New Swedish action plan for reducing the health effects of radon

As suggested in a national action plan for radon, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority should be mandated with coordinating the shared efforts of competent authorities. Also, it has been proposed to have radon levels in dwellings and in occupational settings mapped and analysed, with initiatives implemented for the purpose of having all types of housing in the long term meet the target of a maximum radon concentration of 200 Bq/m3.

These are a few of the suggestions contained in the national Swedish action plan targeting radon. This action plan was jointly developed and produced by seven central government authorities in Sweden.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority estimates that radon gas in indoor air causes around 500 cases of lung cancer annually in Sweden. Different actions are required to reduce human exposure to radon. This is also an ambition on EU level. Under the radiation safety directive (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom), Member States are required to produce a national action plan for radon. 

In accordance with the Directive, a national action plan for dealing with the long-term risks of radon exposure has been produced by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority together with these central government bodies: Swedish Work Environment Authority, Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, Public Health Agency of Sweden, National Food Agency, Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), and the Swedish Board for Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SWEDAC).

The action plan contains suggestions such as:

  • Establishing formalised collaboration relating to radon work shared by the competent authorities, as led by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, with tasks including planning for initiatives with subsequent follow-up for the purpose of implementing the strategies and activities defined by the action plan
  • Running a radon campaign as part of a long-term communication programme to promote measurement of radon and to encourage action to reduce radon concentrations
  • Coordinating public sector information initiatives relating to radon to make comprehensive communication readily accessible
  • Having the public authorities strive to ensure that all kinds of dwellings eventually meet the target of a maximum radon concentration of 200 Bq/m3.

“We are one of several public authorities having different responsibilities relating to radon. Our shared plan of action for Sweden helps us to place a greater focus on this area and to work together to limit human exposure to radon,” says Director General Mats Persson of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

All the participating public authorities support the suggested actions and proposed strategies. Implementation of the strategies and measures of the action plan will be followed up and evaluated.

For more information, please contact: the Swedish Radiation Safety Authorityʼs press officer on Tel. +46 8 799 40 20.


Owing to the assignment to produce this national action plan, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority conducted a study in 2014 to look into the present arrangement in place with the allocation of responsibility for radon work. This study identified aspects such as the lack of a national consensus regarding priorities in protection against radon. The present allocation of responsibility between public sector authorities with mandates in radon work was assessed as appropriate; however, the coordination of efforts between these authorities was deemed as leaving room for improvement.

From a survey of municipal authorities, conducted by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority in 2017, one outcome was that local governments seek further assistance and guidance relating to radon work, as well as help in information initiatives and national coordination.