Why it might be a good idea to test your water with a Geiger Counter
A report published by the Environmental Working Group earlier this year stated that more than 170 million Americans consume drinking water on a daily basis that “contains radioactive elements at levels that may increase the risk of cancer”.
Should you test your water with a Geiger Counter from now on?
The initial data that the EWG has based their statement on are 30 million state water records aggregated and analyzed from 48,712 public water utilities all across the U.S. For the water records, a total of 500 different contaminants were tested. 267 were found with more than 10 different radioactive elements among them, such as radon, radium, strontium-90 and uranium.
The state with the highest number of people served with water containing radon was California, by the way. 9,537,779 citizens supplied by 111 different utilities got the chance to enjoy tap water with that certain something between the years 2010 and 2015. The Golden State is also the front runner when it comes to optimum daily uranium intake. While a total of 32,504,268 Californians had absolutely no reason to worry about a shortage, more than 29 million of them received water with uranium concentrations above health guidelines. As far as strontium-90 is concerned, again California made the race with the metal having been served to more than 4 million people.
Health risks posed by radioactivity in drinking water
In all seriousness, the health risks posed by radioactive elements in drinking water should not be underestimated. While measuring adverse health effects with absolute certainty is difficult, it’s quite possible that radium concentration, for example, reaches concentrations in water that results in an increased risk of bone cancer to those exposed.
And other elements like Strontium-90 should also not be taken lightly. Stored in bones it can cause bone cancer and leukemia. Uranium has been linked to causing kidney damage. Radon as a gas is primarily absorbed via inhalation and thus can increase the risk of lung cancer.
What to do
The best way to protect yourself from ionizing radiation is to first find out if and which radioactive elements are present in your water. Then you should buy a filtration system if need be. Activated charcoal filters made from coconut shell are affordable and widely available and seem to do the trick in most cases. If you also want to be able to enjoy radioactive-free showers, you won’t get around purchasing a bigger system that cleans all the water entering your home. Such a whole house filter system is usually more expensive and might require professional installation, but you will also sleep better at night knowing that your municipal water is 100 percent free from radioactivity.
Which brings us back to our opening question: Should you test your water with a Geiger Counter from now on? The answer is no. Such an analysis would be much too inaccurate to draw any valid conclusions.