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The radiological impact of naturally-occurring radionuclides in foods from the wild

By N. Green and National Radiological Protection Board (United Kingdom)

Abstract

Habit surveys have been conducted to identify people who make use of foodstuffs collected from the wild (free foods) in two areas of the UK: in the area around Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, where levels of naturally-occurring radionuclides in soil were expected to be typical of the UK, and in the vicinity of Okehampton in Devon, where levels were known to be elevated. Individuals who make regular use of these foodstuffs were specifically identified, so that an estimate of typical and higher than average consumption rates could be derived. The naturally-occurring radionuclides of interest were "2"1"0Po, "2"1"0Pb, "2"3"4U, "2"3"5U, "2"3"8U, "2"3"0Th, "2"3"2Th and "2"2"6Ra. Samples of important foodstuffs were collected and the radionuclides of interest determined. The consumption rates were combined with the measured activity concentrations and published dose coefficients to estimate doses to average and higher than average consumers. These doses were compared with estimated doses reported in the Food Standards Agency's ongoing monitoring programme and with average doses to the population of the UK reviewed by NRPB. In total, 400 people were identified and between them they collected 54 different types of free food. Blackberries were by far the most common species collected, although various types of mushroom and nuts were also popular. On average, each collector from around Chipping Norton collected 2.1 different foods, and each from around Okehampton collected 2.2. On the basis of the habit survey, therefore, it would be reasonable to expect that any site, nuclear or otherwise, chosen for habit surveys, whether for radiological purposes or for any other contaminant, could have substantial numbers of people collecting free foods. In addition, the pattern of foods collected was very similar to previous studies, indicating similarities across England and Wales. Doses from the consumption of free foods were estimated. The annual doses estimated to have been received by a typical consumer of all the free foods collected were about 29 #mu#Sv and 156 #mu#Sv for the areas around Chipping Norton and Okehampton respectively. The corresponding doses to a higher than average consumer of the two most significant foodstuffs from each area were estimated to be 84 #mu#Sv and 273 #mu#Sv. The estimated doses to those people collecting free foods around Chipping Norton were low compared with those due to the consumption of naturally-occurring radionuclides in regional diet. However, estimated doses to people who collected free foods around Okehampton were comparable with those implied from consumption of regional diet. Hence, when assessments of doses from the food chain are required in such areas, then the collection of free foods should be taken into account. (author)Includes bibliographical referencesAvailable from British Library Document Supply Centre- DSC:9091.9( NRPB-W30) / BLDSC - British Library Document Supply CentreSIGLEGBUnited Kingdo

Topics: 06R - Radiobiology, radiation biology, NATURAL RADIOACTIVITY, FOOD, FOOD CHAINS, POLONIUM 210, LEAD 210, URANIUM 234, URANIUM 235, URANIUM 238, THORIUM 230, THORIUM 232, RADIATION DOSES, HUMAN POPULATIONS
Publisher: Didcot (United Kingdom) : National Radiological Protection Board
Year: 2002
OAI identifier:
Provided by: OpenGrey Repository
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