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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2012 Aug;151(1):10-6. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncr440. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

An emergency radiobioassay method for 226Ra in human urine samples.

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National Internal Radiation Assessment Section, Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada.


A new radioanalytical method was developed for rapid determination of (226)Ra in human urine samples. The method is based on organic removal and decolourisation of a urine sample by a polymeric (acrylic ester) solid phase sorbent material followed by extraction and preconcentration of (226)Ra in an organic solvent using a dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction technique. Radiometric measurement of (226)Ra was carried out using a liquid scintillation counting instrument. The minimum detectable activity for the method (0.15 Bq l(-1)) is lower than the required sensitivity of 0.2 Bq l(-1) for (226)Ra in human urine samples as defined in the requirements for radiation emergency bioassay techniques for the public and first responders based on the dose threshold for possible medical attention recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The accuracy (expressed as relative bias, B(r)) and repeatability of the method (expressed as relative precision, S(B)) evaluated at the reference level (2 Bq l(-1)) were found to be -4.5 and 2.6 %, respectively. The sample turnaround time was <5 h for a single urine sample and <20 h for a batch of six urine samples. With the fast sample turnaround time combined with the potential to carry out the analysis in a field deployable mobile laboratory, the newly developed method can be used for emergency radiobioassay of (226)Ra in human urine samples following a radiological or nuclear accident.

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