Vanadium
Egyptians drinking water
Vanadium is a metal that naturally occurs in many different minerals and in fossil fuel deposits. The primary industrial use of vanadium is in the strengthening of steel.
Exposure to vanadium is very common, as it is a naturally occurring element that is found in many parts of the environment, including at low levels in many foods. Higher levels of vanadium can be found in seafood and in some nutritional supplements. According to California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, people are exposed to an estimated 10 to 60 micrograms of vanadium on a daily basis. Food contributes between 10 to 20 micrograms per day, and a daily vitamin pill also may contribute 10 micrograms per day. Because vanadium is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, it’s unlikely that ingested vanadium absorbed at these daily levels results in any adverse human health effects. Vanadium exposure may also occur to a small degree through the lungs and skin.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that vanadium is possibly carcinogenic to humans. At the same time, health experts are debating whether or not vanadium is also an essential nutrient. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current reference concentration for vanadium indicates that ongoing exposure to vanadium at levels of more than 21 parts per billion per day may lead to negative health effects.
As part of its Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule testing, EPA is examining how prevalent vanadium is in U.S. drinking water supplies and at what level it occurs. Under the recent round of UCMR3 testing, many water utilities nationwide tested for vanadium.

Contact your public water system to learn more about vanadium testing and results. You can usually find contact information for your public water system on your water bill.
There is not a federal drinking water standard or a health advisory level for vanadium at this time. Regulations have been put in place for other forms of vanadium exposure, however.
If the UCMR3 testing shows that a large number of U.S. drinking water systems have detected vanadium at levels of concern, EPA may decide to regulate it in the future. Before regulating a contaminant, EPA considers projected adverse health effects from the contaminant, the extent of occurrence of the contaminant in drinking water and whether regulation of the contaminant would present a meaningful opportunity for reducing risks to health.
If you get your drinking water from a private well, you can have your water tested for vanadium by a certified laboratory. Vanadium is not regularly tested in many labs. However, you may contact one of the labs on the UCMR3 laboratory list for information on how to sample and where to send samples for analysis. Additional information about well water testing from EPA is available on their private drinking water well FAQ page.
Filtration has been shown to be effective at removing other metals from water supplies where they have been used and tested; however there is not a device currently that has been certified to specifically remove vanadium.

NSF International, the Water Quality Association, Underwriters Laboratories and CSA International all certify home treatment products for removal of contaminants. Ion exchange systems have been shown to remove vanadium. If a home treatment device is used, it is very important to follow the manufacturer's operation and maintenance instructions carefully in order to make sure the device functions properly.
Bottled water quality can vary. Bottled water in the United States is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is required to meet standards equal to EPA’s tap water standards. There are also individual state standards established for bottled water. However, in most cases, contacting the bottled water manufacturer for information about vanadium levels in the water is a good idea.