Dissertation Abstract

Uncertainty of Inhalation Dose Coefficients for Representative Physical and Chemical Forms of Iodine-131

Publication Number:  AT3069339
Author:  Harvey, Richard
School:  University Of Michigan, School Of Public Health
Date:  2003
Pages:  536
Subject:  Nuclear Medicine, Education

Releases of radioactive material have occurred at various Department of Energy (DOE) weapons facilities and facilities associated with the nuclear fuel cycle in the generation of electricity. Many different radionuclides have been released to the environment with resulting exposure of the population to these various sources of radioactivity. Radioiodine has been released from a number of these facilities and is a potential public health concern due to its physical and biological characteristics.

Iodine exists as various isotopes, but our focus is on 131I due to its relatively long half-life, its prevalence in atmospheric releases and its contribution to offsite dose. The assumption of physical and chemical form is speculated to have a profound impact on the deposition of radioactive material within the respiratory tract. In the case of iodine, it has been shown that more than one type of physical and chemical form may be released to, or exist in, the environment; iodine can exist as a particle or as a gas. The gaseous species can be further segregated based on chemical form: elemental, inorganic, and organic iodides. Chemical compounds in each class are assumed to behave similarly with respect to biochemistry.

Studies at Oak Ridge National Laboratories have demonstrated that 131I is released as a particulate, as well as in elemental, inorganic and organic chemical form. The internal dose estimate from 131I may be very different depending on the effect that chemical form has on fractional deposition, gas uptake, and clearance in the respiratory tract. There are many sources of uncertainty in the estimation of environmental dose including source term, airborne transport of radionuclides, and internal dosimetry. Knowledge of uncertainty in internal dosimetry is essential for estimating dose to members of the public and for determining total uncertainty in dose estimation.

Important calculational steps in any lung model is regional estimation of deposition fractions and gas uptake of radionuclides in various regions of the lung. Variability in regional radionuclide deposition within lung compartments may significantly contribute to the overall uncertainty of the lung model. The uncertainty of lung deposition and biological clearance is dependent upon physiological and anatomical parameters of individuals as well as characteristic parameters of the particulate material. These parameters introduce uncertainty into internal dose estimates due to their inherent variability. Anatomical and physiological input parameters are age and gender dependent. This work has determined the uncertainty in internal dose estimates and the sensitive parameters involved in modeling particulate deposition and gas uptake of different physical and chemical forms of 131I with age and gender dependencies.

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