Cobalt in Drinking Water

What is cobalt?

Cobalt is a rare element and a component of various ores in small quantities. It is primarily extracted from copper and nickel ores. 

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Where does cobalt play a role?

It is a by-product of nickel production. In metallurgy, cobalt is used as a valuable additive in heat-resistant alloys. Because of its bright colour pigments, cobalt blue is used to colour glass, ceramics and enamel. In accumulator technology, heavy metal is particularly interesting for mobile applications.

How does cobalt affect humans?

Cobalt is essential for many living beings because it is a component of the blood-forming vitamin B12. Therefore, it is of great importance for medicine to produce cobalamin, the coenzyme B12. There is no specific intake recommendation for cobalt for adults in the UK. However, it is assumed that an average daily intake of 1-2 µg is sufficient to meet the requirement. Cobalt compounds have a relatively low toxic effect on the body. Only very high overdoses (from 25 mg daily) can lead to severe diseases of the internal organs.

How does cobalt get into the water?

Cobalt is not water-soluble; it is found mainly in chloride, nitrate or sulphate. Elevated concentrations of these substances in water can impair water quality and adversely affect the environment. The UK Drinking Water Regulations do not set a specific limit for cobalt in drinking water. However, there is a general limit for the total amount of heavy metals in drinking water, including cobalt. The limit for heavy metals in drinking water in the UK is ten micrograms per litre (µg/L).

Who is responsible?

The values specified in the Drinking Water Ordinance are chemical parameters that apply exclusively to the supply pipes of municipal waterworks. As a homeowner, you are responsible for the quality of the water after it has left the public water supply and entered your home installation. In older buildings or rural areas, faults in the house installation become apparent. There is a statutory obligation to test for pollutants regularly. Particularly in older buildings or rural areas, house installation problems become apparent. 

Owners of well systems are responsible for ensuring that their well water complies with the Drinking Water Ordinance. 

Cobalt compounds in drinking water? What can be done?

Water contaminated with heavy metals can no longer be used as food. Water testing will shed light on the problem. The water testing kits of IVARIO are easy to take and are then sent to an accredited laboratory. After a short time, you receive a detailed breakdown of the quality of your water.

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