF]
- Water Quality Association – Chromium in Drinking Water
The foregoing information was compiled from the ‘Sources of Information’ links above and brought to national attention recently by tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as fracking or hydrofracking) is a relatively new form of natural gas extraction.
The fluids used in the fracking process flow back to the surface, often entering the water table or polluting the drilling area, and sometimes improper disposal of waste water from the wells.
As our technology advances, so do new forms of pollution and contaminants that effect our environment and our health.
Read more about drinking water contaminants and their health effects.
Chlorine has long been recognized as an oxidative agent, meaning that it not only kills the germs in the water supply; it will damage any living tissue with which it comes in contact. And your skin, like the rest of your organs, is living tissue. But that’s not the only problem.
Since the discovery of its health benefits in the mid-1940’s, fluoride is often added to the public water supplies of industrialized countries in order to reduce the populations tooth decay, which is especially effective in low income communities, where good dental hygiene may be too costly.
Chromium-6 was found in the drinking water supply of the southern California town of Hinkley and brought to national attention by Erin Brockovich.
The EPA is reviewing effects of Chromium-6 after a recent report brought to light dangerous levels in a number of major US cities.
Giardia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestines of humans and other animals, which can cause giardiasis.
Symptoms of Giardiasis usually show after 3 to 4 days, and include gastrointestinal and constitutional problems.
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium parvum.
Since a outbreak in 1993 in Wisconson, new attention has been focused on determining and reducing the risk for Cryptosporidiosis from community and municipal water supplies.
What is ultraviolet light? Do I need to filter the water before the UV process? How exactly can light kill organisms?
Visit our ‘How Ultraviolet Purification Works‘ guide to find out how it works.
The typical water softener is a mechanical appliance that’s plumbed into your home’s water supply system. All water softeners use the same operating principle: They trade the minerals for something else, in most cases sodium. The process is called ion exchange. More…
Step by step instructions on installing replacement cartridges and sanitizing filter housings. It is highly recommended that you clean and sanitize your system once a year.
Step by step instructions on making a connection with Twist and Lock fittings. Twist-Lock fittings allow you to connect and disconnect tubing without the need of tools.
Step by step instructions on making a connection with SharkBite Push-To-Connect fittings. SharkBite fittings allow you to connect and disconnect pipes without the need of using PVC glue or welding copper.
A micron is a unit of measurement for how small of particles a filter will catch. The lower the micron size, the tinier the ‘holes’ in the filter cartridge are that allows water to pass through, ranging from 0.1 absolute to 150 microns.
Use our Pore Size Efficiency Guide to find out what micron size to use.
Pleated sediment cartridges remove dirt, rust and sediment from water while providing an increased surface area and longer life. Pleated filters down to 5 microns are washable and reusable.
Use our Pleated Sediment Cartridge Comparison to find the filter cartridge you need.
When brewing beer with tap or bottled water, chlorine and chloramine present in the water can combine with malt phenols in the wort to create a compound called chlorophenol, which can give the beer a medicinal taste.
View our Filtered Water for Home Beer Brewing guide.
Bottled water requires a lot of resources to manufacture and ship, and costs a lot more than reverse osmosis water.
Use our Bottled Water Cost Calculator to find out how much of an impact you have on the environment.