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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2012 Nov;152(1-3):18-24. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncs196. Epub 2012 Aug 28.

Deposition-based passive monitors for assigning radon, thoron inhalation doses for epidemiological studies.

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Radiological Physics and Advisory Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, India.


The International Commission on Radiological Protection dose limits for radiation protection have been based on linearly extrapolating the high-dose risk coefficients obtained from the Japanese A bomb survivor data to low doses. The validity of these extrapolations has been questioned from time to time. To overcome this, epidemiological studies have been undertaken across the world on populations chronically exposed to low-radiation levels. In the past decade, the results of these studies have yielded widely differing, and sometimes, contradictory, conclusions. While recent residential radon studies have shown statistically significant radon risks at low doses, high-level natural radiation (HLNR) studies in China and India have not shown any low-dose risks. Similar is the case of a congenital malformation study conducted among the HLNR area populations in Kerala, India. It is thus necessary to make efforts at overcoming the uncertainties in epidemiological studies. In the context of HLNR studies, assigning radon and thoron doses has largely been an area of considerable uncertainty. Conventionally, dosimetry is carried out using radon concentration measurements, and doses have been assigned using assumed equilibrium factors for the progeny species. Gas-based dose assignment is somewhat inadequate due to variations in equilibrium factors and possibly due to significant thoron. In this context, passive, deposition-based progeny dosimetry appears to be a promising alternative method to assess inhalation doses directly. It has been deployed in various parts of India, including HBRAs and countries in Europe. This presentation discusses the method, the results obtained and their relevance to dose assignment in Indian epidemiological studies.

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