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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Radium, combined (-226 & -228)

City of Surprise - Mountain Vista

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.

 

93

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

21

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND160ND
20130.23 pCi/L164ND - 1.50 pCi/L
20140.13 pCi/L163ND - 0.90 pCi/L
20150.32 pCi/L135ND - 1.20 pCi/L
20160.04 pCi/L161ND - 0.70 pCi/L
20170.58 pCi/L168ND - 2.10 pCi/L

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
2012-01-26RSE43439ND
2012-01-26RSE43438ND
2012-01-26RSE43437ND
2012-01-26RSE43436ND
2012-04-25RSE44010ND
2012-04-25RSE44009ND
2012-04-25RSE44008ND
2012-04-25RSE44001ND
2012-08-15RSE44755ND
2012-08-15RSE44756ND
2012-08-15RSE44757ND
2012-09-04RSE44905ND
2012-11-14RSE45299ND
2012-11-14RSE45298ND
2012-11-14RSE45297ND
2012-11-14RSE45296ND
2013-01-23RSE45622ND
2013-01-23RSE45621ND
2013-01-23RSE45620ND
2013-01-23RSE45619ND
2013-04-24RSE46305ND
2013-04-24RSE46303ND
2013-04-24RSE46306ND
2013-04-24RSE46307ND
2013-07-16RSE46871ND
2013-07-16RSE46870ND
2013-07-16RSE46869ND
2013-07-16RSE46868ND
2013-10-17RSE476470.60 pCi/L
2013-10-17RSE476460.80 pCi/L
2013-10-17RSE476450.70 pCi/L
2013-10-17RSE476441.50 pCi/L
2014-01-22RSE48302ND
2014-01-22RSE482990.90 pCi/L
2014-01-22RSE48300ND
2014-01-22RSE48301ND
2014-04-22RSE49066ND
2014-04-22RSE490650.50 pCi/L
2014-04-22RSE490620.60 pCi/L
2014-04-22RSE49061ND
2014-07-30RSE49819ND
2014-07-30RSE49818ND
2014-07-30RSE49816ND
2014-07-30RSE49815ND
2014-10-28RSE50444ND
2014-10-28RSE50445ND
2014-10-28RSE50443ND
2014-10-29RSE50449ND
2015-01-21RSE51036ND
2015-01-21RSE510350.70 pCi/L
2015-04-20RSE51646ND
2015-04-20RSE516450.90 pCi/L
2015-04-20RSE51644ND
2015-04-20RSE51643ND
2015-07-28RSE52386ND
2015-07-28RSE52385ND
2015-07-29RSE52405ND
2015-07-29RSE524040.60 pCi/L
2015-10-125101379-01R1.20 pCi/L
2015-10-125101369-01R0.70 pCi/L
2015-10-125101373-01RND
2016-01-256012035-04ND
2016-01-256012035-030.70 pCi/L
2016-01-256012035-02ND
2016-01-256012035-01ND
2016-04-266042227-01RND
2016-04-266042226-01RND
2016-04-266042223-01RND
2016-04-266042222-01RND
2016-07-266072329-01RND
2016-07-266072321-01ND
2016-07-266072323-01RND
2016-07-266072325-01RND
2016-10-246102137-01RND
2016-10-246102135-01RADND
2016-10-246102133-01ND
2016-10-246102131-01RND
2017-01-307012591-01R2.10 pCi/L
2017-01-307012591-021.00 pCi/L
2017-01-307012591-03ND
2017-01-307012591-042.10 pCi/L
2017-04-207041996-01RADND
2017-04-207041995-01RAD0.40 pCi/L
2017-04-207041987-01RAD1.50 pCi/L
2017-04-247042213-01RADND
2017-07-197071806-01RADND
2017-07-197071805-01RADND
2017-07-197071804-01RADND
2017-07-197071802-01RAD0.70 pCi/L
2017-10-117101207-02RAD0.50 pCi/L
2017-10-117101207-03RADND
2017-10-117101207-04RAD0.90 pCi/L
2017-10-117101207-01RADND