Persian: رامسر ‹Ramsar›
|Ramsar Marble Palace, Residential Towers in Ramsar, Ramsar Coast of Caspian Sea, Mo'allem Blvd. (Casino Blvd.), Sunset at Caspian Sea, Statue of Esfandiyār, Ramsar Campus of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, and Ramsar Old Hotel|
|Motto: The Paradise on Earth (Behesht-e rooy-e Zamin)|
|• Mayor (Ŝahrdār)||Mohsen Morradi|
|Elevation||985 m (3,232 ft)|
|Time zone||IRST (UTC+3:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||IRDT (UTC+4:30)|
Ramsar (Persian: رامسر, also Romanized as Rāmsar and Rānsar; formerly, Sakht Sar) is a city in and the capital of Ramsar County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 31,659, in 9,421 families.
Ramsar lies on the coast of the Caspian Sea. It was also known as Sakhtsar in the past. Natives of Ramsar speak the Gilaki language which is a member of Northwest-Iranian languages. The town is known for having the highest levels of natural background radiation on Earth.
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Ramsar is a popular sea resort for Iranian tourists. The town also offers hot springs, the green forests of the Alborz Mountains, the vacation palace of the last Shah, and the Hotel Ramsar. Twenty-seven kilometres south of Ramsar and 2700 meters above sea level in the Alborz mountains is Javaherdeh village, which is an important tourist attraction in Ramsar county.
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 160 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1920 wetland sites, totaling 1,680,000 square kilometres, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Presently, there are 160 contracting parties, up from 119 in 2000 and from 18 initial signatory nations in 1971. Signatories meet every three years as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the first held in Cagliari, Italy in 1980. Amendments to the original convention have been agreed to in Paris (in 1982) and Regina (in 1987).
|Climate data for Ramsar|
|Record high °C (°F)||31.0
|Average high °C (°F)||11.0
|Average low °C (°F)||3.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−10
|Precipitation mm (inches)||79.0
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||8.3||8.5||10.9||8.1||7.3||5.5||4.0||6.3||8.7||10.5||9.4||8.0||95.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||104.9||100.0||91.1||122.0||165.2||187.0||186.5||162.1||122.9||118.8||108.4||96.3||1,565.2|
|Source: Synoptic Stations Statistics|
Ramsar's Talesh Mahalleh district is the most radioactive inhabited area known in the world, due to nearby hot springs and building materials originating from them. A combined population of 2000 residents from this district and other high radiation neighbourhoods receive an average radiation dose of 10 mGy per year, ten times more than the ICRP recommended limit for exposure to the public from artificial sources. Record levels were found in a house where the effective radiation dose due to external radiation was 131 mSv/a, and the committed dose from radon was 72 mSv/a. This unique case is over 80 times higher than the world average background radiation.
The prevailing model of radiation-induced cancer posits that the risk rises linearly with dose at a rate of 5% per Sv. If this linear no-threshold model is correct, it should be possible to observe an increased incidence of cancer in Ramsar through careful long-term studies currently underway. Early anecdotal evidence from local doctors and preliminary cytogenetic studies suggested that there may be no such harmful effect, and possibly even a radioadaptive effect. More recent epidemiological data show a slightly reduced lung cancer rate and non-significantly elevated morbidity, but the small size of the population (only 1800 inhabitants in the high-background areas) will require a longer monitoring period to draw definitive conclusions. Furthermore, there are questions regarding possible non-cancer effects of the radiation background. An Iranian study has shown that people in the area have a significantly higher expression of CD69 gene and also a higher incidence of stable and unstable chromosomal aberrations. Chromosomal aberrations have been found in other studies and a possible elevation of female infertility has been reported.
Radiation hormesis was not observed in a study that also recommended that Ramsar does not provide justification to relax existing regulatory dose limits. Pending further study, the potential health risks have moved scientists to call for relocation of the residents and regulatory control of new construction. 
The radioactivity is due to the local geology. Underground water dissolves radium in uraniferous igneous rock and carries it to the surface through at least nine known hot springs. These are used as spas by locals and tourists. Some of the radium precipitates into travertine, a form of limestone, and the rest diffuses into the soil, where it is absorbed by crops and mixes with drinking water. Residents have unknowingly used the radioactive limestone as a building material for their homes. The stone irradiates the inhabitants and generates radon gas which promotes lung cancer. Crops contribute 72 µSv/yr to a critical group of 50 residents.
- Rejuvenation (aging)
- Background radiation
- Banana equivalent dose
- History of Iran
- Tourism in Iran
- International rankings of Iran
- Ramsar, Mazandaran can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3081959" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
- "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)" (Excel). Islamic Republic of Iran. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
- Ramsar: A brief history, retrieved 2009-11-07
- Selinus, Olle; Finkelman, Robert B.; Centeno, Jose A. (14 January 2011). Medical Geology: A Regional Synthesis. Springer. pp. 162–165. ISBN 978-90-481-3429-8. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Mortazavi, S.M.J.; P.A. Karamb (2005). "Apparent lack of radiation susceptibility among residents of the high background radiation area in Ramsar, Iran: can we relax our standards?". Radioactivity in the Environment 7: 1141–1147. doi:10.1016/S1569-4860(04)07140-2. ISSN 1569-4860.
- Hendry, Jolyon H; Simon, Steven L; Wojcik, Andrzej; Sohrabi, Mehdi; Burkart, Werner; Cardis, Elisabeth; Laurier, Dominique; Tirmarche, Margot; Hayata, Isamu (1 June 2009). "Human exposure to high natural background radiation: what can it teach us about radiation risks?". Journal of Radiological Protection 29 (2A): A29–A42. doi:10.1088/0952-4746/29/2A/S03. PMID 19454802. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Ghiassi-nejad, M; Mortazavi, SM; Cameron, JR; Niroomand-rad, A; Karam, PA (2002 Jan). "Very high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran: preliminary biological studies.". Health physics 82 (1): 87–93. PMID 11769138. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- Mortazavi, S.M.J.; Ghiassi-Nejad, M.; Rezaiean, M. (2005). "Cancer risk due to exposure to high levels of natural radon in the inhabitants of Ramsar, Iran". High Levels of Natural Radiation and Radon Areas: Radiation Dose and Health Effects 1276: 436–437. doi:10.1016/j.ics.2004.12.012.
- Mosavi-Jarrahi, Alireza; Mohagheghi, Mohammadali; Akiba, Suminori; Yazdizadeh, Bahareh; Motamedid, Nilofar; Shabestani Monfared, Ali (2005), "Mortality and morbidity from cancer in the population exposed to high level of natural radiation area in Ramsar, Iran", International Congress Series 1276: 106–109, doi:10.1016/j.ics.2004.11.109
- "Long-term immune and cytogenetic effects of high level natural radiation on Ramsar inhabitants in Iran". J Environ Radioact 74 (1-3): 107–16. 2004. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2003.12.001. PMID 15063540.
- Zakeri, F.; Rajabpour, M. R.; Haeri, S. A.; Kanda, R.; Hayata, I.; Nakamura, S.; Sugahara, T.; Ahmadpour, M. J. (2011), "Chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes of individuals living in high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran", Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 50 (4): 571–578, PMID 21894441
- Tabarraie, Y.; Refahi, S.; Dehghan, M.H.; Mashoufi, M. (2008), "Impact of High Natural Background Radiation on Woman`s Primary Infertility", Research Journal of Biological Sciences 3 (5): 534–536
- Ghiassi-nejad, M; Mortazavi, SM; Cameron, JR; Niroomand-rad, A; Karam, PA (2002 Jan). "Very high background radiation areas of Ramsar, Iran: preliminary biological studies.". Health physics 82 (1): 92. PMID 11769138. Retrieved 11 November 2012. "we do not claim to have seen hormetic effects in any of those studied. ... the available data do not seem sufficient to cause national or international advisory bodies to change their current conservative radiation protection recommendations;"
- Ghiassi-Nejad, M.; S. M. J. Mortazavi, M. Beitollahi, R. Assaie, A. Heidary, R. Varzegar, F. Zakeri, M. Jafari (2001). "Very High Background Radiation Areas (VHBRAs) of Ramsar: Do We Need Any Regulations to Protect the Inhabitants?". 34th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety and ALARA Considerations for the 21st Century", Regulatory Considerations Session (Anaheim, CA).
- Karam, P.A; Mortazavi, S.M.J; Ghiassi-Nejad, M; Ikushima, T; Cameron, J.R; Niroomand-rad, A (2002). "ICRP evolutionary recommendations and the reluctance of the members of the public to carry out remedial work against radon in some high-level natural radiation areas". Radiation and homeostasis 1236: 35–37. doi:10.1016/S0531-5131(01)00765-8.
- Ghiassi-Nejad, M; Beitollahi, MM; Asefi, M; Reza-Nejad, F (2003). "Exposure to (226)Ra from consumption of vegetables in the high level natural radiation area of Ramsar-Iran.". Journal of environmental radioactivity 66 (3): 215–25. doi:10.1016/S0265-931X(02)00108-X. PMID 12600755.
- Ramsar's tourism
- Ramsar's radioactivity
- Photos of Ramsar (Permission to use and copy these photos is hereby granted provided the above copyright notice appears in all the copies and modified versions of photos.)
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