RIVM reports annually on the level of radioactivity that occurs under normal circumstances in the environment and food. The values in 2017 show a normal picture and do not deviate from previous years. Because we annually report the normal values, it is possible to determine whether and how much the measured values differ from the normal situation in the event of a disaster or calamity.

Radioactivity in air, food, milk, grass and feed

Radioactivity levels in the air were normal and similar to previous years. Radioactivity levels in food and milk were below the European export and consumption limits, except for one out of almost 2,600 samples. This was a sample of wild boar in which the radioactivity level was about 10 per cent higher than the limit. A risk assessment based on a single consumption of this wild boar shows that it poses a small threat to health. It is comparable to eating approximately 27 bananas which naturally contain a very small amount of radiation. The radioactivity levels in grass and feed were also normal, as in previous years.

Radioactivity in surface water, seawater and drinking water

Radioactivity levels in surface water and seawater were similar to previous years. In 5 per cent of the untreated drinking water samples, slightly elevated levels in relation to the screening values were found. In these cases, further research has been carried out. This showed that the levels of the purified drinking water were well below the screening values.

Why RIVM conducts this research

All countries of the European Union are required to perform these measurements each year under the terms of the Euratom Treaty of 1957. The Netherlands performs these measurements following the guidance issued in 2000. The measurements represent the background values for radioactivity that are present under normal circumstances. They can be used as reference values, for instance, during a nuclear emergency. RIVM reports to the European Commission on environmental radioactivity on behalf of the Netherlands.