Human health risk assessment of uranium in drinking water sampled from drilled wells located in rural areas of the Lower Silesian region (Poland) / Ocena ryzyka zdrowotnego związanego z obecnością uranu w wodzie przeznaczonej do spożycia pobieranej z wierconych studni zlokalizowanych na obszarach wiejskich Dolnego Śląska (Polska)

Open access


Uranium concentrations in groundwater taken from private drilled wells have been never determined in Poland, implying a lack of available data to quantify the human exposure to U through drinking water consumption, especially in rural areas influenced by mining activities. The main aim of the study was the assessment of human health risk related to the consumption of well waters containing U, collected from selected rural areas of the Lower Silesian region (Poland). The random daytime (RDT) sampling method was applied to the collection of well waters from three control study areas (CSA): Mniszków (CSA-A), Stara Kamienica/M. Kamienica/Kopaniec (CSA-B) and Kletno (CSA-C). The analyses of RDT samples were performed by validated method based on inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Uranium concentration ranges in well waters and the estimated geometric means for individual control study areas were: 0.005-1.03 μg/L and 0.052 μg/L (CSA-A), 0.027-10.6 μg/L and 0.40 μg/L (CSA-B), and 0.006-27.1 μg/L and 0.38 μg/L (CSA-C). The average and individual chronic daily intakes (CDI) of U by drinking water pathway (adults/children) were in the ranges of: 0.0017-0.013/0.0052-0.040 μg · kg-1 · day-1 and 0.0002-0.90/0.0005-2.71 μg · kg-1 · day-1. The average %TDI and ranges of individual %TDI (adults/children) were: 0.17%/0.52% and 0.02-3.4%/0.05-10.3% (CSA-A), 1.3%/4.0% and 0.09-35%/0.27-106% (CSA-B), and 1.3%/3.8% and 0.02-90%/0.06-271% (CSA-C). The estimated average CDI values of U through well water are significantly lower than the TDI (1 μg · kg-1 · day-1), while for individual CDI values the contribution to the TDI can reach even 90% (adults) and 271% (children), indicating essential human health risk for children consuming well water from private drilled wells located in CSA-B and CSA-C (5.3% of total number of samples collected).

[1] Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Verordnung über die Qualität von Wasser für den menschlichen Gebrauch (Trinkwasserverordnung - TrinkwV 2001). ( (2013.07.03)).

[2] Cardew, P.T. (2003). A method for assessing the effect of water quality changes on plumbosolvency using random daytime sampling, Water Research, 37, pp. 2821-2832.

[3] European Community (1998). Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3rd November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption, Official Journal of the European Communities, L330, pp. 32-54.

[4] European Food Safety Authority (2009). Uranium in foodstuffs, in particular mineral water. Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain, The EFSA Journal, 1018, pp. 1-59.

[5] Garboś, S. & Święcicka, D. (2012a). QC/QA scheme applied for monitoring of metals concentrations in water intended for human consumption sampled from the area of Warsaw performed by ICP-MS and ICP-OES techniques. In P. Bhattacharya, I. Rosborg, A. Sandhi, C. Hayes, M.J. Benoliel (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of COST Action 637: Metals and related Substances in Drinking Water (METEAU) (pp. 20-32), Oct 13-15 2010, Kristianstad, Sweden. IWA Publishing, London 2012.

[6] Garboś, S. & Święcicka, D. (2012b). Silver migration from silver-modified activated carbon applied as a water filtration medium in classic cartridges of jug filter systems, Food Additives and Contaminants Part A, 29(11), pp. 1810-1819.

[7] Harper, R.M. & Kantar, C. (2008). Uranium. In S.E. Jorgensen & B.D. Fath (Eds.), Ecotoxicology (pp. 3662-3665). Elsevier B.V., Oxford 2008.

[8] Hartsch, J., Waage, S., Grabas, K. & Koszela, J. (2007). Final Report. Overcome of negative consequences of mining activity - handling with radioactive contaminants in the region of Jelenia Góra situated in south-western Poland. Project No. FKZ 380 01 140 (in Polish). BMU/UBA, Halsbrücke 2007.

[9] Hayes, C.R. & Croft, T.N. (2012). An investigation into the representativeness of random daytime sampling for lead in drinking water, using computational modeling, Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology - AQUA, 61(3), pp. 142-152.

[10] Katsoyiannis, I.A., Hug, S.J., Ammann, A., Zikoudi, A. & Hatziliontos, C. (2007). Arsenic specification and uranium concentrations in drinking water supply wells in Northern Greece: Correlations with redox indicative parameters and implications for groundwater treatment, Science of The Total Environment, 383, pp. 128-140.

[11] Kurttio, P., Auvinen, A., Salonen, L., Saha, H., Pekkanen, J. & Makelainen, I. et al. (2002). Renal effects of uranium in drinking water, Environmental Health Perspectives, 110, pp. 337-342.

[12] Kurttio, P., Komulainen, H., Leino, A., Salonen, L., Auvinen, A. & Saha, H. (2005). Bone as a possible target of chemical toxicity of natural uranium in drinking water, Environmental Health Perspectives, 113, pp. 68-72.

[13] PN-EN ISO 5667-3:2005 Water quality - Sampling - Part 3: Guidance on the preservation and handling of water samples.

[14] Schnug, E., Steckel, H. & Haneklaus, S. (2005). Contribution of uranium in drinking water to the daily uranium intake of humans - a case study from Northern Germany, Landbauforschung Völkenrode, 55, pp. 227-236.

[15] Sheppard, M.I. (1980). The environmental behavior of uranium and thorium. Technical Report AECL-6795. Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Pinawa (Manitoba) 1980.

[16] Slaats, P.G.G., Blokker, E.J.M. & Versteegh, J.F.M. (2007). Sampling Metals at the tap: Analyses of Dutch data over the period 2004-2006. In Proceeding Book of 1st International Conference of the COST Action 637: Metals and related substances in drinking water (METAU) (pp. 61-69), Oct 24-26 2007, Antalya, Turkey. European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research, Antalya 2007.

[17] Smedley, P.L., Smith, B., Abesser, C. & Lapworth, D. (2006). Commissioned report CR/06/050N. Uranium occurrence and behaviour in British groundwater. Groundwater systems & water quality programme. British Geological Survey, Nottingham 2006.

[18] Suponik, T. & Lutyński, M. (2009). Possibility of using permeable reactive barrier in two selected dumping sites, Archives of Environmental Protection, 35 (3), pp. 109-122.

[19] United States Environmental Protection Agency (2009). National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. EPA 816-F-09-0004, May 2009, (

[20] Witczak, S., Garboś, S., Kmiecik, E., Siepak, M., Święcicka, D. & Wątor, K. (2011). Chapter 11.2. The proposition of methodology for zones with more than 5000 habitants being supplied with drinking water. In Postawa A. & Witczak S. (Eds.), Metals and related substances in water intended for human consumption in Poland (pp. 202-218). AGH, Kraków 2011.

[21] World Health Organization (2011). Uranium. In Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 4th ed. (pp. 430-431), WHO, Geneva 2011.

[22] Wrenn, M.E., Durbin, P.W., Howard, B., Lipsztein, J., Rundo J. & Still, E.T. (1985). Metabolism of ingested U and Ra, Health Physics, 48, pp. 601-633.

[23] Zamora, M.L., Tracy, B.L., Zielinski, J.M., Meyerhof, D.P. & Moss, M.A. (1998). Chronic ingestion of uranium in drinking water: a study of kidney bioeffects in humans, Toxicological Sciences, 43, pp. 68-77.

[24] Zamora, M.L., Zielinski, J.M., Meyerhof, D. & Tracy, B. (2002). Gastrointestinal absorption of uranium in humans, Health Physics, 83, pp. 35-45.

[25] Závodská, L., Kosorínová, E., Ščerbáková, L. & Lesný, J. Environmental chemistry of uranium. HU ISSN 1418-7108: HEJ Manuscript no.: ENV-081221-A. ( (03.07.2013)).

Archives of Environmental Protection

The Journal of Institute of Environmental Engineering and Committee of Environmental Engineering of Polish Academy of Sciences

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.708
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.835

CiteScore 2018: 1.71

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.489
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.011

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 191 152 10
PDF Downloads 79 62 6