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Environ Geochem Health (2007) 29:249–255 DOI 10.1007/s10653-007-9082-4

ORIGINAL PAPER

ORIGINAL PAPER

Enhancement of radon exposure in smoking areas

Hayam A. Abdel Ghany

Received: 13 January 2006 / Accepted: 19 January 2007 / Published online: 7 March 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Abstract Radium-226 is a significant source of radon-222 which enters buildings through soil, construction materials or water supply. When

radioactive) effect of smoking as a risk factor for lung cancer.

cigarette smoke is present, the radon daughters

Keywords

220, 222 Rn Tobacco Nuclear track

attach to smoke particles. Thus, the alpha radia-

detectors

tion to a smoker’s lungs from the natural radon daughters is increased because of smoking. To investigate whether the cigarette tobacco itself is

Introduction

a potential source of indoor radon, the a potential energy exposure level contents of radon ( 222 Rn, 3.82d) and Thoron ( 220 Rn, 55.60s) were measured in 10 different cigarette tobacco samples using CR-39 solid-state nuclear track detectors (SSNTDs). The results showed that the 222, 220 Rn concentrations in these samples ranged from 128 to 266 and 49 to 148 Bqm 3 , respec- tively. The radon concentrations emerged from all investigated samples were significantly higher than the background level. Also, the annual equivalent doses from the samples were deter- mined. The mean values of the equivalent dose were 3.51 (0.89) and 1.44 (0.08) mSvy 1 , respec-

Radon and the isotopes of its short-lived decay products represent the main source of public exposure from natural radiation. They contribute nearly 50% of the global effective dose to population (UNSCEAR, 1993; Choubey et al., 2004a). Indoor radon and its decay products usually come from soil, building materials, and water supply. The radioactive decay products of radon, charged ions, have a static charge that enables easy attachment to water vapor, dust, and smoke particles in the air (Kilthau, 1996; Chou- bey et al., 2004b). Considering the chemical composition of tobacco smoke as carbon dioxide

tively. Measurement of the average indoor radon

(CO 2 ), the attachment of radon and its daughters

concentrations in 20 cafe´ rooms was, significantly,

is

probable. Numerous studies on the attachment

higher than 20 smoking-free residential houses.

of radon progeny to ambient aerosol particles

The result refers to the dual (chemical and

have been carried out. The major attachment theory basically consists of a diffusion theory and

H. A. Abdel Ghany (& ) Physics Department, Faculty of Girls for Art, Science and Education, Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt e-mail: Hayam168@maktoob.com

a kinetic theory. The attachment is proportional

to the particle size for particles >1 lm and to the particle surface area for particles <0.1 lm (Por- stendorfer & Mercer, 1978). The inhalation of

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Environ Geochem Health (2007) 29:249–255

radon and its short-lived decay products is con- sidered an etiological factor of lung cancer. Indoor cigarette smoking enhances the air con- centration of submicron particles, which trap radon decay products. It has been reported that radon decay products that pass from room air through burning cigarettes into mainstream smoke are present in large, insoluble smoke particles that selectively deposited at bronchial bifurcation of the inhabitant (Romola & Chou- bey, 2003), where the attached radon progeny undergo substantial radioactive decay before clearance. Also, for over 20 years it has been known that all types of tobacco contain radioac- tive 210 Po (138.38d), which emits alpha particles and radioactive 210 Pb (22.3y), which emits beta particles and is a precursor of 210 Po. There is a degree of consensus about how tobacco becomes radioactive (Martell, 1974). Most soils contain radioactive elements such as radium, which decays into 210 Pb and 210 Po. In addition, Phos- phate ore used as a fertilizer in tobacco fields may contain such isotopes in relatively high concen- trations. Thus it was anticipated that tobacco plants can absorb 210 Pb and 210 Po through their roots (Cross, 1984). During tobacco processing, the radiation is not completely removed. Consequently, in addition to the traditional implication of smoking cigarette in lung cancer, the high incidence of lung cancer in cigarette smokers and nonsmokers may be attributed to the cumulative effect of a-radiation dose from indoor radon and thoron progeny generated and/or trapped by tobacco and its smoke (Radford & Hunt 1964). This triggers the interest of measuring 220,222 Rn and their progenies in different samples of tobacco, which is widely consumed by smokers in Egypt and to investigate the difference between indoor radon concentration in smoke- free and smoke-rich environments (Little, Rad- ford, McCombs, & Hunt, 1965).

Experimental procedure

A CR-39 (Intercast, Italy) nuclear track detector with a thickness of 500 lm was used in this work. Measurements were made in 10 different tobacco

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cigarette samples coded T1-T10. A fixed amount

of tobacco sample (10 gm, which corresponds to

15 cigarettes) was placed in plastic containers. The container was 7 cm height and 5.2 cm in diameter. A piece of CR-39 detector with area

1 · 1 cm 2 was embedded in the sample in each container. At the same time a second piece of CR-39 detector was held at the top of the container (Fig. 1). Measurements were carried out four times for each sample. The cups were left at room temperature for two months exposure time. During this time a- particles from the decay of radon, thoron and their daughters bombard the CR-39 nuclear track detectors in the air volume of the cup. After exposure the detectors were etched chemically with 6 N NaOH solution at 70 C for 6 h. The tracks were counted using an optical microscope. This arrangement ensures that the lower detec- tor recorded alpha particles from radon, thoron and their daughter products present in the Tobacco samples. The upper detector, however records only the 222 Rn component. Consequently, the difference in the track densities of the two detectors represents the content of 220 Rn and their daughters in the sample. The density of tracks counted was assumed to be proportional to

the 220,222 Rn exposure (Hafez, Hussein, & Ras- heed, 2000). The track density (q) recorded on the detector, attenuation factor of 222 Rn (k), calibra- tion coefficient of measuring system in terms of

cm 2 d 1 Bqm 3 (g), and exposure time (t) have been applied to determine the 222 Rn concentra- tion (C). Using formula 1:

C ¼

q

kgt

ð

1 Þ

The potential of energy alpha concentration (PEAC) of 222 Rn and 220 Rn daughters in terms of working level (WL) units was calculated using formula 2:

Wl ¼ F CRn = 3700

ð 2 Þ

where F is the equilibrium factor of 0.4 (Ali, Taha, El-Hussein, Ahamed, & Gommaa, 2001). The annual effective dose equivalent, D, (in unit of mSvy 1 ) is computed from the integrated

Environ Geochem Health (2007) 29:249–255

251

Fig. 1

sealed-cup technique

Schematic of the

Cup height

(7cm)

222 Rn concentration using the following formula International commission on radiological protec- tion (ICRP-65, 1993).

D ¼

0 :4R ð 3 : 88 Þ 700 = 3700 170

where, R is the integrated 222 Rn—concentration in Bqm 3 and 3.88 mSv WLM 1 is the ICRP conversion factor. The other factors are to take account of the house occupancy factor (ICRP-65,

1993).

Radon and thoron were measured in 20 resi- dential houses and 20 cafe´ rooms using CR-39 plastic track detectors. The selected houses were occupied with nonsmoking inhabitants and the detectors were placed in totally smoke-free areas. Four small pieces of detector 1 · 1 cm 2 were fixed in every cane for each house or cafe´ room. The dosimeters were suspended inside the 20 houses and 20 cafe´ rooms. The detectors were exposed for two months and, after retrieval, were etched and scanned as described above.

Results and discussion

Although a significant portion of lung cancer occurs in nonsmokers, tobacco smoking is the most common risk factor for lung cancer (Be- hera & Balamugesh, 2005). Darby et al. (2005) provided compelling evidence that indoor 222 Rn is an important contributor to the risk of lung cancer. However, the derived estimate of 222 Rn- attributable lung cancers may have a low bias. The authors estimated an increase in lung cancer risk of 16% for each incremental 100 Bqm 3 of 222 Rn from a pooling of the

100 Bqm – 3 of 2 2 2 Rn from a pooling of the CR-39 detector

CR-39 detector

(1x1cm)

Cover 222Rn 222Rn + 220Rn Tobacco sample
Cover
222Rn
222Rn + 220Rn
Tobacco
sample

CR-39 detector

(1x1cm)

European residential case-control studies. They estimated that 222 Rn may contribute to 9% of all lung cancers in those countries on the basis of an estimated average 222 Rn concentration of 59 Bqm 3 for 29 European countries. Although

a huge amount of data is available about the

biological effect of tobacco smoking, here we investigate the possible involvement of 222 Rn derived from tobacco as a risk factor of lung cancer. The study investigated the 222 Rn and 220 Rn content of 10 different tobacco samples (coded T1–T10) used in cigarette manufacture. The data obtained revealed that sample T5 recorded the highest level of 222 Rn whereas T6 contained the highest level of 220 Rn. Compared to the background levels (106 ± 3 Bqm 3 and 20 Bqm 3 ) all samples had significantly higher 222 Rn and 220 Rn values (Fig. 2). In descending order, the 222 Rn concentrations

among the investigated samples were those of T5, T1, T7, T2, T4, T6, T3, T9, T10 and T8. In terms

of 220 Rn concentrations the order was T6, T4, T7,

T1, T9, T5, T3, T8, T2 and T10. The high 222 Rn and/or 220 Rn contents in the tobacco samples may be attributed to the escape of these elements from the soil, where most soils contain radium, a radioactive element, that decays into 210 Pb and

210 Po. In addition, phosphate ore used to make fertilizers, which is used in tobacco fields, may contain these isotopes in relatively high concen- trations. Tobacco plants can absorb 210 Pb and 210 Po through their roots (Martell, 1974). The potential of energy alpha (PEA) of 222 Rn and 220 Rn concentrations were calculated (Fig. 3). The alpha activities due to the 222 Rn columns were observed to be higher than those

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Environ Geochem Health (2007) 29:249–255

Fig. 2 Radon and thoron concentrations in 10 tobacco samples. An asterisk refers to a significant difference between the corresponding sample and the background level for the same isotope using the unpaired t test. BG is the background value

Fig. 3

thoron in ten tobacco samples

PAE of radon and

300 222Rn 250 220Rn 200 150 100 50 0 q(.cnoCnodR a mB 3- )
300
222Rn
250
220Rn
200
150
100
50
0
q(.cnoCnodR
a
mB
3- )

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

T7

Samples

T8

T9

T10

BG

35 PEA 222Rn 30 PEA220 Rn 25 20 15 10 5 0 T1 T2 T3
35
PEA 222Rn
30
PEA220 Rn
25
20
15
10
5
0
T1
T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
T8
T9
T10
)lw/m(norohtdnanodarfoEAP

Samples

due to the 220 Rn series for different investigated tobacco samples. This is due to the fact that the corresponding tobacco material samples contain more 238 U(4.468 · 10 9 y) than 228 Th (1.913 y). Also, note that the half-life of thoron ( 220 Rn) is too short (55.60 s) compared to the exposure time (two months) of the SSNTD films inside the plastic container (Misdaq & Flata 2003). Consequently, it is anticipated that smokers consuming tobaccos T1, T2, T4, T5, T6 and T7 samples are exposed to higher alpha doses. Previous studies (Lagarde et al., 2001) have indi- cated that in a smoker’s lungs the ciliary action to clear the lungs is reduced to about half the normal. The average length of time during which the insoluble forms of 210 Pb and 210 Po remain at the bronchial bifurcations is 3–5 months. Coinciden- tally, the surface tissue of smokers’ bronchi at the bifurcations is replaced by damaged abnormal tissue. The exhalation rates of both 222 Rn and 220 Rn in different tobacco samples have been deter- mined (Fig. 4). The value of radon and thoron

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exhalation rates varies from 6.71 mBqm 3 h 1 for the T8 sample to 13.97 mBqm 3 h 1 for the T5 sample and 2.57 mBqm 3 h 1 for the T2 sample to 7.76 mBqm 3 h 1 for the T6 sample. The concentrations of 222 Rn and 220 Rn proge- nies are shown in Fig. 5. The values of 222 Rn progeny concentration were lower in T8 (51 Bqm 3 ) and higher in T5 (106 Bqm 3 ). Also, the values of 220 Rn progeny were lower in the T2 and T10 samples (19 Bqm 3 ) and higher in T6 (59 Bqm 3 ) (Romola, Negy, & Choubey, 2005). Indoor air quality is a contributing factor of lung cancer, although the attributable lung cancer risk from 222 Rn in homes may be low. Due to the presence of dust, the 222 Rn and 220 Rn daughters (from building materials, soil, or underground water supply) mainly attach to room surfaces, but indoor smoking allows 222 Rn daughters to attach to smoke particles. Thus, the alpha radiation to a smoker’s lungs from the natural 222 Rn daughters is increased because of smoking. The resulting estimates of dose due to the presence of 222 Rn, 220 Rn and their daughters are

Environ Geochem Health (2007) 29:249–255

253

Fig. 4

exhalation rates in 10 tobacco samples

Radon and thoron

Fig. 5

concentrations of radon and thoron progenies in

10 tobacco samples

Distribution of the

Fig. 6 Resulting dose due to radon and thoron in 10 tobacco samples

16 222Rn 14 220Rn 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 norohTdnanodaR 3- h 1-
16
222Rn
14
220Rn
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
norohTdnanodaR
3- h 1- )
setaRnoitaxE mqBm(lah

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

Samples

T7

T8

T9

T10

222Rn 120 220Rn 100 80 60 40 20 0 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6
222Rn
120
220Rn
100
80
60
40
20
0
T1
T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
T8
T9
T10
Samples
-3 )mqB(seine
nnodaR
ohTda
gorPnro
5 222Rn 4.5 220Rn 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 T1 T2
5
222Rn
4.5
220Rn
4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
T1
T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
T8
T9
T10
norohTdnanodaRfoesoDtnelaviuqe
1- )
yvSm(

Samples

shown in Fig. 6. Most of the values of radon and thoron observed were, respectively, 2.21-4.59 (mSvy 1 ) with high values in T5 and low values in T8 samples, and 0.84–2.55 (mSvy 1 ) with high values in T6 and low values in T2 and T10 samples. However, the fact that these higher doses of radiation are delivered to vulnerable tissue at the location where malignancy is most frequently observed argues strongly for alpha

radiation playing the most important role in causing lung cancer. These values correspond to 2/3 of a pack of cigarette, which means these values will increase by 25% when a complete pack is used (Abu-Jarad, 1997). The measured values of both radon and thoron in residential houses and cafe´ rooms (n = 20 each) are shown in Table 1. Radon and thoron concentrations, in most cases, were found to be

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Environ Geochem Health (2007) 29:249–255

Table 1

thoron concentrations in

residential houses and cafe´ rooms

Radon and

* 222 Rn and ** 220 Rn were significantly and highly significant lower (respectively) in residential houses compared with cafe´ rooms (P \ 0.0001 and \ 0.0001, respectively) (estimated by unpaired t test).

Location no.

Residential houses

Cafe´ room

 
 

222 Rn (Bqm 3 )

220 Rn (Bqm 3 )

222 Rn

(Bqm 3 )

220 Rn (Bqm 3 ) 25 ± 1.56 29 ± 1.81 30 ± 1.87 27 ± 1.68 24 ± 1.50 29 ± 1.81 26 ± 1.62 28 ± 1.75 30 ± 1.87 30 ± 1.87 26 ± 1.62 31 ± 1.93 29 ± 1.81 25 ± 1.56 30 ± 1.87 28 ± 1.75 31 ± 1.93 27 ± 1.68 24 ± 1.50 28 ± 1.75 30 ± 1.87 33 ± 2.06 28 ± 1.75 31 ± 1.93 29 ± 1.81 27 ± 1.68 34 ± 2.12 26 ± 1.62 32 ± 2.00 29 ± 1.81 28.53 ± 1.78

1

55 ± 3.44

15 ± 0.93

110 ± 6.88 105 ± 6.56 114 ± 7.13 112 ± 7.00 100 ± 6.25 103 ± 6.44 100 ± 6.25 105 ± 6.56 99 ± 6.19 104 ± 6.50 101 ± 6.31 99 ± 6.19 108 ± 6.75 100 ± 6.25 115 ± 7.19 110 ± 6.88 113 ± 7.06 98 ± 6.12 117 ± 7.31 110 ± 6.88 105 ± 6.56 110 ± 6.88 100 ± 6.25 97 ± 6.06 106 ± 6.62 110 ± 6.88 99 ± 6.19 115 ± 7.19 111 ± 6.94 97 ± 6.06 105.76 ± 6.61

2

41 ± 2.56

13 ± 0.81

3

51 ± 3.18

11 ± 0.68

4

44 ± 2.75

12 ± 0.75

5

50 ± 3.12

14 ± 0.87

6

60 ± 3.75

11 ± 0.68

7

42 ± 2.62

14 ± 0.87

8

45 ± 2.81

15 ± 0.93

9

41 ± 2.56

13 ± 0.81

10

67 ± 4.19

14 ± 0.87

11

71 ± 4.44

12 ± 0.75

12

48 ± 3.00

14 ± 0.87

13

43 ± 2.68

11 ± 0.68

14

51 ± 3.18

16 ± 1.00

15

52 ± 3.25

15 ± 0.93

16

56 ± 3.50

13 ± 0.81

17

41 ± 2.56

11 ± 0.68

18

53 ± 3.31

14 ± 0.87

19

55 ± 3.44

10 ± 0.62

20

48 ± 3.00

12 ± 0.75

21

43 ± 2.68

11 ± 0.68

22

47 ± 2.93

13 ± 0.81

23

63 ± 3.94

14 ± 0.87

24

45 ± 2.81

10 ± 0.62

25

53 ± 3.31 60 ± 3.75 70 ± 4.37 52 ± 3.25 49 ± 3.06 73 ± 4.56 52.3 ± 3.27*

11 ± 0.68 15 ± 0.93 12 ± 0.75 11 ± 0.68 13 ± 0.81 10 ± 0.62 12.66 ± 0.79**

26

27

28

29

30

Average ± SD

higher in cafe´ rooms than residential houses. It is probable that the smoke-rich air of the cafe´ room enhances the presence of such elements com- pared to the relatively smoke-free environment. Smokers exposed to the higher indoor radon and thoron levels should experience the highest risk and the earliest incidence of lung cancer. This possibility was investigated cytogenetically by Brandom, Saccomanno, Archer, Archer, and Bloom (1987), who showed that chromosome aberrations in cultured peripheral blood lympho- cytes are a sensitive measure of cumulative exposure to radon progeny. If most smokers who develop bronchial cancer are those with the highest cumulative radon progeny exposure, they should exhibit the highest prevalence of the indicator aberrations. Cigarette smokers exposed occupationally to inhalation of fibrous aerosols or toxic chemicals agents that damage the bronchial

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epithelium and impair clearance may experience bronchial cancer at lower cumulative radon progeny exposures. Lung cancer is a serious chronic health effect of cigarette smoking and indoor radon progeny may be a factor in the etiology of some of the other cancers, in particular of the larynx, pharynx, and esophagus.

Conclusion

Based on the results obtained from this study the concentrations of radon 222 Rn and thoron 220 Rn in 10 tobacco samples showed that the highest concentrations were observed in the T5 and T6 samples. This is mainly attributable to the soil and fertilizers, which are the source of the radioactive isotopes. Annual equivalent doses due to radon,

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thoron and its short-lived daughters from the inhalation of various cigarette smokes have been evaluated.

Acknowledgement I would like to thank Dr. M. A. El- Khosht Prof. of Radiation Physics, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, for his useful comments and assistance.

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