Radon as an anthropogenic indoor air pollutant as exemplified by radium-dial watches and other uranium- and radium-containing artefacts

Robin G M Crockett, Gavin K Gillmore

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Radon is generally regarded as a naturally occurring radiological hazard but we report here measurements of significant, hazardous radon concentrations that arise from man-made sources, e.g. radium-dial watches. This study is an examination and assessment of health risks from radium and uranium found in historical artefacts, and the radon that emanates from them. This includes radium-dial watches, the main focus, plus clocks, aircraft instruments, and ornaments and artefacts made of uranium glass / uranium-glazed. Such objects were very popular in the 1930s and 1940s and are still readily available today. A collection of 30 radium-dial pocket and wrist watches was measured and shown to be capable of giving rise to radon concentrations two orders of magnitude greater than the UK Domestic Action Level of 200 Bq•m-3 in unventilated or poorly ventilated rooms. Furthermore, individual watches are capable of giving rise to radon concentrations in excess of the UK Domestic Action Level. We also highlight a gap in remediation protocols, which are focused on preventing radon entering buildings from outside, with regard to internally-generated radon hazards. Radon as arising from man-made objects such as radium-dial watches should be considered appropriately in radon protocols and guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRadon, Health and Natural Hazards
EditorsGavin K Gillmore, Frédéric Perrier, Robin G M Crockett
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherGeological Society
Number of pages256
VolumeSP451
ISBN (Print)9781786203083
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameSpecial Publications

Keywords

  • Radium
  • radon
  • watches
  • clocks
  • aircraft dials
  • uranium glass
  • uranium ceramics
  • health hazards

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Radon as an anthropogenic indoor air pollutant as exemplified by radium-dial watches and other uranium- and radium-containing artefacts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this