Radiological risks associated with building materials and industrial by-products

Zoltan Sas, Wouter Schroeyers, Gergo Bator, Marios Soutsos, Wei Sha, Rory Doherty, Tibor Kovacs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


To get a better insight into the radiological features of natural raw materials and industrial by-products that can be used in building materials, a review of the reported scientific data can be very useful. The current study is based on the continuously growing database of the By-BM (H2020-MSCA-IF-2015) project (By-products for Building Materials). Currently, the By-BM database contains individual data on 1095 raw materials and 431 industrial by-products used for building. It was found that radionuclide concentrations in the raw materials varied widely — from less than detection levels up to 27 851 Bq/kg for Ra-226, 906 Bq/kg for Th-232 and 17 922 Bq/kg for K-40 — while the radionuclide content of the by-products varied less widely — from 7 to 3152 Bq/kg for Ra-226 and from less than the detection limit up to 1350 and 3001 Bq/kg for Th-232 and K-40, respectively. The average Ra-226, Th-232 and K-40 concentrations in the industrial by-products were, respectively, 2.52, 2.35 and 0.39 times those in the building materials. Gamma exposure arising from bulk building products was calculated (i) using the ‘I-index’ approach described in the European Commission publication Radiation Protection 112, based on a single, fixed value for the material density and (ii) as described in IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSG-32 using measured values of material density. It was found that in most cases the I-index approach (without consideration of the material density) resulted in a significant overestimation of effective dose.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNaturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM VIII)
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherInternational Atomic Energy Agency
ISBN (Print)978-92-0-107618-2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2018


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