"Before treatment, Westport's water tested up to four times state and federal limits. After treatment, it's safe for the children, teachers and staff to drink."
This does not point to a specific limit such as Maxiumum Contanminant Level (MCL) or Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG). MCLG is a non-legally binding limit, which is as it states is a goal. MCLG for urainum contaminants is 0 ug/L. Any measurement of any drinking water will always have more uranium than this limit. The MCL is 30ug/L for uranium.
Additionally, the EPA has changed the way in which they have approached limits, previously they quoted something like the World Health Organization limits , which are average daily consumption limits. Average implies that some measurements could be high or low. WHO estimates natural concentration of uranium in drinking water is 0.08 ug/L (0.001 Bq/L), which is obviously above the EPAs MCLG.
WHO is a much better resource for information on these limits, and the EPA appears to just take their limits and do a divide by ten.
Naturally occurring uranium has a very long half life. Which means it radiates very small amounts in comparison to other radioactive elements like certain isotopses of cesium and iodine. By many orders of magnitude.
You could drink 10x the "safe" levels of uranium your whole life and have no ill effects. Holding a kg rod of pure uranium gives you exposure between normal background and a plane flight.
The outrage you're looking for isn't here. It's not another Flint.
"The health effects associated with oral or dermal exposure to natural and depleted uranium appear to be primarily chemical in nature and not radiological [...] Because natural uranium produces very little radioactivity per mass of uranium, the renal and respiratory effects from exposure of humans and animals to uranium are usually attributed to the chemical properties of uranium. "
It's a very big, very heavy metal. That it may impact kidney function should be no surprise.
It's nothing to do with radiation, it's chemistry. Uranium compounds are nephrotoxic.
Was that a little more constructive?
We even had that story here on HN and yet nobody seems to have learned from it.
Though people think mainly about uranium's radioactivity, the danger in water mainly comes from the toxic chemical effects of the metal.
In which case because of the bioaccumlative properties of heavy metals, drinking 10x the limit as you say may not actually be so harmless. But I don't know what safe limits really are.
Has anyone tested the bottled water? Most of it comes from domestic water supplies anyway. Since uranium doesn't have any impact on taste, I doubt the bottling companies are looking for it.
Also see: Recovery of uranium from seawater using amidoxime hollow fibers
"The fixed‐bed adsorption column, 30 cm in length and charged with the bundle of AO‐H fibers, was found to adsorb uranium from natural seawater at a sufficiently high rate: 0.66 mg uranium per g of adsorbent in 25 days."
That sort of tech could not just clean uranium from water, but at a commercial scale could produce very interesting amounts of uranium relatively quickly.
... uranium also sticks to potatoes, radishes and other root vegetables if they're not properly washed. (While studies have confirmed livestock and people can ingest high levels of uranium by eating contaminated vegetation, scientists have yet to fully research the dangers involved.)
Every time I go out mining for uranium minerals, I wear full PPE. Trying to do chelation for uranium isn't as simple (or as cheap) as say lead, because calcium DTPA can actually allow for easier absorption into the bones. Been there, done that. Not fun.