Uranium
EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Radionuclides
EPA Levels 1,2 zero MCLG (mg/L)
30 ug/L as of 12/08/03 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names none
Sources Erosion of natural deposits
Naturally occurring radioactive element whose principal isotopes are Uranium-238 and Uranium-235. Natural uranium is a hard silvery-white shiny metallic ore that contains a minute amount of Uranium-234.

Overview

Naturally occurring radioactive element whose principal isotopes are Uranium-238 and Uranium-235. Natural uranium is a hard silvery-white shiny metallic ore that contains a minute amount of Uranium-234.

Uses

Uranium metal is very dense and heavy. When it is depleted (DU), uranium is used by the military as shielding to protect Army tanks, and also in parts of bullets and missiles. The military also uses enriched uranium to power nuclear propelled Navy ships and submarines, and in nuclear weapons. Fuel used for Naval reactors is typically highly enriched in U-235 (the exact values are classified information). In nuclear weapons uranium is also highly enriched, usually over 90% (again, the exact values are classified information).

Health Effects

Intakes of uranium exceeding EPA standards can lead to increased cancer risk, liver damage, or both. Long term chronic intakes of uranium isotopes in food, water, or air can lead to internal irradiation and/or chemical toxicity.

EPA Data Source: Uranium

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.