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Radionuclides in the lichen-caribou-human food chain near uranium mining operations in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10378999     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
The richest uranium ore bodies ever discovered (Cigar Lake and McArthur River) are presently under development in northeastern Saskatchewan. This subarctic region is also home to several operating uranium mines and aboriginal communities, partly dependent upon caribou for subsistence. Because of concerns over mining impacts and the efficient transfer of airborne radionuclides through the lichen-caribou-human food chain, radionuclides were analyzed in tissues from 18 barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus). Radionuclides included uranium (U), radium (226Ra), lead (210Pb), and polonium (210Po) from the uranium decay series; the fission product (137Cs) from fallout; and naturally occurring potassium (40K). Natural background radiation doses average 2-4 mSv/year from cosmic rays, external gamma rays, radon inhalation, and ingestion of food items. The ingestion of 210Po and 137Cs when caribou are consumed adds to these background doses. The dose increment was 0.85 mSv/year for adults who consumed 100 g of caribou meat per day and up to 1.7 mSv/year if one liver and 10 kidneys per year were also consumed. We discuss the cancer risk from these doses. Concentration ratios (CRs), relating caribou tissues to lichens or rumen (stomach) contents, were calculated to estimate food chain transfer. The CRs for caribou muscle ranged from 1 to 16% for U, 6 to 25% for 226Ra, 1 to 2% for 210Pb, 6 to 26% for 210Po, 260 to 370% for 137Cs, and 76 to 130% for 40K, with 137Cs biomagnifying by a factor of 3-4. These CRs are useful in predicting caribou meat concentrations from the lichens, measured in monitoring programs, for the future evaluation of uranium mining impacts on this critical food chain.
Authors:
P A Thomas; T E Gates
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental health perspectives     Volume:  107     ISSN:  0091-6765     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Health Perspect.     Publication Date:  1999 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1999-07-29     Completed Date:  1999-07-29     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330411     Medline TA:  Environ Health Perspect     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  527-37     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. thomasp@sask.usask.ca
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Animals
Child
Child, Preschool
Female
Food Chain*
Food Contamination, Radioactive*
Gamma Rays
Humans
Lichens / metabolism*
Male
Mining*
Radiation Dosage
Radioisotopes / analysis*
Reindeer / metabolism*
Risk Assessment
Uranium / analysis*
Chemical
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Radioisotopes; 7440-61-1/Uranium
Comments/Corrections

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Full Text
Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Environ Health Perspect
ISSN: 0091-6765
Article Information
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Print publication date: Month: 7 Year: 1999
Volume: 107 Issue: 7
First Page: 527 Last Page: 537
ID: 1566655
PubMed Id: 10378999
Publisher Item Identifier: sc271_5_1835

Radionuclides in the lichen-caribou-human food chain near uranium mining operations in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.
P A Thomas
T E Gates
Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. thomasp@sask.usask.ca



Article Categories:
  • Research Article


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