Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety reports that late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quietly released draft guidance to be used following a radiation contamination incident that would allow radioactivity in drinking water at concentrations vastly greater than allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Under the proposed Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for drinking water, no actions to protect the public would be taken even if the radioactivity in drinking water were dozens or thousands or millions of times higher than Safe Drinking Water Act levels. The PAGs would allow radiation exposures from drinking water that are equivalent to 250 chest x-rays a year, or five x-rays a week for 50 weeks a year for up to four years.
For example, the current limit for radioactive iodine-131 in drinking water is 3 picoCuries per liter of water. The proposed guidance allows 10,350 picoCuries per liter of water, which is 3,450 times higher. Further, the current drinking water limit for radioactive strontium-90, which causes leukemia, is 8 picoCuries per liter of water. The proposed guidance allows 7,400 picoCuries per liter of water, a 925-fold increase.