Very few consumers realise how likely it actually is that nickel is also present in their tap water. This is because nickel is one of the least known heavy metals that can be found in our drinking water. Whether nickel in drinking water is harmful to health, how you can find out whether there are dangerous concentrations of the heavy metal in your tap water and why a water test for heavy metals such as nickel is recommended in principle by experts, you will learn in the following article.
How does nickel get into drinking water?
Nickel belongs to the non-water-soluble heavy metals. On the other hand, various nickel compounds can certainly be water-soluble and thus get into the water. On the one hand, there is the possibility that nickel is washed out of rock layers and thus gets into the groundwater. It is more likely, however, that nickel is released from fittings and pipes installed in the house. Older materials are particularly susceptible to this; stagnant water further promotes the process.
What is the limit value for nickel in drinking water?
The Drinking Water Ordinance sets clear limits for heavy metals, including nickel. The limit value for nickel in drinking water is 0.02 mg per litre of water. This maximum value applies throughout the EU.
Is nickel harmful to health if it is ingested via drinking water?
Nickel and corresponding nickel compounds are poorly or not at all processed by the body. The stomach and intestines are unable to break down most nickel compounds, which means that only a few compounds are actually absorbed.
However, the absorption of nickel via the respiratory tract, i.e. when it is inhaled in the form of water vapour, for example, can have serious consequences – including lung cancer.
In addition, skin reactions, in particular, are not uncommon. Contact allergies are among the most common complaints in connection with nickel.
Do you have too much nickel in your drinking water? Here is what you can do!
Nickel in drinking water – not infrequently, the fittings are the problem. If there is too much nickel in the drinking water, it can be removed, for example, with the help of a suitable activated carbon filter such as the IVARIO water filter. A reverse osmosis system can also be helpful to remove nickel from tap water but also filter important minerals and trace elements from your water.
In principle, it is advisable to first locate the source of the excessive nickel concentration in the water and eliminate it if necessary. Nickel-free faucets, in particular, are often the solution. The pipes themselves should also be checked, as it is not uncommon to find sources of excessive heavy metal contamination in drinking water here as well.
Nickel in water: Have your tap water tested!
Whether in the case of justified suspicion or as a preventive measure, experts generally recommend having the tap water test. A water test quickly provides information about possible contamination by heavy metals such as copper, nickel or lead. Bacteria and germs can also be detected by a simple water sample, which can be taken at the tap and sent to an accredited German laboratory. If limit values are exceeded here, which are specified in the drinking water regulation, consumers recognise these parameters with few looks in the understandably broken-down test results. These are available just a few days after the sample has been taken, giving consumers peace of mind when consuming tap water.
This water test is particularly recommended for families with babies and small children. This is because various substances and bacteria that are initially undetected in our tap water can have a long-term negative impact on the health of the offspring. From diarrhoea to immense consequential damage, such as reduced intelligence formation in infants due to the continuous intake of lead, the symptoms and complaints vary greatly. For this reason, complaints and illnesses are usually associated far too late or, in the worst case, not with the true cause: contamination of the most important foodstuff, water. If this cause remains undetected, the permanent damage may be enormous.
Not only nickel is a danger: heavy metals and bacteria in water endanger health
In addition to nickel, other heavy metals that can be found in one’s tap water are also an underestimated danger to consumer health. Among the most dangerous heavy metals here is lead in particular, which can still be found in the form of lead pipes in many drinking water installations.