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Exposure of burrowing mammals to 222Rn

Beresford, N.A.; Barnett, C.L.; Vives i Batlle, J.; Potter, E.D.; Ibrahimi, Z.-F.; Barlow, T.S.; Schieb, C.; Jones, D.G.; Copplestone, D.. 2012 Exposure of burrowing mammals to 222Rn. Science of the Total Environment, 431. 252-261. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.023

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Abstract/Summary

Estimates of absorbed dose rates to wildlife from exposure to natural background radionuclides are required to put estimates of dose rates arising from regulated releases of radioactivity and proposed benchmarks into context. Recent review papers have estimated dose rates to wildlife from 40K, and 238U and 232Th series radionuclides. However, only one study previous has considered the potential dose rates to burrowing animals from inhaled 222Rn and its daughter products. In this paper we describe a study conducted at seven sites in northwest England. Passive track etch detectors were used to measure the 222Rn concentrations in artificial burrows over a period of approximately one year. Results suggest that absorbed dose rates to burrowing mammals as a consequence of exposure to 222Rn are likely to be at least an order of magnitude higher than those suggested in previous evaluations of natural background exposure rates which had omitted this radionuclide and exposure pathway. Dose rates in some areas of Great Britain will be considerably in excess of incremental no-effects benchmark dose rates suggested for use as screening levels. Such advised benchmark dose rates need to be better put into context with background dose rates, including exposure to 222Rn, to ensure credibility; although the context will be determined by the purpose of the benchmark and the assessment level.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.023
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health > BGC - 3.1 - Develop temporally and spatially explicit risk assessment tools ...
BGS Programmes 2010 > Science Facilities
CEH Sections: Shore
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: radioecology, radon, burrowing mammal, environmental assessment, dose rate, background exposure
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 24 Jul 2012 09:36
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/18831

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