SSM (The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority) has recently published the National Radon Action Plan. Radon in drinking water has been highlighted as one of the risks. As the world’s leading radon laboratory, Radonova Laboratories AB gets a lot of questions about water safety. Below you can find some answers to the most common inquiries we receive on this subject.
Can we find radon in drinking water?
Radon in drinking water can occur primarily in water from wells bored down through solid rock. In Sweden, wells supply water to approximately 800,000 people. More than 6% of these wells are estimated to have such high levels of radon as to be hazardous to health. This means that radon concentrations in these waters may exceed the limit of 1000 Bq l-1, while 60% of wells are in the range of 100-1000 Bq l-1. There is also a risk of elevated radon levels in water wells bored down through soil layers. Data from the SGU (Swedish Geological Survey)shows that 1.6% of these wells are above 1000 Bq l-1and 30% in the range 100-1000 Bq l-1.
How dangerous is radon in water?
Radon in water can be harmful to health in two ways. Firstly, by radon adsorption during and after water intake and second, by radon release from water into indoor air that we breath. Radon from the air is significantly more dangerous because our lungs are more sensitive to radon compared to the stomach. As we now know, radon breaks down over time into radioactive isotopes we call ‘daughters’ with the emission of alpha particles causing lung tissue damage. Thus, high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. Radon causes about 500 lung cancer cases per year in Sweden and 50% of the victims survive just one year.
How can you measure radon in drinking water?
It is easy to measure radon in water. After ordering a measurement pack from our website, we will send a kit containing a special bottle with clear instructions on how to take the water sample. Once you have filled the bottle with water, send it back to us. The analysis results will be obtained within one week. All Radonova’s measurement methods are accredited by SWEDAC, which means that you can rely on our results.