Monitoring Radiation Levels
Environmental Health carries out routine monitoring of environmental radiation levels.
A programme of routine environmental gamma radiation monitoring is carried out at eight sites within West Lothian. The monitoring of background levels of environmental gamma radiation provides robust information on existing levels and allows trends to be seen and concerns raised where necessary. It also increases the likelihood of early detection of any significant change in levels.
Previously carried out 6 times a year at each site, this has now been reduced to an annual measurement.
Overall, radioactivity levels are generally low and well within any recognised guidelines. Current findings are that levels are not a matter of concern and pose no quantifiable risk.
Why do it?
The programme commenced in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl power station incident in the former USSR. This led to a massive discharge of radioactive material to air, which resulted in radiation being deposited in rainfall across parts of Scotland shortly after the incident.
During the episode very little information was forthcoming from official sources and it was found there were very few non-governmental sources which could accurately and independently measure radiation.
This arises from the natural decay of Uranium in the rocks beneath our feet. It can accumulate in buildings and is a risk to health in these situations. We do not routinely carry out radon gas monitoring. Radon Gas gives more information on where it occurs in West Lothian and how to arrange for sampling.