Nickel in drinking water - how dangerous is that?

Nickel is one of the lesser-known heavy metals that can occur in drinking water. The extent to which nickel can be hazardous to health, the limit values ​​in the EU for the nickel load of drinking water and how nickel can be removed from the water are explained here.

Properties of nickel

Nickel is virtually insoluble in water in its pure form. However, individual nickel compounds may be water-soluble.

Nickel has no known function in the human organism, but is considered as possibly necessary for individual processes trace element. There are only about 10 mg of nickel in the entire human body. The required daily dose is estimated to be around 5 μg.

Limit values ​​for nickel

As for all heavy metals, the WHO, the EU and also the German Drinking Water Ordinance provide for a limit value for the maximum permissible nickel contamination of drinking water.

It is 0.02 mg / l throughout the EU. This value also applies to the German Drinking Water Ordinance. The WHO admits a higher limit of 0.07 mg / l, which should not yet be harmful to health.

Possible negative health consequences

Most nickel compounds are absorbed very poorly in the gastrointestinal tract. Nickel can therefore only be taken up via a few nickel compounds. The health hazard of oral intake is therefore low.

Only the inhalation of nickel can lead to lung cancer, skin contact often leads to contact allergies, preferably in women, less common in men.

Whether increased nickel uptake via drinking water can mean a higher risk of contact allergies has not been scientifically clarified conclusively.

Removal of nickel from drinking water

With suitable activated carbon filters, nickel can be removed from the drinking water.

Even a precipitation can succeed, but the pH of the water must be increased to 9.5. Then the completely insoluble nickel hydroxide precipitates.

By using a reverse osmosis system, nickel is completely removed like all other impurities.

Tips & Tricks

Conversely, the very high purity of osmosis water can again have adverse health effects. In addition, reverse osmosis systems waste a lot of precious drinking water and expensive energy.

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