How far are you willing to go to retain your youth forever? Would you drink out of a foul-smelling, radioactive drinking fountain in an abandoned lot in Florida? It might sound like a bad idea, but apparently, there's some science to back up the locals' claims that the fountain is keeping them healthy. Yep, Ponce de Leon, the 16th century Spanish explorer who came to Florida in search of a mystical fountain that provides eternal life may not have been too far off from finding it! It's in the small town of Punta Gorda, on the Southwest coast of the state, near Ponce de Leon's route... but it looks like he missed the special aquifer that's been stirring up controversy in the town in the last few decades. Claims that the water from the aquifer held the key to eternal youth date all the way back to the late 19th century, and the town raised money in 1926 to build the tiled fountain that stands near the harbor today. People used to line up down the street for a taste of the water (which, admittedly, is... different from most drinking water). The popularity of the fountain has been on the decline in the past few decades, though, especially since the Clean Water Act of 1974. It wasn't until 1983 that the water from the fountain was tested, and the results were shocking: it contained 9.2 picoCuries of radium-226 isotope per liter. Basically, the water is radioactive. Not dangerously so, but definitely more than normal. Radium isn't the only thing that's found in the water, though. It contains high levels of magnesium sulfate (known to most as Epsom salts, which are known to ease aches and pains), and straight magnesium. Since most Americans are deficient in magnesium, which improves heart health and blood pressure, because it's removed from most drinking water, the water can definitely be qualified as healthy. You can still, on occasion, see people bring water bottles and jugs to the Radioactive Fountain of Youth to fill them up, despite the sign placed on it stating that the Department of Health doesn't suggest drinking the water, as it's radioactive. One local even claims that there was a man who washed his car with water from the aquifer, hoping it was bring longevity to his precious automobile. No word on how well it worked, but it's worth a shot, right?
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Radioactive Fountain of Youth
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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