The specific radioactivity of several building materials used in France, which is considered a direct exposure to radiation, has been assessed byγ-ray spectrometry. Corrected for coincidence summing and self-absorption effects, the values for 226Ra, 232Th and 40K were in the ranges 4-56, 3-72 and 9 - 1136Bq·kg-1, respectively. The samples were found to have radium-equivalent activities between 5 and 245 Bq·kg-1. Values of 0.02-0.67 for the external and 0.03-0.82 for the internal hazard indexes were estimated. The calculated absorbed dose in air agrees closely with MCNPX simulations. The conversion of absorbed dose to annual effective dose gave values between 0.03-1.09 mSv·y-1. All these values are below action limits recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. The materials examined would not contribute a significant radiation exposure for an occupant and thus are acceptable for construction.
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