Most drinking water sources have very low levels of radioactive contaminants ("radionuclides"), most of which are naturally occurring, although contamination of drinking water sources from human-made nuclear materials can also occur. Most radioactive contaminants are at levels that are low enough to not be considered a public health concern.
Alpha emitters are atoms that, in order to become more stable, emit an alpha particle (a helium nucleus). These alpha particles are relatively large and can be emitted by a variety of atomic transitions and can cause damage to molecules in the body including.
Some people who drink water containing alpha emitters in excess of the MCL over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
MCL ADVISORY - ACTION IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Alpha emitters levels were detected in your water sample to exceed the maximum contaminant level (MCL).
ACTION IS OPTIONAL
Alpha emitters levels were detected in your water sample but do not exceed the maximum contaminant level.
- USEPA - Water: Basic Information about Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants - Basic Information about Radionuclides in Drinking Water
- ATSDR - Toxic Substances Portal - Ionizing Radiation
ATSDR ToxFAQs - Ionizing Radiation