Scand J Work Environ Health 1999;25 suppl 3:17-32    pdf

Environmental radioactivity, population exposure and related health risks in the east Baltic region

by Balonov MI, Krisyuk EM, Ramel C

The paper considers radioactive contamination of the east Baltic region, population exposures, and the risk of damage to human health. Principal sources include global fallout, the Chernobyl accident, and marine transport of radionuclides. A mean annual exposure of 2--3 mSv comes from environmental radioactivity. Main contributors are primarily radon and its decay products. The Chernobyl accident brought an additional dose of about 0.5 mSv in southern Finland and 1.4 mSv in the most contaminated districts of the Leningrad region, Russia. Both external and internal exposure via contaminated food contributed. Currently, significant long-term radiological consequences of the Chernobyl accident include persistent radioactive contamination of natural terrestrial (forest) and freshwater (oligotrophic lakes) ecosystems and food products. Radiation health risks are lung cancer among the general population from indoor exposure to radon, acute radiation syndrome from occupational exposure, thyroid cancer among children in heavily contaminated non-Baltic areas, and mutations among offspring of exposed parents.