Use a water softener, carbon filter, reverse osmosis system, and boil the water in a way that blows the radioactive steam out of your environment.
By Jeff McMahon
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends reverse osmosis water treatment to remove radioactive isotopes that emit beta-particle radiation. But iodine-131, a beta emitter, is typically present in water as a dissolved gas, and reverse osmosis is known to be ineffective at capturing gases.
A combination of technologies, however, may remove most or all of the iodine-131 that finds its way into tap water, all available in consumer products for home water treatment.
First, the standard disclaimers: Every government agency involved in radiation monitoring—the EPA, FDA, USDA, NRC, CDC, etc.—has stressed that the radiation now reaching the United States has been found at levels thousands of times lower than standards of health concern. When it found iodine-131 in drinking water samples from Boise, Idaho and Richland, Washington this weekend, the EPA declared:
An infant would have to drink almost 7,000 liters of this water to receive a radiation dose equivalent to a day’s worth of the natural background radiation exposure we experience continuously from natural sources of radioactivity in our environment.”
But not everyone accepts the government’s reassurances. Notably, Physicians for Social Responsibility has insisted there is no safe level of exposure to radionuclides, regardless of the fact that we encounter them naturally:
There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period,” said Jeff Patterson, DO, immediate past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Exposure to radionuclides, such as iodine-131 and cesium-137, increases the incidence of cancer. For this reason, every effort must be taken to minimize the radionuclide content in food and water.”
No matter where you stand on that debate, you might be someone who simply prefers not to ingest anything that escaped from a damaged nuclear reactor. If so, here’s what we know:
The EPA recommends reverse osmosis water treatment for most kinds of radioactive particles. Iodine-131 emits a small amount of gamma radiation but much larger amounts of beta radiation, and so is considered a beta emitter:
Reverse osmosis has been identified by EPA as a “best available technology” (BAT) and Small System Compliance Technology (SSCT) for uranium, radium, gross alpha, and beta particles and photon emitters. It can remove up to 99 percent of these radionuclides, as well as many other contaminants (e.g., arsenic, nitrate, and microbial contaminants). Reverse osmosis units can be automated and compact making them appropriate for small systems.
However, EPA designed its recommendations for the contaminants typically found in municipal water systems, so it doesn’t specify Iodine-131 by name. The same document goes on to say, “Reverse osmosis does not remove gaseous contaminants such as carbon dioxide and radon.”
Iodine-131 escapes from damaged nuclear plants as a gas, and this is why it disperses so quickly through the atmosphere. It is captured as a gas in atmospheric water, falls to the earth in rain and enters the water supply.
Read full post at Forbes