What is Radium?
Radium (Ra) is produced by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium in rocks and soil. Radium also emits energy in the form of alpha particles and gamma rays which will decay to form radon. Depending on various natural factors, surface water supplies and shallow wells may have lower radium levels, while deeper wells may have higher concentrations of radium.
How does radium enter water supplies and what level of radium is considered safe?
In the water cycle, as water passes through soil and rock, traces of radium can be picked up and absorbed by the water. Radon-contaminated water can be found both in city supplied water and in private wells. Aside from being naturally introduced into the environment, radium has also been used in glow-in-the-dark paints for watch faces and other products that can contaminate water sources.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maximum contaminant level of combined radium-226 and radium-228 is 5.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The goal is a level of zero pCi/L which is where there are no known adverse effects on human health. Municipalities work to keep radium levels in check, but sometime an area may see elevated levels for a short time and not be in violation of EPA regulations, as was seen in Wisconsin. For private wells, the homeowner is responsible for the water’s quality.
How to avoid exposure to radium?
The presence of radium in water at elevated levels can cause adverse health effects. Like with many other contaminants, radium is undetectable in water by sight, smell, or taste. To identify the presence of radium in water, a water test conducted by a water expert is needed. Contact your local Kinetico water expert to learn more and to schedule a free water test.
How can Kinetico help?
Radium levels in your home’s water can be reduced by using a Kinetico Water Softener or Kinetico Reverse Osmosis system. Kinetico’s water softeners use a process called ion exchange to effectively reduce radium as well as hardness minerals in your water. Radium levels can also be reduced by using a reverse osmosis system. Kinetico offers reverse osmosis systems for whole-home water treatment as well as the K5 Drinking Water Station to significantly reduce radium and other contaminants from drinking water.
Schedule a free water analysis by your local Kinetico water expert today to find the water treatment solution that works best for you and your home.