Almost 2 million people in California and the Midwest live on aquifer sites which have up to 180 times the safe level of uranium, according to a recent study by US researchers.
Some 275,000 groundwater samples were taken for evaluation, and it turns out that many Americans live about a kilometer from wells that are uranium-polluted, scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln discovered.
Seventy-eight percent of the pollution comes from nitrate, the contaminator deriving from chemical fertilizers and animal waste. Nitrates oxidize uranium, making it soluble in groundwater.
— RT (@RT_com) May 10, 2015
The aquifers are under the rich soil layer, which is fertilized by nitrates. That’s when they get to the aquifers.
“It needs to be recognized that uranium is a widespread contaminant. And we are creating this problem by producing a primary contaminant that leads to a secondary one,” co-author Karrie Weber, assistant professor of biological, earth and atmospheric sciences at the UNL, said, as quoted in the official press release.
The concentration in Great Plains (Midwest) measured up to 89 times higher than the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, while California aquifers proved to be even more contaminated, with 180 times the safe amount of uranium found there.
Drinking of uranium-polluted water can lead to kidney damage, elevated blood pressure. Food crops used in nutrition could also become contaminated by accumulating uranium from the groundwater.
— RT (@RT_com) May 14, 2015