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November 21, 1986

Leukemia and Groundwater Contamination

JAMA. 1986;256(19):2676-2677. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380190046018

To the Editor.—  We would like to respond to the comments of Tracy and Letourneau1 regarding our study2 of leukemia and radium groundwater contamination. This study identified substantial contamination of ground-water sources in southwest Florida with radium and demonstrated a strong geographic association between leukemia risk and the level of ground-water contamination.Ingestion of 2 L/d of water at an average radium concentration of 10 pCi/L (0.37 Bq/L) would result in ingestion of 20 pCi/d (0.74 Bq/d), representing perhaps only 20% of the total daily ingestion of radium 226.3 The lifetime leukemia risk estimated from exposure to 20 to 100 pCi/d (0.74 to 3.7 Bq/d) of radium 226 based on International Commission on Radiological Protection risk estimates would be six to 30 excess cases per 100 000.4Based on the International Commission on Radiological Protection model, ingestion of 20 to 100 pCi/d (0.74 to 3.7 Bq/d)