Potassium occurs widely in all natural waters. It can also appear in drinking-water as a result of the use of potassium permanganate at water treatment plants. Safe Home offers a few kits that provide drinking water testing for potassium in city water and well water supplies.

Parameter Type: Drinking Water Testing for Volatiles

Parameter Name: Potassium

What it is and Where it Comes From:

Potassium is a chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Potassium is a silvery-white metal that is soft enough to be cut with a knife with little force. Potassium metal reacts rapidly with atmospheric oxygen to form flaky white potassium peroxide in only seconds of exposure. It was first isolated from potash, the ashes of plants, from which its name derives. In the periodic table, potassium is one of the alkali metals, all of which have a single valence electron in the outer electron shell, that is easily removed to create an ion with a positive charge a cation, that combines with anions to form salts. Potassium in nature occurs only in ionic salts. You can find it stored under oils or grease. Potassium is a part of many common rocks and minerals. It is very abundant in the earth’s crust. Potassium is used in glass, soap, fertilizers, and gunpowder. Drinking water testing gives you several benefits like peace of mind, identifying contaminants in your water, and insight into health concerns. Safe Home offers Laboratory drinking water testing kits for potassium, allowing you to collect your water sample and ship it directly to our EPA-Certified Laboratory. This platform of drinking water testing for potassium will give you an accurate level based on the lowest level of a parameter our instruments can detect (Method Detection Level). Safe Home drinking water testing for metals can be used for city and well water supplies. Drinking water testing should be done any time you notice a significant change in your water quality.

Health Effects:

What are the health effects of potassium in water? Potassium is a dietary requirement for humans, and we take up about 1-6 g per day at a requirement of 2-3.5 g per day. The total potassium amount in the human body lies somewhere between 110 and 140 g and mainly depends upon muscle mass. The muscles contain potassium in red blood cells and brain tissue. Whereas its opponent sodium is present in intracellular fluids, potassium is mainly present within cells. It preserves osmotic pressure. The relation of potassium in cells to potassium in plasma is 27:1 and is regulated by means of sodium-potassium pumps. Vital functions of potassium include its role in nerve stimulus, muscle contractions, blood pressure regulation and protein dissolution. It protects the heart and arteries and may even prevent cardiovascular disease. The relation of sodium to potassium used to be 1:16, and is now about 3:1, which mainly prevents high sodium uptake. Potassium shortages are relatively rare, but may lead to depression, muscle weakness, heart rhythm disorder and confusion. Potassium loss may be a consequence of chronic diarrhea or kidney disease because the physical potassium balance is regulated by the kidneys. When kidneys operate insufficiently, potassium intake must be limited to prevent greater losses. Skin contact with potassium metals results in caustic potash corrosion. This is more hazardous than acid corrosion because it continues unlimitedly. Caustic potash drops are very damaging to the eyes. The intake of several potassium compounds may be particularly harmful. At high doses potassium chloride interferes with nerve impulses, which interrupts with virtually all bodily functions and mainly affects heart functioning. Potassium alum may cause stomach complaints and nausea at concentrations as low as 2 g and may be corrosive and even lethal in higher concentrations. Potassium carbonate is lethal to adults at doses above 15 g. The same goes for potassium tartrate at 1 g, and for potassium cyanide at only 50 mg. Potassium dichromate is lethal at between 6 and 8 g, and 30 g of potassium nitrate causes severe intoxication, which may result in death. Because of its strongly corrosive mechanism potassium hydroxide concentrations between 10 and 12 ml in a 15% caustic may be lethal. Potassium permanganate is applied in bleaches and disinfection, and is lethal at between 5 and 8 g.

Solutions to Contaminant Levels:

After drinking water testing, how can I remove potassium from my water? Potassium may be removed from water by means of reverse osmosis. Potassium is applied in water purification. For example, potassium permanganate is applicable for oxidation of waterborne compounds, such as for iron or manganese removal, and disinfection. Potassium permanganate application makes it possible to determine the oxidative capacity of organic matter in water. Reverse osmosis is a process that removes foreign contaminants, solid substances, large molecules, and minerals from water by using pressure to push it through specialized membranes. Here’s how reverse osmosis works. Unlike osmosis, which is a passive process, reverse osmosis requires external force (pressure) to work. Pressure is applied to a highly concentrated solute solution, such as salt water, to pass through a membrane to a lower concentrate solution. The membrane allows water to flow through but blocks out larger molecules, like contaminants. The reverse osmosis process leaves higher concentrations of solute on one side and only the solvent, or freshwater, on the other. Who do I need to contact to find out more information about water quality in my area? Every community water supplier must provide an annual report to its customers, known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water. How often does the local public water system preform drinking water testing? Frequency of drinking water testing depends on the number of people served, the type of water source, and types of contaminants. Certain contaminants are tested more frequently than others, as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act. You can find out about levels of regulated contaminants in your treated water for the previous calendar year in your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

File Under: METALS

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