Uranium and Radium in Drinking Water
Levels of ionized radiation, uranium and radium can vary based on geographical location. As these elements decay, particles can be released into surrounding groundwater. Below, we’ll touch on alpha and beta particles, gamma rays and the effects they have when ingested, while also exploring the causes of uranium in drinking water and well water.
How Do Radioactive Elements Get Into Water?
Radioactive elements like uranium are found naturally within the Earth’s crust. As uranium decays over millions of years, it forms new elements like radium and polonium. As radioactive decay continues, ionized radiation is released in the form of alpha and beta particles, as well as gamma rays, into surrounding groundwater. These can be harmful to the human body in a number of ways.
Alpha particles are slow and cannot penetrate human skin. If ingested, inhaled or entered through open wounds on the skin, alpha particles can damage living tissue and cells.
Beta particles are much faster than alpha particles and travel greater distances. They are more penetrating and can cause “beta burns” on the skin. Like alpha particles, beta particles are hazardous when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed.
Gamma rays are a radiation hazard for the entire body, as they have the capability to penetrate our skin. Although they can pass completely through our bodies, fractions of the energy can be absorbed by living tissue and cause damage to cells and DNA.
Removal of Uranium and Radium from Drinking Water
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you test your drinking water at least once every year. By regularly testing your water, you prevent prolonged consumption of radioactive matter that can cause serious health complications.
If your water shows high levels of uranium or radium, there are water filtration solutions that can help.
Removal by Ion Exchange
Ion exchange water systems (water softeners) remove harmful minerals and metals that are present in your water. Negatively charged resin beds within water-softener tanks attract minerals and metals – reducing hazardous material from your drinking, cooking and bathing water.
Removal by Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis filtration systems purify drinking and cooking water by utilizing pressure to force water through a semipermeable membrane. Because uranium is a heavy molecule, it’s easily removed. Reverse osmosis can also remove other contaminants including metals, heavy metals, microorganisms and other contaminants.
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How Kinetico Advanced Water Systems Can Help
Ensuring your water is free of contaminants is critical to your health, as well as the health of your plumbing system and appliances. Contact a water specialist today to get a free water analysis – the first step to take control of your water quality.