What Is Hexavalent Chromium and Is It Safe?

Elevated levels of hexavalent chromium (Cr-6) can sometimes be found in drinking water, but what does that mean? Like other contaminants, the amount of Cr-6 found in water and how much of it you have consumed make the biggest difference in whether or not it is safe. Here is what you need to know about hexavalent chromium and its potential impact on your health.

What Is Cr-6?

Chromium is a metal that can be found in nature and that is also used in industrial environments to create steel, plate metal, tan leather, dye and paint objects, preserve wood and more. Coal-burning power plants are a major source of chromium in the environment, and it can also sometimes be found in water when household plumbing fixtures are plated with chrome.

There are three different forms of chromium, including solid metal, trivalent and hexavalent chromium. Trivalent is one of the micronutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. It is a critical piece of a healthy diet and is not toxic in normal quantities. Hexavalent forms do pose risks to our health in certain quantities, and it can be found in elevated levels in drinking water supplies.

Is Hexavalent Chromium Allowed in Drinking Water?

Cr-6 is one of the compounds that is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Act. The maximum allowable level is 100 parts per billion (ppb). In some states, however, hexavalent chromium is more heavily regulated in drinking water. For example, California requires levels to be below 10 ppb, with the goal across the state set at only 0.02 ppb.

Could Cr-6 Be in Your Drinking Water?

Yes! The EPA does not have national standards that require water treatment companies and facilities to test drinking water. While it does not require separate testing, the total chromium level is monitored. If you live in an area that has water treated by WSSC, they monitor all chromium levels, and the level is typically less than 2 ppb. WSSC also tests for Cr-6 at specific points in the system, including the Potomac and Patuxent Water Filtration Plants. However, the water coming from the plant can pick up contaminants on the way to your home.

The Environmental Working Group has collected data from local municipal water supplies, including hexavalent chromium. Glen Burnie municipal water was found to have Cr-6 above the EWG guidelines (.0388 ppb compared to the health guideline of .02 ppb). Crofton also had Cr-6 present at 0.0308 ppb compared to the EWG guideline of .02 ppb. You can take a closer look at the EWG’s report on WSSC contaminants here.

Cr-6 can also be found in private wells, as the water is untreated before your consumption. The water treatment team at Hague Quality Water of Maryland can complete water testing of your private well or your home’s municipal water to determine exactly what compounds are present and make adjustments to your filtration practices to ensure Cr-6 is being filtered out.

What Health Problems Can Occur Due to Cr-6?

Elevated levels of hexavalent chromium can lead to health effects in animals and, in some studies, also humans. Some of the health problems include:

  • Elevated cancer risk
  • Tumor growth
  • Skin burns
  • Pneumonia
  • Complications during childbirth

There are only a handful of water filtration solutions that can be used to effectively remove Cr-6 from your water supply, and it’s important to investigate using them because most water treatment facilities consider investing in Cr-6’s removal to be prohibitively expensive. In fact, WSSC has stated that they are unwilling to invest in Cr-6 removal, so it’s up to you to protect your family from high levels of it being present in your home. Would you leave your health up to chance?

How Can You Remove Cr-6 From Your Home’s Water Supply?

To find out what’s in your water, you can use one of our convenient contactless water testing kits to retrieve an in-home water sample and send it in, or one of our water specialists can come to your home to take a sample.

Our cutting-edge filtration solutions offer your family safe, clean water with efficient filtration. Our WaterMax® system can be used along with reverse osmosis technology to get rid of chemicals, dangerous compounds and Cr-6. The system has a 25-year Manufacturer’s Limited warranty, so you can feel secure that your water will remain clean and healthy. You will never need to second-guess the quality of your water in Maryland again.

Keep Your Water Free from Hexavalent Chromium with Hague Quality Water of Maryland

If your family lives in Anne Arundel, Montgomery or Prince George’s County and you are concerned about the quality and contents of your water, we are here to help with your water improvement projects. Whether you need the Hague WaterMax® System or additional filtration beyond that, our team cares deeply about the health and safety of your family.  To purchase a water test kit today, click here. For additional assistance, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland at (410) 757-2992.

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