- What are electromagnetic fields?
- Static and low-frequency fields
- What are static and low-frequency electric and magnetic fields?
- Direct and alternating voltage
- Effects of static and low-frequency fields
- Reports & Evaluations
- Radiation protection relating to the expansion of the national grid
- Basics transfer of electrical power
- High-frequency fields
- What are high-frequency fields?
- Applications high-frequency fields
- Radiation protection in mobile communication
- What is mobile communication?
- Reports and evaluations
- What is optical radiation?
- UV radiation
- What is UV radiation?
- Sun but safe!
- Effects of UV radiation
- Protection against UV radiation
- UV index
- Infrared radiation
- What is ionising radiation?
- Radioactivity in the environment
- Where does radioactivity occur in the environment?
- What is the level of natural radiation exposure in Germany?
- Air, soil and water
- Building materials
- Industrial residues (NORM)
- BfS laboratories
- Applications in medicine
- Radiation protection in medicine: international activities
- Applications in daily life and in technology
- Radioactive radiation sources in Germany
- Register high-level radioactive radiation sources
- Type approval procedure pursuant to RöV and StrlSchV
- Cabin luggage security checks
- Radioactive materials in watches
- Ionisation smoke detectors (ISM)
- What are the effects of radiation?
- Effects of selected radioactive materials
- Consequences of a radiation accident
- Cancer and leukaemia
- Genetic radiation effects
- Individual radiosensitivity
- Epidemiology of radiation-induced diseases
- Ionising radiation: positive effects?
- Risk estimation and assessment
- Radiation protection
- Basic information
- Occupational radiation protection
- Nuclear accident management
- What is an emergency?
- What happens in an emergency?
- Federal and state tasks
- In the event of an emergency
- Measuring networks
- Exercises for emergency situations
- Defence against nuclear hazards
- Service offers
- Radon measurements
- Incorporation monitoring
- Biological dosimetry
- Online library
- About us
- Science and research
- Research concept
- Scientific collaborations
- EU research framework programme
- BfS research programme
- Third-party funded research
- Departmental research
- Selected research projects
- Selected research results
- Professional opinions
- Science Council
- Laws and regulations
- BfS Topics in the Bundestag
What is the level of natural radiation exposure in Germany?
From the beginning, humankind lives in a radiating environment owing to the natural sources of radiation.
Thus natural radiation exposure leads to an annual effective dose for a member of the public in Germany of 2.1 millisieverts on average. Depending on the place of residence, dietary and life habits, it sometimes adds up from 1 millisievert to 10 millisieverts.
Incorporation of natural radioactive substances by inhalation or ingestion
Natural radiation exposure is composed of a dominant internal and an external component.
Via air and nutrition, human beings have always absorbed natural radioactive substances:
- The inhalation of the radioactive noble gas radon and its decay products results in an average annual dose of 1.1 millisieverts.
- Natural radionuclides of the radioactive decay chains of thorium and uranium as well as potassium-40 are taken up via food, which adds on average 0.3 millisievert annually.
External exposure by cosmic radiation and terrestrial radiation
About half of it is due to cosmic radiation, which reaches the earth from the deep space and mainly consists of high-energy particles. On its way through the atmosphere cosmic radiation is partially absorbed on its way to the ground owing to nuclear reactions with the atomic nuclei of the air molecules.
Therefore, its intensity depends on the altitude. It is lowest at sea level and increases with the altitude of a site. On the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, it is four times higher than on the coast.
Terrestrial radiation is also part of external radiation exposure. It originates from natural radioactive substances existing in the soils and rock layers of the earth's crust in regional different concentrations.
Rocks and soils again are important raw materials for mineral building materials such as bricks and concrete. The radionuclides contained therein pass over to the building materials and thus also contribute to the external radiation exposure for people livin in buildings. On average, the terrestrial radiation adds up to an annual dose of 0.4 millisievert for members of the public, around 0.1 millisievert outdoor and 0.3 millisievert indoor.
Man-made radiation exposure by medical and technical applications
Today, apart from natural radiation exposure, ionising radiation from medical and technical applications affects humankind as well. The mean annual effective dose of the so-called man-made radiation exposure is about 1.8 millisievert in Germany.
State of 2018.08.10