Antimony

Cathal Walsh
Content Creator
Thursday, 6th June 2019
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Antimony

Table of Contents

Maximum amount allowed in water: 

5.0 μg/litre

What is it?

Antimony is a natural substance that resembles metal. It is hard, extremely brittle and takes the appearance of a silver-white crystalline material. It is used as a compound in a wide variety of alloys and has vast industrial applications.

How does it get into water?

It can seep into water naturally from the weathering of rocks but this normally happens in very small amounts. A prevalent way in which antimony gets into water is through pollution from copper and lead mining and smelting operations.  The most common way however that antimony finds its way into water is through the dissolution of metal plumbing and fittings.

Does it cause any harm to health?

There is not a lot of definitive evidence to show that antimony is harmful to humans. Workers exposed to the substance long term however have reported developing a range of health conditions. These mainly included respiratory and eye problems.  The international agency for research on cancer has concluded that antimony is probably carcinogenic but only if inhaled.

How do I check for it?

A good way to check for a risk of it is to inspect all of the metal pipes and fittings in your home and see if there is any evidence of corrosion or dissolution. If you want a definitive test however the best option is to get a water test from an accredited laboratory.

 

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