New map of terrestrial radiation for Switzerland

We published an article describing the data and methods  that we used to publish a new map of terrestrial radiation in the “Journal for Environmental Radioactivity”. The article is published as Open Access.

Christophe L. Folly, Garyfallos Konstantinoudis, Antonella Mazzei-Abba, Christian Kreis, Benno Bucher, Reinhard Furrer, Ben D. Spycher, “Bayesian spatial modelling of terrestrial radiation in Switzerland”, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Volume 233, 2021, doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2021.106571.

Read the article

Survey and exposure measurements soon completed – A huge thank you to all participants

We like to thank all the families and children who participated in the survey and exposure measurements. We sent out questionnaires to 8300 families in February 2019. In total 2830 families completed and returned the questionnaire. These families provided information on sources of radiation exposure in their children that is of great value for this research.
Many families and children also agree to participate in exposure measurements. Thanks to the their dedicated efforts, we have so far collected exposure measurements for more than 140 children across Switzerland. These children wore the dosimeters for a period of 5 days and provided detailed information on their activities during this time. We will now pause during winter and plan to resume the measurements in spring 2020.

We are currently extracting all the readings from the measurement devices and entering the data from the questionnaires and activity diaries. We hope to have all the data entered and prepared for analysis by early summer 2020.
In parallel, we have conducted some preliminary analyses of the data already entered. We are developing a geographical model to estimate exposure to natural background radiation in Switzerland and will use the measurements made by the participating children to validate this model.

Place of residence of participants in the questionnaire survey. Points are jittered for privacy protection*
Place of residence of participants in the dosimetry measurements. Points are jittered for privacy protection*
*Jittering means adding “noise” to the data: The red dot represents the true address location. By adding random numbers to both the x- and y-coordinates, the red dot is replaced by one of the black dots before plotting the map, making it impossible to identify individuals.

International workshop “Background radiation and cancer risks in children”

The two-day international workshop was held on June 5-6, 2018 at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) of the University of Bern. The aim of the workshop was to evaluate how epidemiological studies of exposure to background radiation and childhood cancer risks can contribute to a better understanding of the effects of low-dose ionizing radiation.

About 50 researchers and experts from the fields of radiation epidemiology, public health, radiological protection and nuclear safety. The invited speakers came from Britain, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, and the United States.

During the first day of the workshop, researchers presented the results of previous epidemiological studies on this subject, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of their studies.

Day 2 offered room for a more detailed discussion of the main open questions and methodological challenges. Researchers sought possible explanations for the differences in results between studies and discussed the challenge of improving exposure assessment. The researchers also shared their plans for further research in their countries and discussed the possibility of pooling data in a future multi-national study.