Naturally occurring radioactive elements are found in all groundwaters, especially in bedrock waters. Exposure to these radioactive elements increases the risk of cancer. The most significant of these elements is radon which, as a gas, is mobile and dissolves in groundwater. In Finland, water supply plants are obliged to carry out statutory monitoring of the water quality, including radon. Monitoring of private wells, however, is often neglected. In this paper, we outline the problem by reviewing the outcomes of the studies conducted in Finland since the 1960s. We also summarise the development of legislation, regulations and political decisions made so far that have affected the amount of public exposure to radon in drinking water. A review of the studies on radon removal techniques is provided, together with newly obtained results. New data on the transfer of radon from water into indoor air are presented. The new assessments also take into account the expanding use of domestic radionuclide removal units by Finnish households.
Keywords: groundwater, radioactivity, radon, public communication, water policy, water treatment