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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 May 15;43(10):3941-6.

Uranium speciation in drinking water from drilled wells in southern Finland and its potential links to health effects.

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French Atomic Energy Commission.


Exceptionally high concentrations of natural uranium have been found in drinking water originating from drilled wells in Southern Finland. However, no clear clinical symptoms have been observed among the exposed population. Hence a question arose as to whether uranium speciation could be one reason for the lack of significant adverse health effects. Uranium species were determined using time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. We performed multi-element chemical analyses in these water samples, and predictive calculations were carried out using up-to-date thermodynamic data. The results indicated good agreement between measurements and modeling. The low toxicity of Finnish bedrockwater may be due to the predominance of two calcium-dependent species, Ca2UO2(CO3)3(aq) and CaUO2(CO3)3(2-), whose nontoxicity for cells has been described previously. This interdisciplinary study describes chemical speciation of drinking water with elevated uranium concentrations and the potential consequence on health. From these results, it appears that modeling could be used for a better understanding of uranium toxicity of drinking water in the event of contamination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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