Who had uranium in the water supply on their 2023 bingo card? Well, that’s one thing you can cross off as this radioactive metal seeps into your system. Fluoride and harmful waste products in the water supply are sources of repeated scandals in recent years – and now there’s another unwelcome guest in the water to contend with: uranium. In my practice, a striking number of hair analysis labs have indicated a significant presence of Uranium. Uranium in the water supply is an underreported issue that affects an estimated two-thirds of community water supplies in the US. Although “naturally-occurring” uranium can enter the water supply through drilling the bedrock, there are a number of associated health risks with these elevated uranium levels.
Aside from the present concern of Uranium, US water supplies are rife with other toxic materials that can cause serious health issues. Other minerals such as selenium, barium, chromium, and arsenic concentrations have been found at elevated concentrations within affected communities. Fluoride – another mineral present in the water supply, known for causing calcification among other health issues – has been a controversial topic. Xenoestrogens from pesticide/herbicide runoff from agricultural enterprises, such as glyphosate, atrazine, and chlorpyrifos have caught mainstream attention – even leading to legal action against the worst offenders. Excreted SSRIs and birth control–among a litany of other pharmaceuticals–have also wound up in many water supplies, potentially affecting tens of millions.
As a Tucson-based practitioner, pretty much every person I’ve tested from Tucson shows elevated uranium on a hair mineral test. This is testing for the U-238 isotope, the more “naturally occurring” one, not the nuclear reactor types U-234 and U-235. People from out of state are not showing elevated uranium like my Arizona people are very often, if at all. It was such a noticeable pattern (I love patterns) that I’ve been watching this from very early on.
Where is it coming from? The water supply has become the primary suspect. According to the research [R]:
For some years starting in 1980, the Twin Buttes copper mine in Pima County recovered uranium as a byproduct from leach solutions recovering copper from waste material [R].
Arizona Drinking Water Well Contaminants
In Arizona, the most common source of radioactivity is dissolved uranium and dissolved radon gas.” [radon is related to uranium] [R]
Hexavalent uranium (U(VI)) is an important groundwater contaminant in the state of Arizona. The main sources are from uranium mine tailings, former uranium processing plants and high natural background levels in areas of granite bedrock.
Arizona Department of Water Quality (ADEQ) 2004 report on the Status of Water Quality in Arizona identified uranium and nitrates as two of the six main groundwater constituents of concern to the state of Arizona.
SE Arizona occasionally has elevated levels of uranium associated with granite geology, with the highest levels typically around historic mining areas (e.g. Dos Cabezas).
Tucson’s 2012 water report says uranium is definitely present, but not over the levels deemed to be a problem (we can always trust the gov’t in matters of health, right?) [R]:
Uranium is a metallic element which is highly toxic and radioactive. The highest level for uranium during 2008‑2012 was 23.3 ppb (the MCL is 30 ppb).
What could the uranium be doing to a person, you wonder? [R]
5. What health effects are associated with exposure to radionuclides from drinking water?
Exposure to radionuclides from drinking water results in the increased risk of cancer. The radioactive particles (alpha, beta and gamma particles) emitted by radionuclides are called “ionizing radiation” because they ionize (“destabilize”) nearby atoms as they travel through a cell or other material. In living tissue, this ionization process can damage chromosomes or other parts of the cell. This cellular damage can lead to the death of the cell or to unnatural reproduction of the cell. When a cell reproduces uncontrollably, it becomes a cancer. Certain elements accumulate in specific organs: radium (like calcium) accumulates in the bones and iodine accumulates in the thyroid.
For uranium, we must consider not only the carcinogenic health effects from its radioactive decay and the decay of its daughter products (“radiotoxicity”), but also damage to the kidneys from exposure to the uranium itself (“chemical toxicity”). Exposure to elevated uranium levels in drinking water has been shown to lead to changes in kidney function that are indicators of potential future kidney failure.
“Previous studies have found associations between chronic uranium exposure and increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and lung cancer at high levels of exposure,” said Anne Nigra, PhD, assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “Our objectives were to estimate CWS metal concentrations across the U.S, and identify sociodemographic subgroups served by these systems that either reported high metal concentration estimates or were more likely to report averages exceeding the U.S. EPA’s maximum contaminant level.”
“Additional regulatory policies, compliance enforcement, and improved infrastructure are therefore necessary to reduce disparities in CWS metal concentrations and protect communities served by public water systems with elevated metal concentrations,” said Nigra. “Such interventions and policies should specifically protect the most highly exposed communities to advance environmental justice and protect public health.”
Another issue when approaching the subject of toxins in the water supply is how it is absorbed into the body. Using a reverse osmosis water filter is a start as is fixing your diet to avoid toxins as I illustrate in my free course. But there’s a little more to be done. Whenever you shower, bathe, brush your teeth or clean your dishes, these toxins will be absorbed through your skin. And they can potentially cause a slew of health issues as these toxins accumulate over time without allowing your body the opportunity to cleanse itself.
After all that…here’s what I can tell you. The lab I use states that with proper mineral balancing treatment, the elevated levels will go down. This is exactly what I have seen in my practice. I’ve seen my own levels come down by 50%, with no specific “detox/chelation” process whatsoever. Some hair analysis labs don’t test for uranium…I think that is a damn shame.