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Residents of small Texas town avoiding tap water due to radioactive substance

In Brady, Texas people are reaching for a bottle of water instead of turning on the tap because of a radioactive substance. (Image/video courtesy: CBS News)

In Brady, Texas people are reaching for a bottle of water instead of turning on the tap because of a radioactive substance.

It was only recently learned that the water has unacceptably high levels of radium. It's a contaminant that occurs naturally in the ground and winds up in aquifers.

"It has been associated with increases in bone cancer. So exposure to radium … even low levels, may increase the risk of cancer development," said Alexis Temkin, with the Environmental Working Group.

Brady isn't alone. One group found 158 public water systems, in 27 states, reported radium in amounts that exceeded the federal legal limit

For now, there is not a lot Brady can do. The mayor says a new treatment plant would cost $20 million. So, residents are staying away from the tap for the time being.

Brady is approximately 150 miles northwest of Austin.

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