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Uranium: Is it in your water?

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Uranium cats eye marble

Uranium cats eye marble (Photo credit: hackerfriendly)

Uranium is a naturally occurring radionuclide occurring in granite and other mineral deposits. Because of this it can enter into local water supplies through leaching from these natural deposits, or via its release from mill tailings, nuclear industry emissions, dissolution in phosphate fertilisers and combustion of coal and other fuels.

Uranium was discovered in 1789, but its radioactive properties were not discovered until 1896.  Before then it was used in pottery and glass pigments. Since then it has been used in research, nuclear power and in Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon used in war when it was dropped in Hiroshima. Because of this, uranium’s radioactive properties are the most prevalent in the common consciousness. But uranium has other properties that can be harmful to human health.

So just what does Uranium do to the human body?

The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality require that uranium content is less than 0.02 mg/L but the dangers linked with exposure to uranium are less related to its radioactive nature. Where the risk is not completely absent, natural uranium has a low level of radioactivity due to its extremely long half-life which is approximately 4.5 billion years and tends to be eliminated from the body relatively quickly.

The dangers related to this substance’s chemical make-up are more immediately hazardous than its radioactive properties in terms of its presence in drinking water. While most uranium is eliminated from the body, some (about 1% of uranium ingested) can remain in the body. Uranium compounds readily combine with proteins and nucleotides and because of this the primary locations for uranium to accumulate is in the kidney and the skeleton and can affect the normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart. In the kidney, nephritis is the main side effect of uranium accumulation. This is an inflammation of the kidney that can cause more serious problems by inhibiting the elimination of waste or causing the secretion of vital nutrients. As the inflammation continues the kidneys excrete needed protein from the body, which can cause life-threatening symptoms. The most serious of these is when the kidneys excrete the proteins that keep blood from clotting. This can result in sudden stroke.

Signs of acute uranium toxicity include piloerection (goosebumps), significant weight loss and hemorrhages in the eyes, legs and nose. Unless there is a nuclear accident then these symptoms are unlikely. Uranium exposure would have to be many times the minimum for it to cause serious problems, but what about water sources not monitored by municipal regulated water facilities?

So how is Uranium Removed from Drinking water?

Water sources are treated for uranium content in most municipal water treatment plants, but some well water sources are not treated. In these cases, reverse osmosis water filtration devices are recommended to remove uranium and other harmful elements that may have leached through the soil and into your well water. Contact us now, or visit our store for more information on how a home water filtration system can eliminate harmful elements from your family’s drinking water.

If you’re at all concerned about uranium in your water, or you simply want to be certain, you should choose an Aquasafe Home Reverse Osmosis System. An Aquasafe Home Reverse Osmosis system will remove all contaminants from water, including hormones and pharmaceuticals, producing guaranteed safe water you can count on every time. And it’s only a few cents per liter! Shop online and save today.

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Starting at $173.80

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