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Get Informed | Strontium

What is Strontium?

Strontium is a silvery alkaline earth metal that in some ways biochemically acts similar to calcium and magnesium. Strontium in nature is present as a non-radioactive mineral in the soil, dust, and crust of the earth, but man-made strontium (Sr–90) is radioactive and is typically associated with nuclear energy, nuclear waste, nuclear weapons, or nuclear weapons testing. Non-radioactive strontium is used in glass, ceramics, paint pigments, medicines, and pyrotechnics (red color). Strontium has been associated with air-borne contamination from milling processes, coal burning and phosphate fertilizers. Strontium can be found naturally in groundwater and surface water and is often a small percentage of the total water hardness. Strontium can also be found in brine water, production brines, saline water, and flowback water at concentrations over 7000 mg/L.

How Does Strontium Become a problem?

Strontium can replace calcium and magnesium in bone and may affect the growth and strength of the bone. Because of this, children or infants exposed to strontium may experience detrimental bone growth and teeth. Strontium-90 has been linked to bone cancers and leukemia.

What are the Health Risks for Strontium?

Infants or young children can develop strontium rickets, deformities of the long bones of the legs, such as bow-leg and knock-knee. "A study conducted in Turkey found higher rates of one or more signs of rickets, including thinning of the cranium, delayed closure of the fontanelles (i.e., natural soft spots on the brain of infants do not close), bead-like growths at the ends of the ribs, conspicuous thickening of the wrists, and leg deformities in children who lived in a village with high levels of strontium in the soil. (Source).

What are the Standards for Strontium?

The EPA has a non-cancer drinking-water-based health reference level (HRL) for strontium of 1.5 mg/l and has set a lifetime health advisory of 4 mg/L for strontium levels in drinking water or water used to prepare food, beverages, or infant formula. Direct skin contact with water containing strontium does not create a safety issue or concern. The EPA has set a public drinking water limit of 8 pCi/L for the radioactive form of Strontium. The radioactive role of strontium-90 would be identified during a testing of the water for beta particles, i.e., man-made radioactive particles.  A few states have also adopted the drinking water strontium standard of 4 mg/L.

The EPA has set the only other guidelines:

One-Day HAL: The level at which a child, drinking 1 liter of water in the course of one day, would not be expected to have any health problems related to strontium is 25 mg/L.

Ten-Day HAL: The level at which a child, drinking 1 liter of water per day for ten days, would not be expected to have any health problems related to strontium is also 25 mg/L.

Get Tested | Strontium

Like most contaminants, strontium provides virtually no signs or warnings of a problem in drinking water. There is no odor or taste associated with this contaminant, but it is commonly associated with salts that create a "salty" taste and it can be associated with "hard" or saline water. Like most contaminants, strontium provides virtually no signs or warnings of a problem in drinking water. There is no odor or taste associated with this contaminant, but it is commonly associated with: salts that create a "salty" taste, products containing strontium, a fertilizer plant, coal mine, coal ash pits, nuclear testing sites, or a disposal site; you may want to have the water tested for strontium.

Level 1 | Observational Self-Testing

Level 1 Testing is done with simple observations that an individual can make with their own senses such as sight, smell, and taste. These observations can be readily apparent or can be observed as they change over time. In addition, accessible related information about the home can also be used to narrow down the cause of your water issues.

Notes on Level 1 Testing for Strontium

As was previously mentioned, there is really no self diagnostic test to say you potentially have a strontium problem with your water. You need to get your water tested to detect it and we recommend that you get a Neighborhood Environmental Report.

Observations for Strontium

You may have an issue with strontium in your water if the water is very hard and has a salty taste.

Level 1 | Self-Test Web App
To do a quick and easy self diagnosis of your water, click the button below.
Launch

Level 2 | Do-It-Yourself Testing

Level 2 Testing is Do-It-Yourself testing that can be done in your own home using a Testing Kit. After you’ve done Level 1 Testing, Level 2 Testing can confirm if your observations are correct. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment (see below) or continue to Level 3 Testing.

Notes on Level 2 Testing for Strontium

At this time, we are not aware of a low-cost water quality test kit or meter designed to check the strontium level of your drinking water. There are a number of strontium testing kits, i.e., SALIFERT STRONTIUM, for the "aquarium" hobbyist that you may find useful, but if this is really a concern we would recommend, at minimum, a comprehensive information water quality test that includes strontium.  If the strontium level is over 4 mg/L, we recommend radiological testing.

Recommended Level 2 Tests
National Testing LabsWater Check Deluxe

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View
Crystal QuestCountertop Water Filter With Three Cartridges

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View
Filter WaterBrondell Cypress Countertop Water Filtration System (Code A27AC)

<div class="product-note in-L6-mtbe-methyl-tert-butyl-ether">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-toluene">Note: If the concentration is less than 0.8 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestWater Softeners & Salt Free Water Conditioners

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View
Crystal QuestThunder 2000M Reverse Osmosis System with Ultrafiltration

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
Recommended Products
National Testing LabsL3-NATE-W-2 | WaterCheck Deluxe

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View
Crystal QuestST-CRYS-D-02 | Countertop Water Filter With Three Cartridges

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View
Filter WaterST-FILT-B-01 | Brondell Cypress Countertop Water Filtration System

<div class="product-note in-L6-mtbe-methyl-tert-butyl-ether">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-toluene">Note: If the concentration is less than 0.8 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestLT-CRYS-W-03 | Water Softeners & Salt-Free Water Conditioners

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View
Crystal QuestLT-CRYS-T-02 | Thunder 2000M Reverse Osmosis System with Ultrafiltration

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View

Level 3 | Informational Testing

Level 3 Testing is done through an accredited Water Testing Laboratory. With Level 3 Testing, you can order a testing kit that is used to prepare your sample and submit it to the lab. By utilizing a lab, you have the assurance that a certified water expert had analyzed your water sample. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment options (see below) or continue to Level 4 Testing - Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 3 Testing for Strontium

Most comprehensive informational water testing kits include testing for strontium, but if you are also concerned about man-made radioactive compounds we would recommend testing for Beta Particles. Since the most common means of controlling strontium is through the use of a conventional water softener or a cation exchange water treatment system, it is necessary to also document the Total Hardness of the water, Alkalinity, and the major cations and anions that are contained in your drinking water. If the strontium level is over 4 mg/L, we recommend radiological testing in addition to the comprehensive chemical analysis.

Recommended Level 3 Tests
National Testing LabsWater Check Deluxe

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View
Crystal QuestCountertop Water Filter With Three Cartridges

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View
Filter WaterBrondell Cypress Countertop Water Filtration System (Code A27AC)

<div class="product-note in-L6-mtbe-methyl-tert-butyl-ether">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-toluene">Note: If the concentration is less than 0.8 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestWater Softeners & Salt Free Water Conditioners

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View
Crystal QuestThunder 2000M Reverse Osmosis System with Ultrafiltration

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View

Level 4 | Certified Testing

A Level 4 Certified Test Test uses chain-of-custody with a water professional coming to your home to prepare the water sample and then works with an accredited laboratory in order to certify your test results. This type of testing not only gives you the highest level of assurance in the accuracy of your test results, but can also be used as a document in legal cases. For Baseline Testing, we recommend that you use Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 4 Testing for Strontium

Prior to certified testing, it is advisable to understand the source of the strontium and the relative concentration of related contaminants.  For this reason, we recommend an informational water test and a Neighborhood Environmental Report.

Get Treatment | Strontium

Pretreatment may be needed in some cases to ensure acceptable treatment by the primary water treatment system. In some cases a combination of water treatment systems may be needed to address the primary and secondary water quality concerns and issues. The most common treatment system for strontium is a whole-house "cation exchange system" or water softener, but in some cases it is necessary to pre-treat the water to remove sediment or microbiological agents or to post-treat the water because of concerns related to Corrosion.

Short-Term Treatment

In the short-term, we recommend using a point-of-use filtration system that will remove strontium from your drinking and cooking water or that you use a bottled water source that does not contain elevated levels of strontium. Assuming there are no other contaminants present in the water, it should be safe to use the water for bathing and showering. Do not boil the water - this could increase the strontium concentration.

Recommended Short-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-mtbe-methyl-tert-butyl-ether">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-toluene">Note: If the concentration is less than 0.8 mg/L</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

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Long-Term Treatment

For most residential and small commercial applications, the most common water treatment system is a "conventional water softener", cation exchange resin, or zeolite-based resins that will remove strontium and similar elements and, in some cases, a final Reverse Osmosis unit. (Source)  If additional radiological testing is needed, we recommend the Tap Score Testing Kit.

Recommended Long-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-mtbe-methyl-tert-butyl-ether">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-toluene">Note: If the concentration is less than 0.8 mg/L</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

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Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

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