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Radium measurement

  1. Jul 21, 2010 #1
    Hi,

    i have a question about the radioactive behaviour of radium 226 and its dangers. The reason for my question is that i'm going to work in a town, where unfortunately the beach is polluted with radium 226.

    I'm concernced about this issue and want to know how dangerous this has to be taken. For example while going for a walk on the coastline - or going to swim on the beach.

    the pollution was measured in the beach sand:
    6Bq /g
    167 microSv/yr
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2010 #2

    phyzguy

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    Interesting. Check these out:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsar,_Mazandaran

    If your 167 microSieverts/year is accurate, the effects should be small, since this is less than 10% of the natural background radiation level of about 2.5 milliSieverts/yearr. Note the second link about a place with Ra226 levels more than 1000X higher than you are talking about, where it is claimed that there are no ill effects.

    Just curious, are we talking man-made pollution or natural radioactivity?
     
  4. Jul 21, 2010 #3
    Thank you for your answer,
    it's man made pollution,

    maybe look for yourself, i do not really understand the report about it:
    http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/rsh/Detailed_information.html

    i'm especially worried about - swimming at the beach, when you swallow accidently some sand or when you go for a walk, and there is sand on your shoes, or in your jacket, because "Several hundred tons of sand seem to be affected". Some of my relatives has cancer and so i take this kind of problem really serious.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  5. Jul 21, 2010 #4

    phyzguy

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    I really can't answer your questions. Nobody really knows the answer as to whether low levels of radiation like these are harmful or not. Some people believe that any exposure to radiation, no matter how small, will increase your chances of getting cancer. Others believe that there are natural repair mechanisms, and that there are no harmful effects until the radiation exceeds some threshold. Still others believe that exposure to low-levels of radiation is actually beneficial. Here are some starting points for further reading:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_no-threshold_model#Controversy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis
     
  6. Jul 21, 2010 #5
    Looking at the article, its sounds like Bureaucracy in full flood.
    Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material could mean anything, including human waste which is slightly radioactive itself. Probably it's something being transported from A to B by groundwater. If there's any granite in the locality it's more than likely that's the source.
    Radium is not mentioned except in comments. So I would guess at uranium from granite (just a guess).
    If you're worried by this I suggest you stay out of Scotland entirely. Oh, and don't go in a house anywhere in the world (radon gas).
     
  7. Jul 21, 2010 #6

    QuantumPion

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    You can't avoid all risk. You are probably 5-6 orders of magnitude more likely to die in a car accident on your way to the beach then getting cancer from trace amounts of naturally occurring background radiation.
     
  8. Jul 22, 2010 #7
    ok, thanks !

    so you think, the amount of radioactive material is too low to cause any serios risks for citizens ? For example if you avoid beeing at the beach ? what is the usual number of background radiation ?
     
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