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Open Access Research article

Exposure assessment of radon in the drinking water supplies: a descriptive study in Palestine

Hamzeh Al Zabadi1*, Samar Musmar2, Shaza Issa2, Nidal Dwaikat3 and Ghassan Saffarini3

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health and Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine

2 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine

3 Radiation Physics Laboratory, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:29  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-29

Published: 13 January 2012

Abstract

Background

Radon gas is considered as a main risk factor for lung cancer and found naturally in rock, soil, and water. The objective of this study was to determine the radon level in the drinking water sources in Nablus city in order to set up a sound policy on water management in Palestine.

Methods

This was a descriptive study carried out in two phases with a random sampling technique in the second phase. Primarily, samples were taken from 4 wells and 5 springs that supplied Nablus city residents. For each source, 3 samples were taken and each was analyzed in 4 cycles by RAD 7 device manufactured by Durridge Company. Secondly, from the seven regions of the Nablus city, three samples were taken from the residential tap water of each region. Regarding the old city, ten samples were taken. Finally, the mean radon concentration value for each source was calculated.

Results

The mean (range) concentration of radon in the main sources were 6.9 (1.5-23.4) Becquerel/liter (Bq/L). Separately, springs and wells' means were 4.6 Bq/L and 9.5 Bq/L; respectively. For the residential tap water in the 7 regions, the results of the mean (range) concentration values were found to be 1.0 (0.9-1.3) Bq/L. For the old city, the mean (range) concentration values were 2.3 (0.9-3.9) Bq/L.

Conclusions

Except for Al-Badan well, radon concentrations in the wells and springs were below the United State Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminated level (U.S EPA MCL). The level was much lower for tap water. Although the concentration of radon in the tap water of old city were below the MCL, it was higher than other regions in the city. Preventive measures and population awareness on radon's exposure are recommended.