Germany wants limits for uranium levels in drinking water

The German Health Ministry is reportedly preparing to establish maximum levels for uranium in drinking water after a study found the radioactive material in water supplies throughout the country.

Germany wants limits for uranium levels in drinking water
Photo: DPA

“Discussions about overhauling drinking water regulations continue, but if there will be a limit and where that would be is still being negotiated,” a spokeswoman for the ministry told Mitteldeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday.

The Halle-based daily reported that there is resistance to the Health Ministry proposal in other unnamed federal ministries and state authorities.

Consumer protection group Foodwatch recently reported that the water supplies in several German regions contained high levels of uranium, which is naturally radioactive and is used for both nuclear power and weapons.

However, in contrast to dangerous heavy metals, such as lead, there are no government limits for amounts of uranium in German drinking water. Foodwatch said a recent survey of 8,200 water samples showed 950 cases of water containing more than two microgrammes of uranium per litre. Around 150 of the samples had more than the Germany’s Environmental Protection Agency (UBA) recommended limit of 10 microgrammes per litre.

Foodwatch said the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg had the highest readings of uranium, which can cause cancer in higher concentrations.