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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Radium, combined (-226 & -228)

City of Avondale

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 – 0.05 picocuries per liter of radium-226 and 0.019 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.

 

70

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

14

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND220ND
20130.28 pCi/L247ND - 1.70 pCi/L
20140.26 pCi/L185ND - 1.30 pCi/L
2015N/A00N/A
20160.37 pCi/L62ND - 1.20 pCi/L
2017N/A00N/A

pCi/L = picocuries per liter

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EWG Health Guideline 0.05 pCi/L

EWG applied the health guideline of 0.05 pCi/L, defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal for radium-226, to radium-226 and radium-228 combined. This health guideline protects against cancer.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 5 pCi/L

The legal limit for combined radium-226 and radium-228, established in 1976, was based on costs for radium removal, as calculated at the time that the standard was set. This limit does not fully protect against the risk of cancer due to radium exposure.

pCi/L = picocuries per liter

All test results

Date Lab ID Result
2012-02-21RSE43586ND
2012-02-21RSE43585ND
2012-02-22RSE43589ND
2012-02-22RSE43587ND
2012-02-23RSE43588ND
2012-05-07RSE44104ND
2012-05-07RSE44103ND
2012-05-07RSE44102ND
2012-05-09RSE44140ND
2012-05-09RSE44139ND
2012-05-22RSE44222ND
2012-08-07RSE44700ND
2012-08-07RSE44699ND
2012-08-08RSE44705ND
2012-08-08RSE44704ND
2012-08-13RSE44744ND
2012-08-13RSE44745ND
2012-11-12RSE45293ND
2012-11-12RSE45292ND
2012-11-14RSE45304ND
2012-11-14RSE45303ND
2012-11-15RSE45327ND
2013-02-05RSE45691ND
2013-02-06RSE457040.80 pCi/L
2013-02-07RSE45729ND
2013-02-07RSE45726ND
2013-02-13RSE45768ND
2013-02-14RSE45785ND
2013-05-02RSE46373ND
2013-05-07RSE46413ND
2013-05-08RSE46429ND
2013-05-08RSE46428ND
2013-05-13RSE46475ND
2013-05-13RSE46477ND
2013-08-06RSE47069ND
2013-08-08RSE470870.50 pCi/L
2013-08-08RSE470860.80 pCi/L
2013-08-08RSE47085ND
2013-08-15RSE47156ND
2013-08-15RSE47154ND
2013-10-30RSE477320.90 pCi/L
2013-10-30RSE477311.00 pCi/L
2013-10-30RSE477361.70 pCi/L
2013-10-30RSE477370.90 pCi/L
2013-11-14RSE47898ND
2013-12-19RSE48135ND
2014-01-27RSE483301.00 pCi/L
2014-01-27RSE48329ND
2014-01-28RSE48346ND
2014-01-28RSE483451.00 pCi/L
2014-01-29RSE48369ND
2014-02-13RSE48491ND
2014-05-20RSE493490.30 pCi/L
2014-05-20RSE493481.30 pCi/L
2014-05-20RSE49340ND
2014-05-20RSE493391.00 pCi/L
2014-05-20RSE49338ND
2014-05-22RSE49368ND
2014-08-06RSE49882ND
2014-08-06RSE49880ND
2014-08-07RSE49892ND
2014-08-07RSE49889ND
2014-08-07RSE49890ND
2014-08-07RSE49891ND
2016-08-166081533-011.20 pCi/L
2016-08-166081533-06ND
2016-08-166081533-051.00 pCi/L
2016-08-166081533-04ND
2016-08-166081533-03ND
2016-08-166081533-02ND