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Radium-226

Status: No national drinking water standard exists

 

Radium is a radioactive element that causes bone cancer and other cancers. It can occur naturally in groundwater, and oil and gas extraction activities such as hydraulic fracturing can elevate concentrations. Read More.

Radium releases radioactive particles that harm health in many ways, causing tumors in bone, lungs and other organs; leukemia; and skin and blood damage. Water utilities typically report radium amounts in picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is a measure of radioactivity in water. The two most common forms of radium are radium-226 and radium-228. They may be reported separately or together.

Federal law allows up to 5 picocuries per liter of combined radium-226 and radium-228 in tap water. Research by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that in some regions of the country, such as the mid-continental region and North Atlantic coastal region, more than 20 percent of sampled wells have radium in levels exceeding the federal drinking water limit. And the legal limit does not equate safety: The EPA estimates that one in every 10,000 people drinking water containing radium at this level would develop cancer over a lifetime.

California set a public health goal much lower than the federal limit - 0.019 picocuries per liter of radium-226 and 0.05 picocuries per liter of radium-228, concentrations that are lower than the detection limit for most water tests.

Click here to read more on radiological contaminants.

2010-2015:

FOUND
FOUND ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES

48

states detected

13,707

utilities detected

111 million

people served

48

states over health guideline

12,927

utilities over health guideline

101 million

people served over health guideline

Health concerns for radium-226

Cancer

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

Health Guideline 0.05 pCi/L

The health guideline of 0.05 pCi/L for radium-226 was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

pCi/L = picocuries per liter.

States reporting radium-226 in drinking water

UTILITIES REPORTING ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served UtilitiesPeople Served
Florida73813,120,76974513,408,091
California17210,548,87719511,842,355
Illinois1,44010,744,9231,45110,756,490
Massachusetts4068,376,8224258,772,327
Texas1,0617,757,4651,0627,761,065
Michigan6145,039,9576275,054,813
New York5484,443,1906054,882,926
Arizona2041,336,0542204,524,206
Tennessee2623,892,6942684,068,942
Colorado4472,529,2884773,168,442
Pennsylvania3081,405,2903562,537,147
Nevada942,129,3201022,475,218
Virginia2552,169,4642732,206,554
Alabama1132,167,5601132,167,560
Utah1741,997,6911802,056,703
Kentucky1041,781,7811101,845,122
New Mexico282614,9024821,746,703
New Jersey1181,580,3571251,600,690
Minnesota2101,582,3462101,582,346
Oklahoma4871,345,3935301,517,428
Louisiana1151,458,7991241,481,025
North Carolina3171,349,6323181,350,282
Wisconsin651,292,245651,292,245
Nebraska4051,182,6904201,192,698
Georgia3931,069,9253931,069,925
Arkansas309914,9753371,063,631
Missouri3691,049,4863691,049,486
Indiana36955,32837960,228
Delaware172936,005180951,134
Mississippi187667,202230904,959
Maryland109844,266109844,266
Iowa459744,025459744,025
New Hampshire426604,855441633,011
Idaho157468,474204616,470
South Carolina131503,730138515,329
West Virginia65412,16168420,578
Wyoming177346,887185349,892
Vermont215314,628217316,300
Kansas98311,120101313,244
Montana230253,028252268,115
Connecticut40138,37050247,664
Ohio56204,39263219,765
Alaska139159,498167195,823
South Dakota100148,782101148,822
Maine91143,46192143,524
Rhode Island1054,7061054,706
Washington1815,6872053,232
Hawaii12701270
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Utilities with the highest amounts of radium-226, 2010-2015

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Millersview-doole Water Supply Corporation*Millersview, TX14 of 1414.09 pCi/L3,589
Conroe OaksKaty, TX17 of 1711.27 pCi/L90
South Council Creek 2Austin, TX2 of 210.57 pCi/L111
Lake Texoma Vfw Post 7873Pottsboro, TX24 of 248.57 pCi/L114
Hillside TpLa Junta, CO1 of 18.30 pCi/L30
Vista Verde Water SystemsKirbyville, TX24 of 247.79 pCi/L111
Signal Mountain Ranch Property Owners Water CompanyBeulah, CO10 of 107.73 pCi/L66
Suburban Mobile Home Park 2Houston, TX21 of 237.64 pCi/L120
Edelstein Water Co-opEast Peoria, IL24 of 247.32 pCi/L125
Shirt Tail Gulch DevelopmentLead, SD4 of 47.25 pCi/L60
Eureka Water CompanySwink, CO6 of 67.22 pCi/L498
Patterson Valley Water CompanyRocky Ford, CO6 of 67.20 pCi/L120
Country Acres Mobile Home Park (la Salle County)Des Plaines, IL2 of 27.15 pCi/L295
City of Paint RockPaint Rock, TX3 of 66.88 pCi/L280
Tempe Water Supply Corporation 1Livingston, TX21 of 216.83 pCi/L1,704
Lance Creek Water DistrictLance Creek, WY3 of 36.77 pCi/L45
Petross SubdivisionVidalia, GA19 of 206.66 pCi/L128
Lacina Meadows Residential SubdivisionIowa City, IA18 of 186.56 pCi/L42
Welch Public Works AuthorityWelch, OK24 of 246.52 pCi/L800
Cws Peachtree AcresWest Columbia, SC2 of 26.45 pCi/L138
PetrossVidalia, GA10 of 106.44 pCi/L78
Scarborough GardensPortland, ME1 of 16.41 pCi/L45
Perry County Public Water Supply District 1Perryville, MO7 of 76.39 pCi/L1,957
Highland CourtDallas, TX17 of 176.32 pCi/L90
Rainbow Water CompanyPiedmont, SD2 of 26.30 pCi/L258
San Pedro Canyon Subdivision - UpperDel Rio, TX24 of 246.10 pCi/L150
Jackrabbit Road Public Utility District*Houston, TX3 of 36.10 pCi/L8,406
Pinwah Pines EstatesPflugerville, TX17 of 175.96 pCi/L142
BraidwoodBraidwood, IL6 of 65.86 pCi/L6,600
White Tail Ridge Lakes EstatesLivingston, TX21 of 215.84 pCi/L227

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Radium-226, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
Bellevue WaterworksGreen Bay, WI1 of 25.45 pCi/L14,800
Lugoff Elgin Water AuthorityLugoff, SC1 of 14.60 pCi/L18,984
Inver Grove Heights*Inver Grove Heights, MN12 of 124.60 pCi/L34,189
Brookfield Water UtilityBrookfield, WI1 of 14.50 pCi/L29,070
Fond Du Lac WaterworksFond Du Lac, WI11 of 114.47 pCi/L42,000
Haddon Twp Water DepartmWestmont, NJ1 of 14.45 pCi/L11,937
Hoffman EstatesHoffman Estates, IL6 of 84.05 pCi/L52,520
Little Egg Harbor Twp MULittle Egg Harbor, NJ1 of 13.88 pCi/L22,075
Waukesha Water UtilityWaukesha, WI7 of 73.77 pCi/L70,718
San Antonio Water System*San Antonio, TX8 of 83.75 pCi/L1,661,445
AndoverAndover, MN27 of 303.73 pCi/L19,310
City of White SettlementWhite Settlement, TX21 of 213.57 pCi/L15,483
Janesville Water UtilityJanesville, WI1 of 13.54 pCi/L62,720
Delta Charter TownshipLansing, MI31 of 313.53 pCi/L22,000
Sussex Village Hall & Water UtilitySussex, WI3 of 33.47 pCi/L10,573
Atascosa Rural WSCAtascosa, TX10 of 103.40 pCi/L10,482
Galesburg*Galesburg, IL7 of 73.24 pCi/L33,706
City of Mount DoraMount Dora, FL1 of 13.20 pCi/L29,996
LakevilleLakeville, MN2 of 23.20 pCi/L57,048
FaribaultFaribault, MN1 of 13.10 pCi/L23,415
City of Aiken*Aiken, SC29 of 322.99 pCi/L41,988
Albany City*Albany, NY2 of 22.90 pCi/L132,082
Troy*Troy, MO31 of 332.87 pCi/L10,500
Fort Dodge Water SupplyFort Dodge, IA3 of 32.87 pCi/L25,206
Marion Municipal Water Department*Marion, IA10 of 102.84 pCi/L34,610
City of Cape Coral*Cape Coral, FL6 of 62.81 pCi/L128,669
Lincoln County PWSD 1*Winfield, MO8 of 82.75 pCi/L11,000
Waycross*Waycross, GA4 of 42.70 pCi/L19,900
MontgomeryMontgomery, IL13 of 132.67 pCi/L22,576
Loves ParkLoves Park, IL48 of 482.62 pCi/L22,476

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Radium-226, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

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