Can Water Filters Remove Radium?

Radium naturally occurs in drinking water and can be contaminated by human-made sources like medical and industrial waste, mining operations, and nuclear facilities.

Radium is toxic and can cause cancer and other diseases. 5 picocuries/L is the EPA’s radium contaminant limit.

Short Answer

Yes, water filters can remove radium from drinking water. Reverse osmosis, distillation, ion exchange, lime softening, GAC media, and water softening remove radium from water. Reverse osmosis removes 95-98% of radium from water. Sodium ions in ion exchange systems can remove up to 90% of radium from water. Lime softening, GAC media, and distillation remove 70% of radium from drinking water.

Seychelles Radiological Radiation, Berkey, and Aquagear pitchers remove radium from water. Brita filters only reduce water radium by 10–45%, so they cannot completely remove it. Reverse osmosis or ion exchange systems remove radium from drinking water best.

As a water filter technician, I’ve seen many customers worried about radium in their water. One customer was concerned about the high radium level in their well water, harming their family. I suggested a reverse osmosis system to remove radium after testing the water. The customer was pleased because the system removed almost all radium in their drinking water.

Reverse osmosis, distillation, ion exchange, lime softening, and GAC media can remove radium from drinking water. Radium must be removed from drinking water with the right water filter system. The most effective method for removing radium from drinking water is to install a reverse osmosis or ion exchange system, which can also significantly improve water quality for a healthier lifestyle.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) uses water pressure to push tap water through a semi-permeable membrane that filters out dissolved inorganics, unwanted molecules, and larger particles. City and well water can be cleaned of radium and lead by RO.

Most reverse osmosis systems use activated carbon (AC) filtration to remove chlorine, pesticides, organic solvents, and volatile organic chemicals like radon. Sediment filters also remove silt particles that can clog the RO membrane.

In some reverse osmosis systems, radium and other radioactive compounds, including Cesium-137, are removed by ion exchange. Resins replace contaminants’ ions with similar ones. (usually sodium). Unfortunately, this treatment method may not suit all drinking water supplies, so you must choose a system that meets your household’s needs.

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange (IE) water treatment removes contaminants like fluoride, chlorine, radium, and strontium. To do this, IE uses a tiny particle called an ion exchange resin with special ions that bind to water molecules.

Water ions are exchanged for less harmful ions with the same charge but no negative reactions in ion exchange. Resin made from aluminosilicate minerals or organic polymers can accomplish this.

This process removes hardness ions from water as well as radium ions. However, EPA materials warn that high levels of magnesium and iron in source waters may clog the resin media, preventing radium removal.

In conclusion, radium can be removed from water using any method. Still, it’s important to choose one that doesn’t exceed MCLs. (Minimum Critical Levels). This ensures a plant can safely dispose of its waste and continue to provide clean drinking water.

Chemical Precipitation

If radium is in an insoluble solution, water filters can remove it. Precipitation occurs when an ion from the solution is added to a reagent that dissolves it, forming an insoluble compound with all dissolved ions.

This ion must be soluble to precipitate since it is usually salt. Since some ions are more soluble, knowing which will precipitate from is important.

Sulphate is less soluble than barite, so it can co-precipitate 226Ra from produced water. Since barite reacts with other ions to form toxic compounds, initial experiments should start with lower Ba2+ concentrations.


Radium naturally occurs in groundwater. It decays to radium-226 and radium-228, releasing alpha particles that can damage human tissues.

Radiation can be removed from water using reverse osmosis or ion exchange. Both processes lower radioactivity.

Reverse osmosis (RO) is the first membrane-purifying method for drinking water. RO can remove uranium from the solution.

Cation exchange softening can also lower radium levels in drinking water. An ion exchange system will replace radium in your solution with sodium because sodium attracts minerals.

Test your water for radium levels in a lab. Make sure the test you choose meets your needs.