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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 202-204

Estimation of thorium lung burden in mineral separation plant workers by Thoron-in-breath measurements

1 Health Physics Unit, Indian Rare Earths Ltd., Environmental Assessment Division, BARC, Mumbai, India
2 IRE Ltd., Manavalakurichi, India

Correspondence Address:
Sujata Radhakrishnan
Health Physics Unit, Indian Rare Earths Ltd., Environmental Assessment Division, BARC, Mumbai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The Mineral Separation Plant (MSP) of M/s Indian Rare Earths Ltd at Manavalakurichi in Tamil Nadu is engaged in the processing of beach sands to separate ilmenite, monazite, rutile, sillimanite, garnet and zircon. The mining and mineral separation of these sands involves occupational radiation exposure. Inhalation of airborne particulates of monazite is the major route of internal exposure. Thoron - in - breath measurements are carried out on the workers of the plant. From this, the Th lung burden is calculated assuming 9% exhalation of thoron generated in the lung. Th burdens for workers from different operations of the plant range from 8.5Bq to 95Bq. This corresponds to less than 15% of Annual Limit for Intake (ALI) for thorium. The data validates the control measures adopted in the plant to keep the exposures As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA).

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