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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 165-168  

Radon measurements in water samples from western desert of Egypt using nuclear track detectors and estimation of corresponding doses

Department of Security Studies, Nuclear Security Programme, Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication10-Apr-2015

Correspondence Address:
A S Hussein
Department of Security Studies, Nuclear Security Programme, Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.154879

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Radon ( 222 Rn) is a natural radioactive gas originating from U-238 series and is the decay product of radium-226, which occurs in rocks, soil, natural gas and ground water. Radon in air and domestic water supplies can cause human exposure to radiation dose both through inhalation and ingestion. Epidemiological studies have provided convincing evidence of an association between radon exposure and different types of cancer. The principal objective of this work was to determine the radon concentration in different water samples collected from the western desert of Egypt using alpha tracks method. The obtained results reveal that there is no significant public health risk from radon ingested with drinking water in the study region.

Keywords: Egypt, environmental water samples, LR115 detectors, radon

How to cite this article:
Hussein A S. Radon measurements in water samples from western desert of Egypt using nuclear track detectors and estimation of corresponding doses. Radiat Prot Environ 2014;37:165-8

How to cite this URL:
Hussein A S. Radon measurements in water samples from western desert of Egypt using nuclear track detectors and estimation of corresponding doses. Radiat Prot Environ [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Jan 28];37:165-8. Available from: https://www.rpe.org.in/text.asp?2014/37/3/165/154879

  Introduction Top

Radon ( 222 Rn) is a naturally occurring radionuclide; it is a gas that is formed by a series of radioactive decay of uranium-238. Radium-226 ( 226 Ra) is the parent radionuclide of 222 Rn in the decay series, and 226 Ra is found in a wide variety of rocks, soil, natural gas and ground water. [1] Radon and its decay products called radon daughters or radon progeny emit highly ionizing alpha-radiation. Radon has been classified as a human carcinogen. [2] Since environmental radon on an average account for about an half of total human exposure to radiation from natural sources as shown in [Figure 1]. [3] Radon is soluble in water and this route of exposure may also be important if high concentrations are found in drinking water. If such water is ingested, the biokinetic models predict that the short-lived daughter products remain in the stomach for several tens of minutes before being passed on to the small intestine where it is transferred to blood and is rapidly cleared from the body. Calculations show that the dose to the lining of the stomach can be significant, [4] Thus, assessing 222 Rn in water in addition to that in air is an important step in reducing the potential exposure to it. On other hand, the use of water in dwelling may result in enhanced indoor concentration levels of 222 Rn depending on the total consumption of water in the dwelling, the size of the dwelling, and the rate of air ventilation. [5]
Figure 1: Sources and average distribution of natural background radiation for the world population [3]

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Radon activity concentration measurements were carried out in different water samples from different areas in the world using alpha track detectors with cup-techniques. [6],[7],[8],[9],[10] During recent years, numerous papers have appeared in the literature demonstrating the ever interest in monitoring radon in the different environments in Egypt. [11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24],[25],[26] LR-115 detectors have high sensitivity, low cost, easy to handle and retain a permanent record of the data. Also, these detectors are incorporated the effects of seasonal and diurnal fluctuation of radon activity concentrations due to physical and geological factors as well as meteorological factors. [1],[27]

The aim of the present work is to determine the radon activity concentrations in different water samples in different areas in Egypt as well as radon health effects.

  Materials and methods Top

Water samples from deferent locations in the western desert of Egypt were collected and analyzed using closed cup technique as shown in [Figure 2]. The collected water sample each of about 1 L was poured into glass bottles. A track detector "LR115" of size 1.5 cm × 1.5 cm is housed in the bottom of an aluminum cup. The cup is attached to the glass bottle and sealed with adhesive tape to prevent the radon leakage. After an exposure time of 30 days, the dosimeter cups were separated from the samples bottles. The detectors were removed and treated using the mentioned method.
Figure 2: Map of Egypt showing the investigated area

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The radon activity concentration Ca in the air volume of the cup above water samples was determined from the following formula:

Where ρ is the measured track density, η Rn is radon calibration coefficient in terms α- tracks cm-2 day -1 per Bq m-3 and T is the exposure time [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Schematic diagram of radon detection in water [28]

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According to Somogy et al., 1986 and Jonsson, 1999, the radon activity concentration Cw in the water can be estimated through an empirical formula given by:

Where f is a calibration factor, which depends on the area of the water bottle and on the mean temperature °C of the water during the exposure time [Figure 3].

The effective dose due to radon ingested with water was estimated from the relation;

Where Cw is the radon activity concentration (Bq/L), l is the annual consumption and D is the dose conversion factor (Sv/Bq).

The UNSCEAR-1993 estimated that the committed effective dose from the ingestion of radon in water is 10−8 Sv/Bq for an adult, 2 × 10−8 Sv/Bq for a child and 7 × 10−8 Sv/Bq for an infant. [29] The US National Research Council-1999 suggests a lower conversion factor of 0.35 × 10−8 Sv/Bq without any distinction between age groups.

  Results and discussion Top

The obtained results for radon activity concentration values in different types of water samples from the western desert of Egypt are given in [Table 1]. Using the annual consumption of 730 L for adults and dose conversion factor given by UNSCEAR 1993, effective doses due to radon in drinking water were calculated.
Table 1: Radon activity concentrations (Cw) and effective dose for water samples

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From [Table 1], it is clear the effective doses due to radon in drinking water will not pose a significant health risk. Results are in good agreement with some values previously reported in the literature. [30],[31],[32],[33] [Table 2] shows the comparison of results obtained from this study with other national and international works for radon activity concentrations in water using the same technique.
Table 2: Comparison of Radon activity concentrations in water with other works

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As shown in [Table 2], the results obtained in this study of radon activity concentrations for different types of water look similar to some available data reported in the literature. Also, radon activities in the studied samples did not exceed the maximum level of contamination of 11 Bq/L reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency. [36] UNSCEAR 2000 reports the average concentration of radon in water to 10 Bq/L with worldwide values ranging from 1 to 100 Bq/L.

  Conclusions Top

In this study, an attempt has been made to estimate the radon concentrations in environmental water samples from different locations of the western desert of Egypt. These measurements were made using LR115 etched track detectors with cup-technique. This technique is passive and convenient tool for determining radon activity concentration in water samples. Measured values of radon activity concentrations in water samples reflect a very low background radiation area. Thus, results reveal that the site area is safe as far as health hazards are concerned. In the near future, we planned to use both active and passive techniques to measure radon activity concentrations in indoor air and in water in the western desert of Egypt.

  References Top

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UNSCEAR, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, Report to the General Assembly. New York: United Nations; 2000  Back to cited text no. 3
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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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