Assessment of the long-term possible radiological risk from the use of ceramic tiles in Malaysia

  • Shittu Abdullahi
  • Aznan Fazli IsmailEmail author
  • Syazwani Mohd Fadzil
  • Supian Samat


This study investigated the level of natural radioactivity and radiological risks of 40 different ceramic tiles through gamma-ray spectroscopy using a high-purity germanium detector. The calculated activity concentrations were evaluated to determine their potential radiological risks to human health. Furthermore, the activity concentrations were subjected to the RESRAD-BUILD computer code to assess the effect of ventilation rate, dweller position, and room size and direction on the total effective dose (TED). The simulated TED received by a receptor when changing the ventilation rate in a room ranged from 0.26 ± 0.01 to 0.61 ± 0.01 mSv/y; however, the percentage variations in the TED due to dweller position and room size are 34, 31, and 35% and 33, 27, and 40% for the x-, y-, and z-directions, respectively. The overall TED received by the dweller based on room size and direction is 0.75 mSv/y. The calculated radiological risk parameters were all below the recommended maximum limit. However, the TED received by the dweller is significantly affected by the directions of the measurement, position, room size, and ventilation. Therefore, estimating the TED from one direction would underestimate the total dose received by the dweller.


Radiological risk RESRAD-BUILD computer code Ceramic tile Room size Ventilation rate 



The author would like to acknowledge all lab technicians of the Nuclear Science Program, UKM, for their technical support throughout the work. Shittu Abdullahi also wishes to appreciate and acknowledge Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria, for providing their Ph.D. fellowship.


  1. 1.
    K. Asaduzzaman, M.U. Khandaker, Y.M. Amin et al., Natural radioactivity levels and radiological assessment of decorative building materials in Bangladesh. Indoor Built Environ. 25, 541–550 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    S. Righi, R. Guerra, M. Jeyapandian et al., Natural radioactivity in Italian ceramic tiles. Radioprotection 44, 413–419 (2009). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    A.F. Ismail, M.S. Yasir, A.A. Majid et al., Ropacifieradiological studies of naturally occurring radioactive materials in some Malaysia’s sand used in building construction. Malaysian J. Anal. Sci. 13, 29–35 (2009).
  4. 4.
    ISO 13006, International Standard ISO 13006, Switzerland, 2012. Accessed July 6, 2018
  5. 5.
    N. Todorovic, I. Bikit, M. Krmar et al., Natural radioactivity in raw materials used in building industry in Serbia. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 12, 705–716 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    N. Tikul, P. Srichandr, Assessing the environmental impact of ceramic tile production in Thailand. J. Ceram. Soc. Jpn. 118, 887–894 (2010). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    IAEA, Measurement of Radionuclides in Food and the Environment, IAEA, Vienna, 1989. Accessed 10 Oct 2017
  8. 8.
    IAEA, Handbook of Nuclear Data for Safeguards: Database Extensions, Vienna, 2008Google Scholar
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
    A.D. Bajoga, Evaluation of Natural and Anthropogenic Radioactivity in Environmental samples from Kuwait Using High-resolution Gamma-ray Spectrometry, University of Surrey, Guildford, 2016.
  11. 11.
    UNSCEAR, Sources and effects of ionizing radiation (Exposures from Natural Radiation Sources), New York, 2000Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    G. Viruthagiri, B. Rajamannan, K.S. Jawahar, Radioactivity and associated radiation hazards in ceramic raw materials and end products. Radiat. Prot. Dosimetry. 157, 383–391 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    R. Shweikani, G. Raja, Radon exhalation from some finishing materials frequently used in Syria. Radiat. Meas. 44, 1019–1023 (2009). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    A.D. Bajoga, N. Alazemi, P.H. Regan et al., Radioactive investigation of NORM samples from Southern Kuwait soil using high-resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy. Radiat. Phys. Chem. 116, 305–311 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    EC, Radiation Protection 112: Radiological Protection Principles concerning the Natural Radioactivity of Building Materials, Finland, 1999. Accessed 20 July 2017
  16. 16.
    S. Mehdizadeh, R. Faghihi, S. Sina, Natural radioactivity in building materials in Iran. Nukleonika 56, 363–368 (2011)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    J. Beretka, P.J. Mathew, Natural radioactivity of Australian building materials, industrial waste and byproducts. Health Phys. 48, 87–95 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    J. Ge, J. Zhang, Natural radioactivity and radiation hazards of building materials in Anhui Province, China. J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 304, 609–613 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    N.M. Hassan, N.A. Mansour, M. Fayez-Hassan et al., Assessment of radiation hazards due to exposure to radionuclides in marble and ceramic commonly used as decorative building materials in Egypt. Indoor Built Environ. 26, 317–326 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    M. Jang, K.H. Chung, Y.Y. Ji et al., Indoor external and internal exposure due to building materials containing NORM in Korea. J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 307, 1661–1666 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    S.A. Amin, M. Naji, Natural radioactivity in different commercial ceramic samples used in Yemeni buildings. Radiat. Phys. Chem. 86, 37–41 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    S. Righi, L. Bruzzi, Natural radioactivity and radon exhalation in building materials used in Italian dwellings. J. Environ. Radioact. 88, 158–170 (2006). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    K. Iwaoka, M. Hosoda, N. Suwankot et al., Natural radioactivity and radon exhalation rates in man-made tiles used as building materials in Japan. Radiat. Prot. Dosimetry. 31, 491–495 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Y. Raghu, R. Ravisankar, A. Chandrasekaran et al., Assessment of natural radioactivity and radiological hazards in building materials used in the Tiruvannamalai District, Tamilnadu, India, using a statistical approach. J. Taibah Univ. Sci. 11, 523–533 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    E.S. Joel, O. Maxwell, O.O. Adewoyin et al., Assessment of natural radioactivity in various commercial tiles used for building purposes in Nigeria. MethodsX. 5, 8–19 (2018). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation (Exposure from Natural Sources of Radiation), New York, 1993. Accessed 29 Sept 2017
  27. 27.
    C. Yu, D.J. LePoire, J.-J. Cheng et al., User’s Manual RESRAD-BUILD Version 3, (2003).
  28. 28.
    A.L. Do Carmo Leal, Lauria D. Da Costa, Assessment of doses to members of the public arising from the use of ornamental rocks in residences. J. Radiol. Prot. 36, 680–694 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    E. Stranden, The influence of variations in the ventilation rate in rooms upon the respiratory dose from inhalation of radon daughters. Phys. Med. Biol. 24, 913–920 (1979). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    S. Risica, C. Bolzan, C. Nuccetelli, Radioactivity in building materials: room model analysis and experimental methods. Sci Total Env. 272, 119–126 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    A.A. Majid, A.F. Ismail, M.S. Yasir et al., Radiological dose assessment of naturally occurring radioactive materials in concrete building materials. J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 297, 277–284 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© China Science Publishing & Media Ltd. (Science Press), Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Nuclear Society and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shittu Abdullahi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Aznan Fazli Ismail
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Syazwani Mohd Fadzil
    • 1
    • 2
  • Supian Samat
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuclear Science Program, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)BangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Centre for Frontier Science, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)BangiMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Physics, Faculty of ScienceGombe State UniversityGombeNigeria

Personalised recommendations