Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium-6) Was Just Found In 75% Of Drinking Water

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

chromium-6 in drinking water

hexavalent-chromium-chromium-6-was-just-found-in-75-of-drinking-waterAccess to clean drinking water is a basic human right- or at least it should be.

While there are many developing nations that don’t have clean drinking water, most if not all developed nations do. Except maybe the United States.

As the Flint water crisis has brought to light, many communities in the US don’t have access to clean drinking water. And the little they do have is grossly overpriced.

Worse yet, many communities are told that their water is safe when, in reality, it’s contaminated with carcinogens and heavy metals.

Chromium-6 In Drinking Water

According to a recent report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 75% of U.S. drinking water is contaminated with cancer-causing Hexavalent chromium (chromium-6). The group warned that over 200 million Americans are currently at risk of unsafe exposure to the chemical (1).

What’s more, in most cities, the quantity of this chemical is much high that the scientist-recommended public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion.

So why is this a problem? Well, to put it simply, chromium 6 is a dangerous toxin.

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As Raymond Francis said in his book The Great American Health Hoax “hexavalent chromium…is used in industrial operations such as chrome plating and the manufacturing of plastics and dyes. It has been linked to liver and kidney damage in animals as well as to leukemia, stomach cancer, and other cancers. Hexavalent Chromium has been found in the tap water of thirty-one out of thirty-five cities sampled. Of these cities, twenty-five had levels that exceeded safety standards. Sadly, even if your water is not contaminated with any of these substances, it may still be unsafe to drink”

Worse yet, many communities are told that their water is safe when, in reality, it’s contaminated with carcinogens and heavy metals.

What Studies Are Saying

Natural News reports that a two-year study lead by the National Toxicology Program published in 2008 found that drinking water with chromium-6 caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice. Other studies have since confirmed this claim. California scientist suggested that 0.02 parts per billion would be a safe public health goal concerning the presence of the toxin in drinking water. This amount was believed to pose a negligible risk over a lifetime of consumption (2).

chromium-6 in drinking water

However, aggressive lobbying from water utilities resulted in a legal limit 500 times higher than the suggested 0.02 ppb goal. Over 70 years of regular consumption of unfiltered tap water, 500 people per million will develop cancer from the water alone. In comparison, only 1 per every million people would be affected at the 0.02pb limit.

chromium-6 in drinking water

Despite this ridiculously high limit, tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found that over seven million Americans only had access to tap water contaminated with chromium-6 at a level higher than the legal limit. It’s estimated that even more Americans may be at risk.

These test results aren’t a fluke: from 2013 to 2015, the EPA ordered 60,000 samples of drinking water. They found chromium-6 in more than 75 percent of them. The EWG estimated that this meant that 218 million Americans were (and are still) exposed to dangerously high levels of Chromium-6.

Another study found chromium-6 in almost 90 percent of the water systems sampled, with Oklahoma, Arizona, and California having the highest average statewide levels. In terms of cities, Phoenix had 400 times the California health goal while St. Louis and Houston fell shortly behind.

chromium-6 in drinking water

And if things couldn’t get any worse, a lab tested hundreds of municipal water samples from across the country and found high levels of lead and other heavy metals in 6.7% of samples (3).

To find out more, watch the PBS news report below.

How To Filter Your Water

While your city probably insists that its drinking water is safe, it’s probably best to take your own measures to be extra sure.

The most effective way to remove the harmful toxin is by installing an ion exchange water treatment unit, according to Ian Webster, president of Project Navigator, an environmental engineering project management company (4).

This unit uses columns of gelatin-like resin to which chromium-6 ions cling to. It also removes arsenic and manganese from contaminated groundwater. The only downside is that the filter has to be frequently maintained and replaced to ensure efficacy. Additionally, few ion exchange units are certified to remove hexavalent chromium, so it can be tricky to find one that works.

Alternately, some reverse osmosis filters are certified to remove chromium-6 and more. Osmosis filters are more accessible and can be found in most homeware and hardware stores.

These filters rely on a semi-permeable membrane through which water is pumped and filtered. Most notably, reverse osmosis filters also remove arsenic, barium, copper, lead, and fluoride from your water. The only real downside is that these filters require more energy and water to run and have to be maintained.