Natural radioactivity levels and radiation hazards for gypsum materials used in Egypt


Radionuclides naturally occurring in building materials may significantly contribute to the annual doses to the public. For instance, familiar building materials such as the concrete and gypsum board have been reported to produce a dose of about 0.04 mSv per year for a typical person (NCRP 1987c). External as well as internal exposures are two pathways of radiation dose imparted to human beings from the building materials. As information on the radioactivity of such materials is lacking, the study of gypsum materials used in Egypt was carried out in order to estimate the annual dose to the Egyptian population due to natural radionuclides in building materials. During the study, 18 samples of commonly used gypsum raw materials were collected and measured. The activity concentrations were determined by gamma ray spectrometry. Their mean values were in the ranges of 499.29 ± 11.53 Bq·kg-1 for 40K, 91.97 ± 2.61 Bq·kg-1 for 226Ra, 37.62 ± 1.67 Bq·kg-1 for 238U and 42.27 ± 2.22 Bq·kg-1 for 232Th. The activity indexed Iγ for 18, different gypsum samples varied from 0.31 ± 0.03 to 2.3 ± 0.19 and the radium equivalent activity (Raeq), from 38.81 ± 1.68 to 324.7 ± 9.42. These values are lower than the limit of 370 Bq·kg-1 adopted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The average indoor annual effective gamma dose rate (DE) in (mSv/y) for the people, caused by the building materials of dwellings, was assessed for most commonly gypsum materials. It was estimated to be in the range from 0.10 ± 0.003 mSv/y to 0.74 ± 0.08 mSv/y. The internal and external hazard indices (Hin, Hex) and the absorbed dose rate in air D in each sample were evaluated to assess the radiation hazard for people living in dwelling made of the studied materials. The absorbed dose rate of indoor air in samples G1, G2, G11, G17 and G18 is less than the international recommended value which is 55 nGyh-1. While the absorbed dose rate for samples G3, G4, G5, G6, G7, G8, G9, G10, G12, G13, G14, G15 and G16 is higher than 55 nGyh-1, these samples are not acceptable for use as building materials.

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Korna, A. , Fares, S. and El-Rahman, M. (2014) Natural radioactivity levels and radiation hazards for gypsum materials used in Egypt. Natural Science, 6, 5-13. doi: 10.4236/ns.2014.61002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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