Effects of Chromium in Water 

Unfortunately, the water coming out of your tap may be contaminated with various heavy metals and other pollutants. This is especially true if you’re relying on city water in Maryland. Even if the water is leaving the water processing plant clean, it may be contaminated by old or leaking pipes and the like.

One of the most dangerous contaminants, especially for Maryland residents, is hexavalent chromium (AKA chromium 6). Even if hexavalent chromium doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably heard about it before. This heavy metal was the subject of the classic movie “Erin Brockovich,” starring Julia Roberts.

Drinking water might not sound like the most exciting topic for a hit movie, but there’s a reason the film drew so much attention. Chromium is a dangerous substance and the residents of Hinkley, California were exposed to high levels of chromium due to negligence.


The chromium exposure uncovered by the real-life Erin Brockovich resulted in the largest ever direct action lawsuit settlement. Pacific Gas and Electric was forced to pay $333 million after wastewater contaminated with hexavalent chromium leaked into nearby groundwater.

The hexavalent chromium compounds that residents were exposed to were genotoxic carcinogens. Residents suffered higher cancer rates than the general population, and chromium exposure may have resulted in other medical conditions as well. Hinkley has since become a ghost town.

Unfortunately, a report found that chromium 6, the very same carcinogen at the center of the Brockovich lawsuit, has been found in city water across Maryland. The dangerous contaminant has been found in Baltimore, Bethesda, Annapolis, Bowie, Rockville, and many other cities in Prince George’s and Montgomery County. In fact, chromium 6 has been found in water provided by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

In many cases, the chromium levels reported fall on the right side of EPA guidelines. However, you couldn’t blame Maryland residents for wanting cleaner water. Fortunately, by using a filtration system, such as the Hague WaterMax® BEQ, you can reduce chromium levels.

So, what are the effects of chromium, anyway? Let’s take a look.

1. Chromium is a Dangerous Carcinogen 

Most importantly, chromium 6 is a dangerous carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. People exposed to high levels of chromium are more likely to suffer lung cancer and nasal sinus cancer. Both of these cancers have a high mortality rate. Chromium may be linked to other cancers as well.

2. Chromium Affects Fertility

Chromium 6 has been linked to male infertility. Male workers who had been exposed to high levels of chromium at the workplace experienced a lower sperm count. Further, the sperm experienced lower motility, meaning they were less mobile and energetic.

Both of these conditions could result in lower fertility. Similar findings were observed in animal studies.

3. Chromium Can Stunt Development

Unfortunately, if you have children in your household, the dangers of chromium in your drinking water are all the more real. Chromium has been found to stunt child development and could have lasting effects throughout your child’s life.

The body goes through many changes throughout childhood. These changes are immensely complex, and if biological processes are disturbed, it could have cascading effects. Any Maryland household with children should pay especially close attention to the quality of their drinking water.

4. Other Effects of Chromium Exposure Through Drinking Water

While the above effects are perhaps the most serious effects of chromium exposure through drinking water, they are far from the only ones. Chromium exposure can cause skin and eye irritation, for example. Hexavalent chromium may also cause asthma, nasal ulcers, convulsions, acute gastroenteritis, and damage to the liver and kidneys.

Hague Filtration Systems Can Help

Many households that rely on city water are rightly worried about exposure to chromium and other dangerous contaminants. And many turn to bottled water as a result. However, by using a Hague WaterMax® BEQ, made specifically for filtering city water, you can get clean water straight from the tap, throughout your entire home.

The WaterMax BEQ uses a multi-step process  to reduce or eliminate chromium 6 and other dangerous contaminants. You can save money, reduce your impact on the environment, and even cut energy costs all while enjoying safer, cleaner water.

Call us or request a FREE WATER TEST today! 


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