Since the discovery that ionizing radiation can produce ill effects on the body, various international and national groups begin to study radiation in the water. Also, they have learned how the human population is exposed to it. Furthermore, they have estimated the biological effects of such exposure.
Luckily, there is an abundant source of information on the biological hazards of ionizing radiation. For example, the Subcommittee on the Radioactivity in the Drinking Water has heavily relied on the data of the abstracts of the groups. They have summarized it accordingly per sections.
In other cases, it is possible to have the published and unpublished data into an assessment of the radioactivity effects in the people's water in the United States.
The resources of the reports come from the groups of the National Academy of Sciences Advisory Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP).
As such in this article will discuss the presence of radiological contaminants in the water. Also, it aims to explain ways to remove it effectively to make the drinking water safe from contamination.
All people around the world are exposed to natural ionizing radiation. It includes products of the radioactive decay elements in the crust of the atmosphere and the earth, and the cosmic rays.
Some part of the terrestrial radiation does come from external sources to the body. Also, a part can be from the ingestion and inhalation of the radioactive elements in water, food, and air.
In America, such unavoidable background radiation can give a dose of 100 mmrem to the entire community each year. However, there is significant variability in the amount of radiation. This can depend on the altitude plus the geological characteristics.
For example, in Colorado, studies found that the background dose is around 100 mmrem or higher. Indeed, human beings have lived for generations with such a level of radiation. The radionuclides in the sources of water can contribute as a small share with these levels.
An Abundance of Radionuclides in the Drinking Water
Indeed, there are slight traces of radioactivity that can be found in the drinking water. Meanwhile, the composition and concentration can vary from place to place. It all depends principally on the rock's radiochemical composition and the soil that passed on the raw water.
Furthermore, a lot of artificial and natural radionuclides are found in the water. However, most radioactivity can be because of relatively few nuclides plus their decay products.
Some radiation emitters with low linear energy transfer are potassium-40, tritium, carbon -14, and rubidium -87. Also, radon-22, polonium-210, uranium, thorium, radium-228, and radium -226.
Sources of Low-Let Radiations
The radioactive elements can be the source of other radionuclides responsible for the natural radioactivity in the drinking water. The decay products added in the Earth with its formation plus others are continuously produced by bombardment of the cosmic ray.
Cosmic ray interactions can produce tritium with nitrogen and atmospheric oxygen. Then, it is oxidized to tritiated water until it is being mixed in the hydrosphere. The concentrations of the tritium in the water supplies can vary from about 10 to 25 pCi per liter.
In the same way, carbon-14, produced by the cosmic ray that interacts with the atmospheric nitrogen, is oxidized into carbon dioxide. Generally, it is found at a concentration that corresponds to around six pCi of each gram of carbon.
In drinking water that contains I mg of carbon in each liter, it is expected to have a concentration of around 0.006 pCi per liter. Meanwhile, in ocean water, it can have about 0.1 pCi per liter of concentration.
Potassium-40 can be the most significant among all the natural radionuclides found in the drinking water, emitting low-LET radiation. This primordial radionuclide can occur at total potassium of 0.0118%.
In the United States, adults can ingest around 2,300 pCi of potassium-40 each day. However, the majority of it can be from foodstuff.
Since the potassium concentrations in the human being seem to be under homeostatic control, the fluctuations of water potassium in a wide scope can negatively affect the internal concentrations.
For example, in 1970in California, the drinking water can contain up to 4 pCi per liter of potassium-40. The consumption of 2 liters of such water each day can contribute to 8 pCi per day. However, this is nothing compared to the total daily intake of 2,300 pCi of a nuclide. Indeed, this is the most significant natural contributor to a total genetic and somatic dosage.
Sources of High-Let Radiation
Through the earth's crust, the radionuclides from the decay of thorium-232 and uranium-238 are extensively distributed. Many of them are known as alpha emitters. It includes radon, polonium, as well as radium.
The uranium concentrations in the drinking water ware highly variable, and it ranges from 0.02 to 200 ug per liter in the sources of the drinking water.
Meanwhile, the content of thorium in drinking water has not been extensively measured. However, its concentration in the human skeleton is around one fCi per gram of ask. As such, the abundance of uranium in the human skeleton is said to be ten times greater.
In drinking water, studies have shown that natural alpha emitters are bone seekers. As such, radium -226 and radium -228 can potentially produce harmful radiation doses to man.
The radium -226 fresh surface water content is variable, and it can range from 0.01 to 0.1 pCi per liter. Meanwhile, some groundwater resources can contain up to 100 pCi per liter. The drinking water from the surface water supplies does not contain significant amounts of radium in general. With this, treatment processes like water softening and flocculation can remove most of the radium from the water.
There is an area in the Midwest of America wherein the groundwater contains significant amounts of radium-228 and radium-226. This area is in Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin. In the 1960s, the states have around 1 million persons.
The weighted mean concentration of radium-226 can be estimated to be five pCi per liter. According to studies, around 500,000 people in Iowa and Illinois have been drinking water contaminated with radium -226 of about 3 to 6 pCi per liter. Meanwhile, there are everywhere 300,000 people who consume 6-9 pCi per liter, and approximately 200,000 people live in areas with 9-80 pCi per liter of radium-226.
Also, the researchers stated that 113,000 people drink water with 20 pCi per liter, and 5,700 people drink 20-25 pCi per liter. In one community with around 1,200 persons, their well had 80 pCi per liter of radium -226. Now, they use water well with only three pCi per liter.
In a survey conducted in 1966, the researchers have found out that the water supplies have more than three pCi of radium-226 each liter in areas like those in the Northern Midwest. Such supplies cater to around 145,000 people. With the data provided, about 1.1 million people in the United States consume water that contains around three pCi per liter of radium-226.
Furthermore, the major contributory element to the alpha-emission in the drinking water can be because of the decay of radium-228. However, there are other alpha-emitting natural that can be found in the drinking water. They occur in just small concentrations.
For example, in water analysis, a water sample that contains five pCi of radium-228 each liter is found to have less than 0.02 pCi per liter of isotopes and thorium. Also, it includes around 0.03 pCi per liter of uranium.
There can be two other radium isotopes found in the drinking water. Radium -224 and radium-223 can contribute to the gross alpha activity of the water measured after drawing water from the tap. However, their contributions to the long-term dose in the skeleton can be negligible due to their short half-lives.
However, the radium-228, which is decayed by beta emission and does not contribute to the gross alpha activity in the drinking water, can give rise to a series of alpha-emitting products. The radium-228 and radium-226 can produce a significant alpha particle dose in the body tissues and the skeleton. When talking about the presence of radium in the drinking water, it is crucial to distinguish the isotopic mixture in the long-term alpha dose and the freshly drawn drinking water.
Radioactivity in Drinking Water Effects
Developmental and Teratogenic Effects
The developing fetus can be exposed to radionuclides in the drinking water in nine months. As such, the accumulated radiation dose for the fetus can be relatively small.
Although the fetus is considered sensitive to the effects of radiation in developmental stages, such periods can be short and limited. The total dose that can administer some teratogenic and developmental outcomes can be minimal.
In the United States, there are around 94,400 genetic diseases per million live births. There are cases of soft-tissue dose live births, congenital disabilities, and bone diseases each year.
Radiation’s natural background can cause around 4.5 to 45 cases of cancer per millions people. Each year, the whole-body radiation from radionuclides can contribute to the typical drinking water of about 1%. As such, cancers other than those in the bone can have an increase in the total amount.
For radium, less than 7% of the total bone dose was received from the background radiation in areas with an average concentration of radium.
For the skeletal irradiation by radium, the average carcinogenic risk can be approximately 0.2 fatal cases of bone cancer per million persons each year per rein.
The Berkey Water Filtration System
One effective way to remove the radiological contaminants in the water is through the use of our Berkey Water Filtration for the family. With this innovation, one is assured that the whole family is protected from radiological contaminants in the water.
The Berkey Water Filter has seven available units, and it features two Black Berkey Water Filters. Each unit can look similar, but it can differ in the storage capacity depending on the family's needs.
According to laboratory tests conducted by our company, our Berkey Water Filtration System can remove around 99.9% of harmful chemicals, pathogenic bacteria, and even radiological compounds which are invisible to the naked eye.
Check out some of our Berkey products available below:
Royal Berkey Water Filter
One of our best-selling filters of the Berkey line of products is the Royal Berkey Water Filter. Indeed, this can be used by medium to large-sized families. Amazingly, this is also suitable for family gatherings and adventures outdoors.
The storage capacity of the product is 3.25 gallons or around 12.3 liters of water. In everyday use, the product can serve about 2 to 4 people each day.
Meanwhile, the product’s flow rate can be 15.1 per hour. It can accommodate two Black Berkey Water Filter plus the two chambers (upper and lower chamber). However, it can be configured to have four filters to have maximum protection against other chemicals in the drinking water.
Like other Berkey products, the Royal model can remove up to 99.9% of the pathogenic bacteria, viruses, pesticides, and others. Indeed, you can have almost pure water with this one. Thus grab one now!
Berkey Light Water Filter
Another great solution to eliminate the radiological contaminants is through the use of our Berkey Light Water Filter. This product has a water capacity of 2.75 gallons or 10.4 liters of water. It also features the use of two Black Berkey Water filters.
This product is made of non-BPA and non-BPS copolyester. With this, you are assured that there can be no water leaching inside.
It can cater to 1 to 5 people each day. When fully configured, it can serve around 100 to 200 people, especially during emergencies.
Again, the Berkey Light Water Filter can remove 99.9% of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and even radiological compounds. As such, make sure to grab one now for your family here!
In a nutshell, the radiation associated with most of the water sources in such a small proportion of the standard background that all humans are exposed to is difficult to measure the health effects with conviction. However, in some water supplies, the radium can reach concentrations that can pose risks of bone cancer to whoever is exposed.
To protect loved ones from the ill effects of radiation, it is best to invest in a water filter such as the Berkey Water Filtration System. With this unit, rest assured that the family is protected from radiological harms.