Chromium 6 is an odorless and tasteless metallic compound found in soil, rocks, volcanic particles, plants, and even animals.
Also referred to as hexavalent chromium, Chromium 6 is a toxic compound known to have detrimental effects on both humans and animals. It causes allergic dermatitis, as well as stomach and gastrointestinal cancer among many other health complications.
Different from lead which leaches into your water from the pipe system, chromium-6 actually comes from the water source itself. Therefore, flushing pipes won’t reduce Chromium-6 concentrations in drinking water.
Even boiling water doesn’t remove or reduce chromium-6. This chemical compound has been known to trigger allergic dermatitis in those who use water that has levels that exceed the maximum recommended contaminant level over many years.
Filtering Chromium 6
Classified among the most-highly toxic heavy metals, Chromium-6, is more readily absorbed in the body than chromium 3. This compound doesn’t have any distinct taste or smell.
The compound has been linked to various health issues such as ulcers, stomach cancer, skin irritation, respiratory problems; kidney damage, sperm damage, and intestinal tract and lungs cancers.
In Canada for example, studies have exposed high Chromium-6 levels in water supplies. The data suggest that these elevated levels may be having a significant contribution to the ever-rising cancer cases among Canadians.
Data collected by the US Environmental Protection Agency from samples collected in all the 50 states in the US found levels of Chromium-6 to be unsafe.
The best method of removing or filtering Chromium-6 from the main water supply to residences is through the installation of 5 or 7 stage reverse osmosis systems.
Reverse osmosis works by having the water pumped through a semi-permeable membrane. It is this membrane which will filter out heavy metals particles as well as other contaminants.
Filtering removes in excess of 97% of the compound Chromium-6 from your drinking water. For those operating on a budget, a better option is to have a pitcher filter or countertop filter. These are also good for renters who may not be too keen on installing a permanent filter as they are not only highly portable but less expensive compared to reverse osmosis.
Ion Exchange Water Treatment Unit
The most effective method of removing Chromium-6 from your drinking water supplies is by using an ion exchange water treatment unit. This technology uses tiny beads of Jello-like resin that are packed into columns.
As the water runs through the unit, the Chromium-6 ions will be removed from the water as they will cling onto the resin beads. The process, however, must be actively maintained, monitored and the filters must be regularly replaced.
Electrocoagulation is a new method that uses two iron metal pieces placed in the water in between which a voltage is applied. This way, you are effectively dosing iron into your water and converting the Chromium-6.
Electrocoagulation systems are now available widely and because they use electricity as opposed to a chemical process, they are scalable, easier to use, and more precise. In addition, Electrocoagulation can be used for remote operations as it doesn’t need to have chemicals.
Even in minute quantities, Chromium-6 is harmful as besides the complications cited above, it can also cause pneumonia and childbirth complications. The good news, however, is that it’s now possible to remove the toxic compound from your tap water.
Jake is a clean water enthusiast and blogger. He has spent his university days in Chicago studying various water filtration technologies and now enjoys helping people live healthier lives when it comes to water consumption.