Radium in Water

Source of Radium in Water: Radionuclides are atoms that are not stable and end up putting out energy, which can be unsafe for humans; however, radionuclides can often be used in helpful ways, like in medical imaging technology (CT scans). Radium (Ra) is a radioactive earth metal which can be found in small amounts in certain geographical locations. Radium can enter groundwater and well water through the erosion of natural deposits. Groundwater moves slowly through cracks and pores of underground material and minerals. This slow movement can allow minerals and elements to be dissolved out of the rock and into the ground water. They could also enter the ground supply through nuclear or toxic pollution, which was a concern with the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Radium-226 and Radium-228 are particularly dangerous because of their damaging health effects. To find out if you are near a nuclear plant, consult MSNBC's map of US nuclear plants.

Symptoms of Radium: Because of the serious health effects, the EPA's maximum regulatory amounts for radium are zero mg/L. Radium generally passes through the body, exiting the kidneys and bowels. However, the particles that are left behind generally settle in the bones, causing a greater risk for cancer. They can also be damaging to the kidneys. 

Filtration Solutions for Radium: Treating your water for radium should start with testing. If radium is present in your water supply, it can be reduced using ion exchange or a reverse osmosis water filtration system which will remove 95-98% of any radioactive radium in your drinking water.