What you need to know about radionuclides
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates several drinking water contaminants, including radionuclides, to protect public health. But many Americans are not aware of the possible contaminants – over 100 that are regulated and others that are not. Some households protect their water with a home drinking water system while others choose to ignore the benefits of high-quality drinking water. We assume that our drinking water is safe for consumption because we live in a country with some of the best drinking water in the world. The ugly truth is that even in this nation, there are areas and situations where our drinking water is less than perfect, and is sometimes even dangerous to human health. Radionuclides are just one example of a harmful contaminant in public drinking water and we think that it is time, now, to improve the drinking water in every single home in the U.S.
Like other contaminants, radionuclides may cause health problems if present in public or private water supplies in amounts greater than the drinking water standard set by EPA. A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable nucleus which, to become more stable, emits energy in the form of rays or high speed particles. This is called ionizing radiation because it can create “ions” by displacing electrons in the body (e.g. in the DNA), disrupting its function. The three major types of ionizing radiation are: alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays.
According to the EPA, 80% of our exposure to radioactivity is natural and another 20% is from man-made sources, although more frequent use of diagnostic imaging involving radiation x-rays, CT scans is increasing exposure from this source. We are exposed to naturally occurring radiation for example from radon gas emanating from rocks and soil, and cosmic radiation from space. Radiation may exist in drinking water from nuclides dissolved in the water from natural sources in the earth or occasionally from releases from laboratories or nuclear power plants. Certain rock types have naturally occurring trace amounts of “mildly radioactive” elements.
These radioactive contaminants, depending on their chemical properties, may accumulate in drinking water sources at levels of concern. They can be dangerous because #radiation pulls electrons off atoms in the cells and may prevent the cell from functioning properly. This is where it may get dangerous. It may lead to the cell’s death, to the cell’s inability to repair itself, or to the cell’s uncontrolled growth cancer!. Ionizing radiation can damage DNA, which carries the genetic information in a cell.
If public drinking water tests should find traces of regulated radionuclides in the tap water, the water supplier must notify their customers as soon as practical or within 30 days after a violation occurs. If your water comes from a household well, check with your health department or local water systems that use groundwater for information on contaminants of concern in your area. As for well owners, you are responsible for testing and treating your own water.
When you install a home drinking water system like an RO system, you will immediately enjoy the benefits of safer, healthier water free of harmful contaminants. Contact us today for more information or to learn more about our water filtration products.
Write a comment
You need to login to post comments!