Nickel in Our Water

Nickel in our Tap Water

When I was first diagnosed with my allergy, I only considered being aware of all the food I ate that could have traces of nickel. I never considered how the tap water I drink could be a “trigger,” until I read Barbara Njuguna’s personal story about how she was “nickel poisoned” after drinking tap water.

I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah when I was first diagnosed with my nickel allergy. Salt Lake City’s water source originates from the protected watersheds in the Wasatch Mountains. The water undergoes a thorough water treatment process and then is distributed by traditional water mains.

The type of pipe used in most water mains is copper pipe or galvanized pipe. Copper pipeline probably doesn’t contain any nickel, whereas nickel is abundant in the zinc coated steel or iron made galvanized pipes.

“The primary source of nickel in drinking-water is leaching from metals in contact with drinking-water, such as pipes and fittings. However, nickel may also be present in some groundwaters as a consequence of dissolution from nickel ore-bearing rocks” (2004, World Health Organization, p. 1).

Currently, I live in a floating house on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon. Living on the water poses many challenges. However, one of the huge benefits is that tap water only travels through PVC pipes, instead of zinc coated steel or iron galvanized pipes.

I don’t know if the tap water I drink effects my nickel allergy or my eczema. I drink the tap water and I filter it using a PUR water filter. However, I let the water run for a minute or so prior to drinking it.