Hexavalent Chromium Treatment

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March 20, 2013:
Wikipedia on Hexavalent Chromium.

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Filtration:

You can filter out Chromium VI from your water with many consumer water filter applications.

How To Get Hexavalent Chromium Out Of Your Tap Water

Solutions in Lieu of Municipal Tapwater Filtering

The recent news about Hexavalent Chromium (also called Chromium 6) being present in tap water samples for most major cities is surprising, but may not need to be cause for alarm. In fact, there are ways of taking hexavalent chromium out of your water that can also reduce or virtually eliminate many other contaminants from drinking water at the same time. Some of these systems are relatively inexpensive.

The top methods for treating drinking water for hexavalent chromium in the home include distillation, filtration, and reverse osmosis. All of these have their ups and downs. Distillation involves boiling the water and condensing steam, which can be cost prohibitive and more difficult to install. There are also contaminants that can get through the distillation process but the biggest issue will still probably be price. There are specialized undercounter water filters that remove chromium. At the next level, there are reverse osmosis water filters that take chromium 6 out of your water, but the model you get can be somewhat wasteful. Reverse osmosis (RO) water filters use a certain quantity of water to wash contaminants across a membrane, and you could be using several gallons of water to make a single gallon of reverse osmosis water. However, there are “zero waste” systems that can recycle this water back into your home water supply, and since reverse osmosis water is pre-filtered before the RO stage, it goes in a lot cleaner than it came out.

For any method of Hexavalent Chromium water treatment, it makes sense to check to make sure the filter is independently certified to reduce or remove specific contaminants. For example, most filters have NSF or WQA certifications showing the reduction/removal rates for chromium (hexavalent and trivalent), mercury, nitrates, and volatile organic compounds. Since you can never be sure  what’s in your water, you may also want  to commission a hexavalent chromium test, but in any case water filters can go a long way to reducing chemical contaminats, which could also be leaching out of antiquated pipes and plumbing systems. Considering that it may be cost prohibitive to retrofit municipal water supplies in a timely manner, having a home-based water filtration solution can be a good way to secure your own drinking water supply in the meantime.
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Notes and Special Information

Special note: Solutions for hexavalent chromium filtration and cleanup can be expensive. People sell water filters for drinking water, but you could still be exposed in the bath or shower, where you might breathe in chromium 6 as a result of the water misting. In any case, you should be informed about hexavalent chromium so you can make a rational decision and not end up worrying about small risks if there are larger dangers in your life. In my own neighborhood, we have people who let 3 year old kids ride bikes in the street, so a long term cancer risk is not the immediate problem they should be worrying about.