Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've taken over this one!

Hey everyone!

I decided to make John a new blog so be sure to check his out at: http://theedgewithjohn.blogspot.com/

I'll be using this one for my own personal rants!

Did anyone in the Bigfork Water District receive a letter recently about "Levels of Gross Alpha Above Drinking Water Standards"? If you didn't (ie: your children are in the school district, you work in Bigfork, etc) you should know that a drinking water standard was violated.

Per the letter that requested the information be shared:

"Water sample results received during past quarters of 2008 and 2009 have resulted in the running annual average for Gross Alpha of 18 pCi/L. This is above the total Gross Alpha standard or maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 15 pCi/L.

"This is not an immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. However, some people who drink water containing Gross Alpha in excess of the MCL over many years may have increased risk of getting cancer and kidney toxicity."

The letter goes on to say that you don't need to use alternative drinking water but call your doctor if you are concerned. Gross Alpha was detected in one of the wells in the system but there's minimal levels of it in the main water source.

Okay....that sounds fine and dandy...but what is Gross Alpha?

From the Vermont Department of Health's website:

How would I know if drinking water contains alpha radiation?


Community public wells are tested for mineral alpha radioactivity by using a test called “gross alpha activity.” If the gross alpha results are above public drinking water standards, the water system is notified and a plan is developed to reduce levels. Private well owners can purchase a kit to have their water tested for gross alpha activity. Kits for measuring radon in drinking water are also available.

Why is alpha radiation in drinking water supplies?

Alpha radiation normally exists everywhere: in the soil, in the air, and also in water. Because the earth’s bedrock contains varying amounts of radioactive elements, the amount of alpha radiation in water also varies. As the radioactive elements decay, alpha radiation continues to be released into groundwater. Groundwater is a common source of drinking water. The alpha radiation in drinking water can be in the form of dissolved minerals, or in the case of radon, as a gas.

What are the health concerns associated with alpha radiation?

There are no immediate health risks or symptoms from drinking water that contains alpha radiation. However, it may cause health problems over time. Because alpha radiation loses energy rapidly, it doesn’t pass through skin. It is not a hazard outside of the body. However, if an individual eats or drinks something containing alpha radiation or breathes it in, the radiation can be harmful. Over a long period of time, and at elevated levels, radium increases one’s risk of bone cancer and uranium increases one’s risk of kidney damage.

Well water that contains elevated levels of radioactive minerals sometimes increases the level of radon in the air inside a home. Actions like taking showers, doing laundry or running a dishwasher can release the radon into the air inside your home. Breathing air with elevated levels of radon over a lifetime increases a person‘s risk of getting lung cancer.

More information here: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/alpha.aspx


So basically, Radium, Uranium or Radon was found to be at elevated levels in our drinking water by the Department of Environmental Quality. Besides those on the Bigfork Water Supply, how many other private wells in our area have water that is not within "safe guidelines?" Be sure to ask your friends if they have had their water tested recently. Get yours tested! Call Montana Pure Water, I'm sure they'll treat you right! They say this is only damaging if you ingest this over years...but a lot of people have lived here for years!

Do a body cleanse! Get a water filter! Do what you can to stay healthy because there are many many toxins attacking your body and health every day :) Grab a radiation cleanse from Tom at Swan Valley Herbs in Bigfork!

Thankfully the Bigfork Water & Sewer district chose to turn off the affected well while they explore their options!

Here's to learning something new everyday!
~Elizabeth

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