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Radioactivity in Dutch consumer products

Radioactiviteit in Nederlandse gebruiksartikelen


This study took place within the framework of a general update of the average radiation dose for the Dutch population. It focuses on consumer products in which radionuclides have been intentionally incorporated and on radiation-emitting devices that can be supplied to members of the public without special surveillance. Eleven consumer products were studied in more detail. The radiation from these products determined 90% of the total collective dose due to consumer products in the Netherlands in 1988. Individual and collective doses are presented here for each product. The total collective dose has decreased from 130 personSv in 1988 to 4.6 personSv at present. This reduction was attributed to: a decrease in the number of radioactive products (gas mantles), lower estimates of the number of radioactive products present in the Netherlands thanks to new information (camera lenses, smoke detectors containing Ra-226), replacement of radioactive by non-radioactive products (gas mantles, dental protheses), and a lower estimate of the dose rate for certain products (smoke detectors, VDT). Some products were shown to be unavailable on the Dutch consumer market because importing and selling them was prohibited (antistatic brushes) or because the products were only available for professional users (TIG welding electrodes). Only a few products showed a significant change in radionuclide content. In summary, 60-70% of the reduction is due to a realistic decrease in the number of radioactive products. The remaining 30-40% is due to a better estimation of the number of products and the dose rate. The largest reduction of the total collective dose was realised through the decrease in the number of radioactive gas mantles. The contribution of gas mantles to the collective dose has decreased from 70 personSv in 1988 to 2 personSv per year at present. The total number of gas mantles has decreased by a factor of three of which still 1/10th is radioactive. A further reduction in the contribution of consumer products is to be expected as a number of radioactive products will be placed on a list of non-justified applications as a result of the new Dutch Radiation Protection Act.

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