Recently, reports have been surfacing about a potential carcinogen contaminating public water supplies all over the country. This contaminant was the focal point for the “Erin Brockovich” movie and the true story behind the movie, adding to the public interest of the report. The term for the “Erin Brockovich” contaminant is Chromium-6 (also known as hexavalent chromium) and there is a lot more to learn about this particular chemical.

Chromium-6 is a man-made chemical that is result of industrial processees. Chromium-6 is a known carcinogen, adding to the potential concern about exposure through the public water supply. This toxic compound can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin; all of which can produce toxic effects.

There is also another naturally existing version of chromium called Chromium-3. This version is used by the body to process certain kinds of food and is involved with blood sugar metabolism. Consumption of chromium-3 should be balanced, because too much can be unhealthy.

There are two different types of chromium toxicity, acute and long-term exposure. Acute exposure includes symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, and ultimately leading up to severe multi-organ failure. Acute exposure will most likely result from oral intake.

Long-term exposure is usually a small amount of chromium-6 entering the body in multiple incidences over a sustained period of time. Symptoms include general irritation to tissue that has come in contact with it, from skin lesions to lung cancer.

Treatments for elevated levels of chromium-6 do exist, but most people do not realize they have had toxic exposure, as was the case in Hinkley, California shown in the movie. Vitamin c is known to have a positive impact on detoxifying our bodies from chromium toxicity. In addition, IV therapy, herbs and certain nutrients also aid in the detoxification of these poisonous metals.

The best possible way to treat chromium toxicity is to know if your environment has it. That way you could better identify where your exposure is coming from. Environmental Working Group’s interactive map at http://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/2016-chromium6-lower-48.php shows areas all over the United States that have been tested positive for chromium-6.

Finding a healthcare practitioner that specializes in heavy metal toxicity is the first step. This will help you navigate through the detoxification process safely.