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Radiation Protection Dosimetry
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 141  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 322 - 327

Preliminary assessment of thoron exposure in Canada

J Chen, J. C Dessau, E Frenette, D Moir and R. J. Cornett    

Abstract:

Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking. 222Rn (radon gas) and 220Rn (thoron gas) are the most common isotopes of radon. In this study, thoron exposure in Canada was assessed based on three community radon/thoron surveys conducted recently. It was confirmed that thoron was detectable in most homes and thoron progeny were present in every home surveyed. Results demonstrated that thoron concentrations varied more widely than radon. No clear correlation between 222Rn and 220Rn concentrations was observed in simultaneous measurements. It is estimated that thoron contributes to about 7 % of the radiation dose due to indoor radon exposure based on measurements in about 260 individual homes. Because indoor measurements and geological gamma-ray surveys did not support a reasonable association between 222Rn and 220Rn, thoron concentrations could not be predicted from widely available indoor radon information. In order to better assess thoron exposure in Canada and thoron risk to the Canadian population in various geographic locations, more thoron progeny measurements are required.

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