BTO rapport - BTO 2012.004

Hexavalent chromium in drinking water and its sources – a literature study


Chromium appears to be present worldwide in elevated concentrations in many natural or polluted
groundwater sources which are used for public water supply. Many studies have shown that
hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)), which refers to compounds that contain chromium in the 6+ oxidation
state, is much more toxic than trivalent chromium (Cr(III)). Based on studies showing genotoxic
properties of Cr(VI), experts indicate that the drinking water standard for Cr(VI) should be lower than
the current standard of 50 μg/L for total chromium. This study aims to describe what is known on
chromium concentrations and its speciation in drinking water and its sources in the Netherlands, and
to give an overview of the literature on developed techniques for chromium removal from water. We
also aim to give an overview of literature on toxicity of Cr(VI) to determine the human health relevance
of Cr(VI) in drinking water.

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