Uranium natural levels in water and soils: assessment of the Italian situation in relation to quality standards for drinking water

Giovanna Armiento, Massimo Angelone, Maurizio De Cassan, Elisa Nardi, Marco Proposito, Carlo Cremisini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


In view of the establishment of quality standards for uranium in drinking water by the European and Italian authorities, we report a comprehensive overview of the Italian situation regarding uranium concentrations in natural waters. More than 3100 data on waters all over Italy are reviewed in addition to new data for Latium Region (Central Italy) where relatively high concentrations in rocks are long been known. Our study evidences that uranium in bedrock is not the main factor ruling uranium presence in fresh and groundwater, indicating that redox conditions as well as bicarbonates and silicates control solution equilibria and accordingly the uranium content in waters. At present, and considering the provisional guideline value of 30 μg/L established by [WHO (2012) Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality. World Health Organization, Geneva], no critical situation is envisaged in Italy, but this can be overruled if lower limits will be actually imposed. There is also a need of further studies on uranium speciation in water and of wider epidemiological studies to assess its real toxicity to overcome the uncertainties that have so far hampered the definition of reliable water quality standards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39 - 50
Number of pages12
JournalATTI Della Accademia Nazionale Dei Lincei Rendiconti Lincei Scienze Fisiche E Naturali
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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