Radionuclides in the lichen-caribou-human food chain near uranium mining operations in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.
The richest uranium ore bodies ever discovered (Cigar Lake and McArthur River) are presently under development in northeastern Saskatchewan. This subarctic region is also home to several operating uranium mines and aboriginal communities, partly dependent upon caribou for subsistence. Because of concerns over mining impacts and the efficient transfer of airborne radionuclides through the lichen-caribou-human food chain, radionuclides were analyzed in tissues from 18 barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus). Radionuclides included uranium (U), radium (226Ra), lead (210Pb), and polonium (210Po) from the uranium decay series; the fission product (137Cs) from fallout; and naturally occurring potassium (40K). Natural background radiation doses average 2-4 mSv/year from cosmic rays, external gamma rays, radon inhalation, and ingestion of food items. The ingestion of 210Po and 137Cs when caribou are consumed adds to these background doses. The dose increment was 0.85 mSv/year for adults who consumed 100 g of caribou meat per day and up to 1.7 mSv/year if one liver and 10 kidneys per year were also consumed. We discuss the cancer risk from these doses. Concentration ratios (CRs), relating caribou tissues to lichens or rumen (stomach) contents, were calculated to estimate food chain transfer. The CRs for caribou muscle ranged from 1 to 16% for U, 6 to 25% for 226Ra, 1 to 2% for 210Pb, 6 to 26% for 210Po, 260 to 370% for 137Cs, and 76 to 130% for 40K, with 137Cs biomagnifying by a factor of 3-4. These CRs are useful in predicting caribou meat concentrations from the lichens, measured in monitoring programs, for the future evaluation of uranium mining impacts on this critical food chain. (+info)
Environmental radioactivity, population exposure and related health risks in the east Baltic region.
The paper considers radioactive contamination of the east Baltic region, population exposures, and the risk of damage to human health. Principal sources include global fallout, the Chernobyl accident, and marine transport of radionuclides. A mean annual exposure of 2-3 mSv comes from environmental radioactivity. Main contributors are primarily radon and its decay products. The Chernobyl accident brought an additional dose of about 0.5 mSv in southern Finland and 1.4 mSv in the most contaminated districts of the Leningrad region, Russia. Both external and internal exposure via contaminated food contributed. Currently, significant long-term radiological consequences of the Chernobyl accident include persistent radioactive contamination of natural terrestrial (forest) and freshwater (oligotrophic lakes) ecosystems and food products. Radiation health risks are lung cancer among the general population from indoor exposure to radon, acute radiation syndrome from occupational exposure, thyroid cancer among children in heavily contaminated non-Baltic areas, and mutations among offspring of exposed parents. (+info)
Transfer factors of radioiodine from volcanic-ash soil (Andosol) to crops.
In order to obtain soil-to-plant transfer factors (TFs) of radioiodine from volcanic-ash soil to agricultural crops, we carried out radiotracer experiments. The mean values of TFs (on a wet weight basis) of radioiodine from Andosol to edible parts of crops were as follows: water dropwort, 0.24; lettuce, 0.00098; onion, 0.0011; radish, 0.0044; turnip, 0.0013 and eggplant, 0.00010. The mean value of the TFs of radioiodine for edible parts of wheat (on a dry weight basis) was 0.00015. We also studied the distributions of iodine in crops. There was a tendency for the TFs of leaves to be higher than those of tubers, fruits and grains. A very high TF was found for water dropwort, because this plant was cultivated under a waterlogged condition, in which iodine desorbed from soil into soil solution with a drop in the Eh value. The data obtained in this study should be helpful to assess the long-lived 129I (half life: 1.57 x 10(7) yr) pathway related to the fuel cycle. (+info)
Incorporation and distribution of tritium in rats exposed to tritiated rice or tritiated soybean.
The incorporation and distribution of tritium were examined in rats exposed to tritiated rice or tritiated soybean by single ingestion or continuous feeding. Results were compared with those for tritiated wheat and tritiated water in a previous study done under the same experimental conditions. All the tritiated crops examined were more efficiently incorporated into rat tissues than was tritiated water, the extent of incorporation depending on the kind of crop. The differences in incorporation were clear in organically bound tritium determined as tritium in dried tissue. The respective concentrations of organically bound tritium after a single ingestion of tritiated rice, tritiated wheat or tritiated soybean were about 10-20, 20-30 and 25-60 times higher than after the ingestion of tritiated water. After continuous feeding for 22 days with tritiated rice, tritiated wheat or tritiated soybean, the respective concentrations of organically bound tritium were 5-8, 6-11 and 10-25 times the values after continuous ingestion of tritiated water. At the end of continuous ingestion, the radiation dose rates to almost of the tissues from all three tritiated crops were estimated to be 2-3 times that for tritiated water. (+info)
Biokinetics of tritium incorporation into the tissues of rats during continuous ingestion of tritiated water or tritium-labeled food.
Wistar strain male rats were continuously given tritiated water or tritiated wheat as drinking water or food for 70 days. During the ingestion, the tritium incorporation into rat tissues was examined in both wet and dry samples of liver, kidney, testis and blood. The concentration of organically bound tritium (OBT) in dry tissues of rats exposed to tritiated water (HTO) and 3H-food (tritiated wheat) attained an equilibrium within 2-3 weeks after the exposure. The concentration of OBT in dry tissues of rats exposed to HTO also reached an equilibrium within 3-4 weeks after the exposure. However, rats exposed to 3H-food, except for the liver, such an equilibrium state was not reached in other tissues and the OBT concentrations increased gradually throughout the exposure. The relative concentrations of total 3H and OBT at the end of the chronic ingestion of 3H food (70 day), expressed in percentages of the total activity were 1 and 9 times higher than those in rats exposed to HTO, respectively. In both groups, OBT as well as total 3H was almost uniformly distributed among the tissues examined. (+info)
Uranium concentration in typical Pakistani diet.
To strengthen the radiation protection infrastructure in Pakistan, the uranium concentration in daily diet was measured and its associated radiation risks were estimated for the adult population. Food samples were collected from major cities and districts of the country by the market basket method, from which daily diets were prepared. These diet samples were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Japan, the regional Central Reference Laboratory of the Reference Asian Man Project. The measured values of the uranium content were found to vary from 2.3 ng (g dry)(-1) to 11 ng (g dry)(-1). The geometric mean concentration and geometric standard deviation were 4.5 x//1.7 ng (g dry)(-1). This leads to a daily dietary intake of 2.6 x// 1.7 microg d(-1) or 33 x// 1.7 mBq d(-1), which is approximately 40% higher than the ICRP value. The measured value, i.e. 33 mBq d(-1), contributes 12 Bq y(-1) to annual intake of 238U activity and 0.54 microSv to the committed effective dose to the adult population. This is a very small fraction of the ICRP annual effective dose limit of 1 mSv for the general public. Therefore, it would pose no significant health hazard. (+info)
Natural-series radionuclides in traditional aboriginal foods in tropical northern Australia: a review.
This paper gives a review of available information on natural-series radionuclides in traditional Aboriginal foods of northern Australia. Research on this topic has been carried out primarily for radiological impact assessment purposes in relation to uranium mining activities in the region. Many of the studies have concentrated on providing purely concentration data or concentration ratios, although more detailed uptake studies have been undertaken for freshwater mussels, turtles, and water lilies. The most-studied radionuclides are 238U and 226Ra. However, dose estimates based on current data highlight the importance of 210Po, particularly for the natural (nonmining-related) dose. Data on uptake by terrestrial flora and fauna are scarce in comparison with aquatic organisms, and this knowledge gap will need to be addressed in relation to planning for uranium minesite rehabilitation. (+info)
Removal of 137Cs in Japanese catfish during preparation for consumption.
Japanese catfish contaminated by (137)Cs have been used to investigate how dressing and cooking methods affect the removal of radioactivity from the fish. During the dressing, 6.0% of the initial (137)Cs activity in live fish was removed by washing them, and a further 30.3% of this activity relative to the washed fish was removed by discarding the nonedible body parts (such as the skeleton, fins, visceral mass, liver, and kidney) and by washing the chopped edible remains. Fish curry was cooked with various spices, vegetable oil, and greens and other vegetables following a method commonly used in Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. The cooking process removed a further 61.6% of the (137)Cs activity relative to the activity in dressed fish. Taken together, this normal domestic fish dressing and culinary process removed 74.7% of the initial (137)Cs activity that had been present in the live fish. During the cooking, the radioactivity removed from the fish pieces was found to be distributed throughout the ingredients of the curry. The cooked pieces retained, on average, 38.5% of the radioactivity present in the raw dressed pieces. Among the ingredients, the gravy was found to contain an average of 34.8% of the activity of the dressed fish. The activity in greens and vegetables was found to vary from 4.0% (in cauliflower) to 7.2% (in potatoes). It may be concluded that normal home preparation and culinary processes removed much of the radioactivity from the fish. (+info)