The potential risk from 222 radon posed to archaeologists and earth scientists: reconnaissance study of radon concentrations, excavations, and archaeological shelters in the Great Cave of Niah, Sarawak, Malaysia

Gillmore, G, Gilbertson, D, Grattan, J, Hunt, C, McLaren, S, Pyatt, B, Mani Banda, R, Barker, G, Denman, A, Phillips, P and Reynolds, T (2005) 'The potential risk from 222 radon posed to archaeologists and earth scientists: reconnaissance study of radon concentrations, excavations, and archaeological shelters in the Great Cave of Niah, Sarawak, Malaysia.' Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 60 (2). pp. 213-227. ISSN 0147-6513

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2003.12.014

Abstract

This reconnaissance study of radon concentrations in the Great Cave of Niah in Sarawak shows that in relatively deep pits and trenches in surficial deposits largely covered by protective shelters with poor ventilation, excavators are working in a micro-environment in which radon concentrations at the ground surface can exceed those of the surrounding area by a factor of >×2. Although radon concentrations in this famous cave are low by world standards (alpha track-etch results ranging from 100 to 3075 Bq m−3), they still may pose a health risk to both excavators (personal dosemeter readings varied from 0.368 to 0.857 mSv for 60 days of work) and cave occupants (1 yr exposure at 15 h per day with an average radon level of 608 Bq m−3 giving a dose of 26.42 mSv). The data here presented also demonstrate that there is considerable local variation in radon levels in such environments as these.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: radon, health risk archaeologists, earth scientists, caves, Sarawak
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2003.12.014
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2021 21:09
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:56
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