Chromium is an element found in nature.
Chromium is found in 3 forms. Chromium 0 is used to make steel. Chromium III and chromium VI are used to make pigments (colours) for:
Chromium is found in air, water, rocks, soil, animals, gases, and volcanic dust.
Chromium III is found in small amounts in some:
Chromium 0 and VI are most often found in industrial areas because of leakage, poor storage, or improper disposal from steel and pulp mills.
Chromium can get into drinking water from:
Chromium III helps your body use sugar, protein, and fat. It is not harmful unless levels are very high.
Chromium 0 and VI are more harmful and there are health risks with exposure. The maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) is the highest amount of a metal in drinking water that is safe for a person to drink. People who drink water with chromium over the MAC for
many years can have health problems like:
Long-term exposure to chromium can also cause death.
Chromium VI can cause lung and stomach cancer.
Your water can be tested to see how much chromium is in it. Learn more about
testing your drinking water in Alberta.
When regular testing shows total chromium levels above the MAC, your water supplier must reduce the amount of chromium to a safe level.
If you have a private water source, test your water regularly to make sure it is safe. Make sure to have your water sample tested by an accredited lab.
According to Health Canada’s
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, the MAC for chromium in drinking water is 0.05 mg/L (milligrams per litre).
If there is a problem with chromium in any public water supply, customers must be told right away. Another water source must also be supplied to prevent health effects.
If you are concerned about chromium in your drinking water:
You can also be exposed to chromium in:
If you have any questions about chromium in drinking water, contact Alberta Health Services
Environmental Public Health.
Current as of: April 26, 2022
Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.