Why is it important to learn how to filter chromium 6 from water?
There are many prevailing contaminants in our water systems that pose certain health risks. One such contaminant is Chromium 6. In fact, it’s been recently found that our waters are contaminated with Chromium 6 at an alarming rate.
Though you may not experience any health problems now despite drinking water that’s contaminated with Chromium 6, there are studies showing the long term effects of Hexavalent Chromium ingestion. In our article today, we will be touching on what Chromium 6 is, its associated risks, as well as how to remove them from your water source.
What is Chromium-6?
Chromium 6 is an element in the periodic table that’s also known as the Hexavalent Chromium Or the “Erin Brockovich chemical”. It is a metallic compound that’s naturally present in different kinds of rocks, soils, ores, volcanic dust, and even in plants, animals, and humans. The compound itself does not have any distinct smell or taste, which makes it harder to be detected in our water.
Although Chromium-6 is naturally occurring, much of it is being produced industrially in high quantities.
Hexavalent Chromium is used for manufacturing chrome plates – an essential component in making stainless steel, leather tanning, textiles, dyes, and pigments.
It is established that Chromium 6 plays an important role in many different industries, however some manufacturers do not follow the correct waste disposal method for handling this chemical. This causes pollution and the metallic compound leaches into our water source.
Out of all the different identifiable forms of Chromium identified (Chromium 3, Chromium-0, and Chromium-6), Chromium 6 offers the most threat to our drinking water quality and safeness. This is why our article today will be focusing on Chromium 6 instead.
EPA has set specific drinking water levels for Hexavalent Chromium of less than 0.1 milligram per liter (mg/L) or 100 parts per billion (ppb). While public water systems are required to monitor levels of Chromium-6 in their water supplies, a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that our water has higher-than-recommended chromium-6 levels.
Hence it is important for homeowners to conduct regular water quality testing and to ensure that they have the right water treatment for clean and safe water into their homes at all times.
What Are The Health Risks of Chromium-6?
The long-term effects of Chromium-6 are still being studied, several studies have found that this chemical compound is a reproductive toxicant for both males and females. It is also a carcinogen since it promotes the formation of cancer.
However, Chromium-6’s most notable human health effects are related to inhaling it. Chromium-6 can cause allergic dermatitis or skin reactions. Recent findings even suggest that the ingestion of hexavalent chromium is capable of causing severe public health effects.
In addition to causing reproductive harm and promoting cancer, Chromium 6 has been found to trigger asthma flare-ups, anemia, convulsions, liver and kidney damage, ulcers, gastroenteritis, respiratory problems as well as eye irritation. These health effects can be caused by both short and long-term exposure to Chromium-6 in water.
Further researches and studies are still being conducted to identify and determine the specific health risks of Chromium-6 ingestion through drinking water.
For now, Chromium-6 is labelled as a human carcinogen since it promotes the formation of cancer. Carcinogens can damage genomes in the body and disrupt cellular metabolic process of the body. There are many carcinogens that occur naturally, and one of them is Chromium 6.
Health authorities are still left questionable when it comes to particular health problems caused by Chromium-6 as they’re not yet certain of the exact level Chromium-6 exposure can cause health risks to people. On the other hand, what they found was that rats and mice that consume water with a certain level of Chromium-6 eventually developed cancer.
Regardless of the uncertainty when it comes to the potential health risks of Chromium-6, many scientists are still concerned even with low levels of Chromium-6 in our water supply. The exposure of infants, kids, or even a developing fetus to chromium is particularly worrying.
All in all, the presence of Chromium-6 in our water is definitely a concern to most communities. Though there may not be any particular health problems directly caused by Chromium contaminations yet but there are symptoms of minor pains and discomfort from ingesting Chromium-6.
Furthermore, the symptoms are said to increase in severity when consumed over a long period of time. However, it is worth noting that not every state in the U.S. recognizes the dangers of Chromium-6, it was only added to the Proposition 65 list of toxic contaminants in California in 2008.
How Does Hexavalent Chromium Get Into My Water Supply?
Hexavalent chromium gets into your drinking water via two ways: naturally and through industrial waste.
Since hexavalent chromium can be found naturally in the ground, including rocks and soil, there’s a high chance that it gets into your well through flowing water like rivers and streams. Other than getting into your well water, rivers can also pick up chromium-6 and carry it to reservoirs or water treatment facilities.
Although these facilities have filters designed to remove contaminants, chromium-6 is particularly difficult and you may still have low levels of chromium 6 in your drinking water. Not only that but different areas may also have different concentrations of natural chromium-5 in their soils as it will depend on your location’s geography and other natural factors.
Aside from environmental sources, chromium-6 can also enter our water source through industrial waste. This is especially true for communities living near factories producing paint, dyes, chrome plate and stainless steel waste, and wood preservatives where chromium-6 is used and disposed of. The chemical leaches into the water from sites storing this hazardous waste.
Can I Test for Hexavalent Chromium in Water?
Yes, it is possible to test your water source for Chromium-6. While there are at-home water test kits for the job, it isn’t known for being accurate. Even if your test indicated a presence of chromium, you would still need to go for further testing to obtain specific results for chromium 6.
For accurate results, it is recommended that you send the water source for laboratory testing. The lab will conduct in-depth tests and you’ll typically receive your results in 1 to 2 weeks.
While it takes awhile to get your result back, the advantage of getting it lab tested is that you get to know the exact level of chromium-6 present in your drinking water. You can also have the lab test for other types of contaminants in your drinking water.
What Can I Do To Protect My Family from Chromium Contamination?
One of the simplest yet most effective way to deal with chromium 6 in water is to install water filters. Some may turn to buying water in bottles instead but this must also be approached with caution as manu bottled water companies are not required to announce their water quality to the public.
As such, bottled water may sometimes even contain chemical contaminants that exceed the maximum allowable limit by the state. Also, such water are not often tested for biological contaminants. Besides that, water bottles are also harmful to the environment due to the plastic used.
How to Filter Chromium-6 From Water?
Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to completely remove chromium 6 from your drinking water as removing trace amounts of chromium 6 is not only expensive, but also very tricky. Still, there are several at-home water filtration systems that can help you significantly reduce the chromium 6 concentration level in your drinking water.
Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective water filtration methods that can help homeowners reduce their chromium-6 concentration level. Not only can the reverse osmosis system remove chromium 6, but it can also remove a broad range of other contaminants and up to 99.99% of total dissolved solids in drinking water.
The RO water treatment system works by pushing high pressure water through a number of different filters as well as a semi-permeable membrane to only allow small water molecules through.
The pre-filter and carbon filter remove sediment, chlorine, lead, and other aesthetic contaminants. For removing chromium-6, reverse osmosis membrane is the most important part of the filtration system.
The RO semi-permeable filter membranes consist of thousands of tiny pores that are typically smaller than 0.0001 micron. The high pressure water is forced against the membrane, allowing only tiny water particles to pass through and leaving most dissolved substances behind.
If you’re searching for a RO water filtration system, make sure that you get one that’s certified to remove chromium-6 from tap water with NSF/ANSI 58 certification. This certification proves that the filter was privately tested and deemed to meet requirements for TDS removal, structural integrity and build, contaminant reduction claims and efficiency rating.
Countertop Reverse Osmosis Filters
If your house does not have enough space, you can consider the countertop reverse osmosis filtration system that’s designed to be compact. All you need to do is to fill up your countertop reverse osmosis system with water and wait for the filtration to take place. After a few minutes, you can use the dispenser to pour yourself a glass of filtered RO water.
Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
If you don’t have enough countertop space, you can get under-sink reverse osmosis water system that’s plumbed into the cold water line beneath your kitchen sink. These filters are tank-based, meaning that RO water is stored in a tank and ready for drinking any time. There’s also the tankless system where drinking water is sent through the system and straight to your faucet.
Whole-Home Reverse Osmosis Systems
Whole-home reverse osmosis systems are the most comprehensive option available but they’re also the most expensive. The osmosis filters help to remove hexavalent chromium and other harmful contaminants from your tap water, meaning that tour drinking water and shower water definitely meet the maximum contaminant level.
The majority of RO systems in the market aren’t exactly capable of removing chromium-6 and only a handful of such filters can effectively remove chromium-6.
When looking for an RO system, make sure you get one with specialized filters to effectively reduce hexavalent chromium from your water. It’s also worth getting one that’s NSF tested and certified so that you can be certain the manufacturer’s claims are true.
How Does Chromium 6 Removal by Reverse Osmosis Work?
Reverse osmosis works by applying pressure to water and forcing water molecules to pass through a semi permeable membrane to remove harmful contaminants and chromium 6 from water. The semipermeable membrane of the RO system is composed of microscopic pores to prevent large molecules from passing through.
During that process, contaminants are filtered out, allowing only contaminant-free water to your tap. The contaminants trapped in the RO systems’ water filter later gets drained out.
The market has a variety of different RO systems but not all of them promise the same level of contaminant removal as opposed to higher ends of water filtration products. Although reverse osmosis has been proven to remove contaminants, there are still more effective filtration systems out there that can assure a higher chromium contamination removal rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can reverse osmosis remove Chromium-6 from water?
Yes, reverse osmosis filters are some of the best systems for helping homeowners reduce this health-concerning contaminant from drinking water. Many RO units today are also NSF/ANSI certified to effectively remove more than 95% of chromium contamination.
In addition to that, RO can also filter out a broad range of other health-related contaminants such as chemical substances, toxic heavy metals like lead, dissolved salts, fluoride, and pathogens.
Do PUR filters remove chromium-6?
Unfortunately, no. PUR pitcher filters are not able to remove chromium-6 yet as the filters have not been tested for it. Hence, we can assume that they’re incapable of filtering chromium–6 in your water.
Does Brita reduce chromium-6?
No. Unfortunately, Brita’s pitcher filters are also not tested to remove chromium-6 from water. Though, it’s worth checking with th manufacturer periodically to see if they’ve produced a pitcher filter that can remove chromium.
Does boiling water reduce chromium-6?
No. Not only does boiling water not remove chromium-6, but it increases the PPB (parts per billion) concentration of chromium metal in your water. This is because boiling the water would cause some water molecules to evaporate, leaving a smaller quantity of water with the same amount of chromium-6.
Generally, it is quite difficult to remove any type of contaminant from boiling alone. You will need to get a distiller system to capture evaporated, impurity-free water in a separate container.
Does Zero Water remove chromium-6?
Yes, Zero Water has been tested to remove 99.7% of chromium chemical. What makes the Zero Water pitcher different from Brita and PUR is that Zero Water uses ion exchange units rather than standard carbon filtration.
Does water in bottles contain chromium-6?
Whether the water contains chromium-6 or not will depend on the source. However, if you choose to drink from water bottles every day, you’re not guaranteed protection against this metal.
Make sure you read the labels carefully and watch out for chromium contamination levels. If the label indicates that the water is purified by RO, then there’s a good chance that the water you’re drinking is free from chromium-6.
Does EPA have a regulation for chromium-6?
Unfortunately, EPA does not have a regulation for chromium-6 at the moment. EPA only has a regulation for total chromium. Not only that, but according to EPA’s website, it doesn’t seem like the organization is planning on revising this regulation yet.
However, the EPA is currently in the process of assessing the effects of this metallic compound on human health. We can assume that the EPA will determine whether this type of chromium should have its own regulation or if the existing total chromium regulation should be amended based on new discoveries.
How can I check if my water contains chromium-6?
You can contact your local treatment facility via phone call or email to know the chromium levels in the water. However, take note that the information they have is the water leaving their facility. Your water may have other contaminants entering on its way to your tap.
For more accurate results, it’s recommended for you to send your water sample for laboratory testing. Not only will give you accurate chromium levels present in your water, but you can also have the lab test for other contaminants such as lead, manganese, iron, pathogens, and other harmful or toxic compounds that you do not want present in your water.