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Radium in Middle East water

2nd March 2009

A recent study has raised concerns about the safety of drinking water throughout the Middle East.


The analysis of dozens of ancient wells in central Jordan has shown them to be contaminated with high levels of radiation.

Researchers say that the radiation in the wells is about 20 times the level considered safe for drinking.

Researchers also said water contamination from naturally occurring radium could affect people in Egypt, Libya, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

With increases in population across the board, countries in the Middle East are tapping their underground reservoirs of water.

The water in Jordanian wells was singled out by officials for its low salt content as drinkable and plentiful.

However, tests by the Duke University research team showed the water to be full of naturally occurring radium particles.

Avner Vengosh and colleagues took samples from 37 wells in the Disi aquifer. Vengosh said that the water is not something people would want to drink.

The finding comes in the wake of a massive undertaking to pump drinking water from the Disi aquifer, along Jordan's southern border, toward Amman, the capital of the country.

Vengosh said that several studies have shown levels of radium in drinking water to be associated with high levels of bone cancer, and others have associated it with leukaemia.

The country's main river, the Yarmouk, is too small to totally satisfy its annual water use, and over-pumping is increasing the salination of other sources.

The finding has broad implications for other Middle Eastern countries that rely on ancient underground aquifers for potable water.

The researchers said that highly radioactive groundwater may also exist in these basins, posing health risks for large populations.

Libya is making heavy use of one such water source, and Israel is another for farming purposes.

But in Jordan, there is no official monitoring of water radioactivity. Vengosh said that a huge level of unawareness exists among these populations.


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Tuesday 14th April 2009 @ 16:28

I am sure that they are right with their study not as the Jordanian government said.

If you have a look about the increasing percentage per year for cancer only in Jordan, then you will say that there is something wrong with water or food because most of the cancer cases are in the stomach and what’s belong for.

I hope that once the human will be with value in the Middle East?????????????

Nally mueck

Tuesday 14th April 2009 @ 16:30

do you think this will happen?

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