Radon in spring waters in the south of Catalonia

J Environ Radioact. 2016 Jan:151 Pt 1:275-281. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.10.019. Epub 2015 Nov 6.


Spring waters in the south of Catalonia were analysed to determine the (222)Rn activity in order to be able to establish a correlation between the obtained values with the geology of the area of origin of these samples, and also estimate the potential health risks associated with (222)Rn. Most of the analysed samples (90%) show (222)Rn activities lower than 100Bq/L (exposure limit in water recommended by the World Health Organisation and EU directive 2013/51/EURATOM). However, in some cases, the activity values found for this isotope exceeded those levels and this can be attributed to the geology of the area where the spring waters are located, which is predominantly of granitic characteristics. To verify the origin of the radon present in the analysed samples, the obtained activity values were compared with the activities of its parents ((226)Ra, (238)U and (234)U). Finally, we have calculated the annual effective dose from all the radionuclides measured in spring water samples. The results showed that the higher contribution due to spring water ingestion come from (222)Rn and (226)Ra. The resulting contribution to the annual effective dose due to radon ingestion varies between 10.2 and 765.8 μSv/y, and the total annual effective dose due to his parents, (226)Ra, (234)U and (238)U varies between 0.8 and 21.2 μSv/y so the consumption of these waters does not involve any risks to population due to its natural radioactivity content.

Keywords: Annual effective doses; LSC; Radium; Radon; Spring water; Uranium.

MeSH terms

  • Drinking Water / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Natural Springs / chemistry*
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Radium / analysis
  • Radon / analysis*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spain
  • Uranium / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis*


  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Uranium
  • Radon
  • Radium