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Strontium is a naturally occurring element found in air, rocks, soil, dust, coal, oil, and drinking water. Strontium has 16 known isotopes.  Naturally occurring strontium in ground water is not radioactive and is either referred to as stable strontium or strontium.  These strontium compounds are used in making ceramics and glass products, pyrotechnics, paint pigments, fluorescent lights, and medicines.  Other isotopes are radioactive and can be found in nuclear reactors, and are used in industry and medicine.

What are the Standards?

There are no federal standards for strontium; however, the USEPA has set three health advisories for strontium.

  1. Lifetime Health Advisory Level (Lifetime HAL) – 4 mg/L
  2. One-day Health Advisory Level (One-Day HAL) – 25 mg/L
  3. Ten-day Health Advisory Level (10-Day HAL) – 25 mg/L  

These are not regulatory levels or legally enforceable standards.

What are the Health Effects?

Ingestion of small amounts of strontium is not harmful.  

Excessive strontium intakes can alter bone mineralization, such as inhibiting the incorporation of calcium or replacing calcium, and cause bone deformities.  Ingestion of large amounts of strontium, coupled with a calcium poor diet during infancy and childhood can develop into a "strontium rickets."  Strontium-90 taken up by bone attacks bone marrow and soft tissues developing into anemia and leukemia.  Naturally occuring strontium is not a human carcinogen, whereas radioactive Strontrium-90 is.

What are the Treatment Options?

Effective treatment technologies include:

  • reverse osmosis, and
  • cation-exchange water softener system.

Additional Resources

Page reviewed: 05/29/2018