How do radiological contaminants end up in your water, and why they’re dangerous

January 24, 2022 3 min read

How do radiological contaminants end up in your water, and why they’re dangerous

The word “radiological” brings to mind cancer, radioactive waste, and wide open deserts where nuclear bombs are tested. Tap water definitely does not come to mind, but perhaps that misconception needs to change. Radiological contaminants are present in water supplies around the United States, but they are often not brought to the public eye, so their health concerns are left unsaid. 

So what are these radiological contaminants?

Radiological contaminants are defined as “undesirable radioactive substances that have entered a water supply.” They occur in nature, often in the earth’s crust as minerals, but they can also be produced in nuclear power plants and medical facilities. These contaminants, including radon, cesium, and uranium, are known to cause harmful effects to the kidney, as well as lead to cancer. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors levels of radiological contaminants found in water supplies, and they found that radiation damages both human tissue and DNA when ingested. Human activity on the earth’s crust, from irrigation to manufacturing, upturns these radioactive particles, which increases the potential for human exposure to their particles. Particles like uranium enter water by leaching from soils and rocks, but processing plants also release these toxins into groundwater. 

The dangers associated with these contaminants, including lung, skin, bone, liver, and thyroid cancer, are often hidden from public attention. For example, in 2015, California’s San Joaquin Valley suffered from the threat of uranium being detected in their drinking water. However, the farmers living on the contaminated land did not have the money to do anything about it, and they “had no choice but [to] keep drinking and cooking with the tainted tap water.” A school nearby invested in filtering their water, and found that the nuclear waste present in their water was bought out by a power plant in Colorado that wanted the waste for nuclear fuel. The same material used for nuclear fuel is being found in tap water across the United States. 

There is hope, however. Despite the terrors associated with radiological contaminants, they can be filtered out of water. Seychelle Radiological filters are independently lab tested to remove depleted uranium, radon, cesium, and other radiological contaminants. With the help of Seychelle, the words “tap water” and “radiological” will never be associated again. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are radiological water contaminants?

Radiological contaminants, or radionuclides, are undesirable radioactive substances that find their way into a water supply. They can be found in nature or produced in nuclear and medical facilities. 

Are radiological contaminants harmful? 

Yes. While different contaminants have different effects on the human body, contaminants like radon and uranium are associated with kidney damage and liver cancer, among other health defects. 

How can I protect myself from consuming radionuclides?

While there is no doubt the chemicals are present in tap water, they can be safely filtered out. Seychelle water filters allow peace of mind knowing that these contaminants can be stopped from being consumed. 

Works Cited

NMCL Employee, “A Look at Radiological Water Contaminants.”Berkey Water, 19 June 2017,  https://www.berkeywater.com/news/a-look-at-radiological-water-contaminants/. Accessed 21 January 2022. 

Scott, Smith. “Uranium contaminates water in Central California.”The Mercury News, 8 December 2015,  https://www.mercurynews.com/2015/12/08/uranium-contaminates-water-in-central-california/. Accessed 21 January 2022. 

“Uranium in Drinking Water.”Water Quality Association, 2022,   https://www.wqa.org/Learn-About-Water/Common-Contaminants/Uranium. Accessed 21 January 2022.

“‘You can get cancer’: Uranium contaminates water in the West.”CBS News, 12 August 2016,  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/uranium-contaminates-drinking-water-in-us-west/.Accessed 21 January 2022.