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Hexavalent Chromium in California's Water

On August 22, 2013, the California Department of Public Health issued a draft for the drinking water standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for Hexavalent Chromium (also known as Hex 6, Chromium 6, and C16, and the contaminant made famous by the Erin Brockovich movie). In 2001, the California State Legislature mandated that a drinking water standard for Hexavalent Chromium, be adopted by 2004. Nine years later, not only has the standard not been adopted, but the proposed standard has been adjusted from .02 pbb to a maximum contaminant level, 500 times higher than what California has determined safe to drink. This means that approximately 85% of the water sources contaminated by this dangerous carcinogen will not be treated, putting nearly 13 million California residents at risk.

Hexavalent Chromium has been detected in 51 California counties with the following having the most detections: Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernadino, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Tulare.

This problem isn't in California alone, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), at least 74 million Americans in 42 states are drinking tap water that is chromium-polluted, and is likely to contain chromium in the cancer causing, hexavalent form. (

Adya Water Purifying Solution converts Hexavalent Chromium into Trivalent Chromium. Trivalent Chromium is an essential nutrient. As a nutrient, Trivalent Chromium's most important role is to positively affect the metabolism of proteins, lipids, fats, sugars and carbohydrates. The daily suggested intake is 30-35 mgs for adult men and 20-25 mgs for adult women.

Trivalent Chromium is neither toxic nor carcinogenic. Sources of Trivalent Chromium include whole-grain products and cereals, legumes, meats, yeast, coffee and spices. Dairy products contain low concentrations of Trivalent Chromium.

Some major industrial sources of hexavalent chromium are:

  • chromate pigments in dyes, paints, inks, and plastics
  • chromates added as anti-corrosive agents to paints, primers and other surface coatings
  • chrome plating by depositing chromium metal onto an item’s surface using a solution of chromic acid
  • particles released during smelting of ferro-chromium ore
  • fume from welding stainless steel or nonferrous chromium alloys
  • impurity present in portland cement
  • How hexavalent chromium affects the skin

    Some employees can also develop an allergic skin reaction, called allergic contact dermatitis. This occurs from handling liquids or solids containing hexavalent chromium. Once an employee becomes allergic, brief skin contact causes swelling and a red, itchy rash that becomes crusty and thickened with prolonged exposure. Allergic contact dermatitis is long-lasting and more severe with repeated skin contact.

    Direct skin contact with hexavalent chromium can cause a non-allergic skin irritation. Contact with non-intact skin can also lead to chrome ulcers. These are small crusted skin sores with a rounded border. They heal slowly and leave scars.

    How employees can be exposed to hexavalent chromium

    Employees can inhale airborne hexavalent chromium as a dust, fume or mist while:

  • producing chromate pigments and powders; chromic acid; chromium catalysts, dyes, and coatings
  • working near chrome electoplating
  • welding and hotworking stainless steel, high chrome alloys and chrome-coated metal
  • applying and removing chromate-containing paints and other surface coatings