In the recent past, we have had a number of health scares related to water supplies in our cities. One of the most prominent contaminants is Hexavalent Chromium, which has been found in city tap water in a number of US cities. This cancer-causing chemical also gained notoriety as the contaminant at the center of the real life events and the movie adaption detailed in “Erin Brockovich.” Let’s take a closer look at this chemical, examine its potential effects on health and look at how it can be removed from our drinking water.

What is Hexavalent Chromium? 

Hexavalent chromium is also known as chromium-6, and it is regarded as a probable carcinogen. It originates as a waste product from a variety of different industrial activities, such as metal plating, steel production, leather tanning, and pulp mills.

The first study on this problem was carried out by the Environmental Working Group based in Washington D.C. This advocacy group reported that this toxic material has strong links to leukemia, stomach cancer and a host of other health problems. This came at a time when the EPA was already mentioning hexavalent chromium as “probable carcinogen levels in tap water” according to a Washington Post report.

Hexavalent chromium became prominent after the release of the movie “Erin Brockovich” back in 1993. This showed the case where Erin Brockovich famously sued Pacific Gas & Electric after the drinking water was polluted in Hinckley, California. This lawsuit was successful to the tune of $333 million in total damages for those affected by the pollution.

Is Public Water Tested for Hexavalent Chromium?

 Most public water utility companies test for the presence of chromium in its different forms, and that includes hexavalent chromium. In many cases, they do not test separately for hexavalent chromium, and if the levels exceed the regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, they must notify you. This delivers a certain level of reassurance, but contamination has occurred before, and it can cause a great deal of health damage.

Taking Action for Cleaner Water

If you want to ensure that you don’t have hexavalent chromium and other dangerous contaminants in your water, additional measures need to be taken. Filtering your own water at home is a great way to reduce or eliminate the intake of toxins. Sadly, the inexpensive carbon filters that you find in faucet attachments and filter pitchers cannot remove hexavalent chromium. The best way to get rid of this toxic chemical is to install a reverse osmosis (RO) filtration system in your home. The RO system works by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane at high pressures. Then the cleaned water is purified further through a series of activated carbon filters. This gives you clean and pure water that’s ideal drinking, cooking, showering, bathing, and cleaning.

If you’re in any doubt about quality issues in your water, contact your local water treatment professional for expert help. They can advise you on water treatment methods that will suit your local area.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.