A pit lake arises as a consequence of anthropogenic activities in opencast mining areas. These water bodies may be enriched in hazardous stable contaminants and/or in naturally occurring radionuclides depending on the local geological conditions. Mining legacy in Sweden produced hundreds of these pit lakes and most of them are used for recreational purposes in the southern part of the country. In this paper, one pit lake was selected for having enhanced levels of natural radionuclides. Physico-chemical parameters (temperature, pH, oxidation-reduction potential, dissolved oxygen and depth), elemental composition (via Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) and radiometric characterization (via alpha spectrometry of 226Ra, 210Po and 210Pb) were carried along the depth of a 60 m depth pit lake, with the main aim to describe how natural radionuclides and elements behaves with depth in a non-uraniferous pit lake. Based on observed changes in physico-chemical parameters, a thermocline and a chemocline region were identified at around 10 and 30 m depth respectively. Concerning radionuclides, 226Ra ranged from 75 ± 3 up to 360 ± 12 mBq/kg while 210Po ranged from 11 ± 1 up to 71 ± 3 mBq/kg. 210Pb distribution with depth was also determined via secular equilibrium with 210Po after 2 years and also stable Pb was measured. Disequilibrium 226Ra-210Pb was found and the residence time of 210Pb in the water column was assessed. Additionally, different vertical distributions between 210Pb and Pb were found which points out different sources for different lead isotopes in the water body.
Based on new scientific information and broad public consultation, the Government of Canada updated the guideline for exposure to indoor radon and launched a multi-year radon program in 2007. Major achievements accomplished in the past 3 y and current activities underway are highlighted here.
Occupational exposure to combustion products rich in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and particles is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. This study aimed to evaluate whether the risk depended on the age at which the individuals were exposed.
Data from 1042 lung cancer cases and 2364 frequency-matched population controls selected from all men aged 40-75 years residing in Stockholm County, Sweden, at any time between 1985 and 1990, included detailed questionnaire information on occupational, residential, and smoking history. Occupational exposures were assessed by an occupational hygienist, and exposure to air pollution from road traffic was estimated based on dispersion models.
We found that individuals exposed to combustion products in their twenties were at higher risk than those never exposed (adjusted OR = 1.46; 95% CI 1.02, 2.10). The association was still evident after adjusting for a number of potential confounders, including lifetime cumulative exposure and latency. No clear association was found in those exposed at older ages.
Exposure to combustion products at a young age was associated with elevated risk of lung cancer. Exposure-reduction programs should be aware of the susceptibility of the younger employees.
A review and analysis of published information combined with the results of recent gamma ray surveys were used to determine the annual effective dose to Canadians from natural sources of radiation. The dose due to external radiation was determined from ground gamma ray surveys carried out in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Winnipeg and was calculated to be 219 microSv. A compilation of airborne gamma ray data from Canada and the United States shows that there are large variations in external radiation with the highest annual outdoor level of 1424 microSv being found in northern Canada. The annual effective inhalation dose of 926 microSv from 222Rn and 220Rn was calculated from approximately 14,000 measurements across Canada. This value includes a contribution of 128 microSv from 222Rn in the outdoor air together with 6 microSv from long-lived uranium and thorium series radionuclides in dust particles. Based on published information, the annual effective dose due to internal radioactivity is 306 microSv. A program developed by the Federal Aviation Administration was used to calculate a population-weighted annual effective dose from cosmic radiation of 318 microSv. The total population-weighted average annual effective dose to Canadians from all sources of natural background radiation was calculated to be 1769 microSv but varies significantly from city to city, largely due to differences in the inhalation dose from 222Rn.
Based on data from a national residential radon survey performed in 18 cities in Canada in the 1970s, an annual effective dose to the Canadian population due to indoor radon exposure was estimated at 0.71 mSv. An updated estimate of radon exposure in Canada has been made using additional indoor radon data from recent surveys in Ontario and Nova Scotia, and in 28 communities of British Columbia and 15 regions of Quebec. The associated annual effective dose to the Canadian population is now estimated to be 1.15 mSv. The percentage of homes in Canada with radon concentrations above the Canadian Radon Guideline of 200 Bq m(-3) is estimated to be about 3.3 %. As might be expected, this number varies significantly (from a low of 1 % of homes above the Guideline to a high of 19 %) from region to region. Because more radon data are included in the current assessment, and the data set covers broader geographical areas, the current assessment better represents the radon exposure in Canada.
Naturally occurring isotopes of radon in indoor air are identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking. Radon-222 (radon gas) and radon-220 (thoron gas) are the most common isotopes of radon. While extensive radon surveys have been conducted, indoor thoron data are very limited. To better assess thoron exposure in Canada, radon/thoron discriminating detectors were deployed in 45 homes in Fredericton and 65 homes in Halifax for a period of 3 months. In this study, radon concentrations ranged from 16 to 1374 Bq m(-3) with a geometric mean (GM) of 82 Bq m(-3) and a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 2.56 in Fredericton, and from 4 to 2341 Bq m(-3) with a GM of 107 Bq m(-3) and a GSD of 3.67 in Halifax. It is estimated that 18 % of Fredericton homes and 32 % of Halifax homes could have radon concentrations above the Canadian indoor radon guideline of 200 Bq m(-3). This conclusion is significantly higher than the previous estimates made 30 y ago with short-term radon measurements. Thoron concentrations were below the detection limit in 62 % of homes in both cities. Among the homes with detectable thoron concentrations, the values varied from 12 to 1977 Bq m(-3) in Fredericton and from 6 to 206 Bq m(-3) in Halifax. The GM and GSD were 86 Bq m(-3) and 3.19 for Fredericton, and 35 Bq m(-3) and 2.35 for Halifax, respectively. On the basis of these results, together with previous measurements in Ottawa, Winnipeg and the Mont-Laurier region of Quebec, it is estimated that thoron contributes ~8 % of the radiation dose due to indoor radon exposure in Canada.