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The impact of phosphate loading activities on near marine environment: The Syrian coast

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The impact of loading cargoes of phosphate ore into ships on the near marine environment at the Syrian coast has been evaluated. Results have shown a significant enhancement of 210Po, 210Pb and other natural radionuclides in sediment and surface water inside the port area. The highest 210Po and 210Pb concentrations observed in sediment were found to be 170 and 64 Bq kg(-1) respectively, while 210Pb and 210Po concentrations in surface water ranged from 5 to 20 mBq l(-1) and 0.93 to 3.23 mBq l(-1). In addition, comparable values of 210Po and 210Pb for all marine organisms (algae, crab and fish) suggest that their use as indicators for phosphate pollution is not recommended. However, the effect of loading cargoes on the port marine environment of Tartous was found to be mainly related to wind direction where radioactive air particulate are either being dispersed to land or sea.
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Journal of
Environmental Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–44
The impact of phosphate loading activities on
near marine environment: the Syrian coast
M.S. Al-Masri*, S. Mamish, Y. Budeir
Department of Protection and Safety, Atomic Energy Commission of Syria, P. O. Box 6091, Damascus,
Syria
Received 1 December 2000; received in revised form 14 March 2001; accepted 27 March 2001
Abstract
The impact of loading cargoes of phosphate ore into ships on the near marine environment
at the Syrian coast has been evaluated. Results have shown a significant enhancement of
210
Po,
210
Pb and other natural radionuclides in sediment and surface water inside the port area. The
highest
210
Po and
210
Pb concentrations observed in sediment were found to be 170 and
64 Bq kg
@1
, respectively, while
210
Pb and
210
Po concentrations in surface water ranged from 5
to 20 mBq l
@1
and 0.93 to 3.23 mBq l
@1
. In addition, comparable values of
210
Po and
210
Pb
for all marine organisms (algae, crab and fish) suggest that their use as indicators for
phosphate pollution is not recommended. However, the effect of loading cargoes on the port
marine environment of Tartous was found to be mainly related to wind direction where
radioactive air particulate are either being dispersed to land or sea. r2001 Elsevier Science
Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Phosphate industry; Marine environment;
210
Po;
210
Pb; Tartous port; Syrian coast
1. Introduction
The phosphate industry is considered to be one of the potential sources of natural
radionuclide contamination (
238
U and
232
Th decay series). These natural radio-
nuclides may be concentrated in the solid waste such as phosphogypsum, the effluent
discharges and in the emission of air such as radon gas and dust carrying
radioactivity. Extensive studies have been carried out across the world on the
environmental impact of such discharges (Al-Masri, Ibrahim, aAl-Shamali, 1999;
*Corresponding author.
0265-931X/01/$ - see front matter r2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 2 6 5 - 931X(01)00074-1
Barisic, Lulic, aMilatic, 1992; Carvalho, 1995; Dalegaard, 1996; Hamam a
Landsberger, 1994; Marovic aSencar, 1995; Martinez aGarcia, 1996;
McCartney, Kershaw, Allingtu, Young, aTurner, 1992; McDonald, Cook, a
Baxter, 1991; Rutherford, Dudas, aSamek, 1994; Timmrmanas aVan der Steen,
1996; Al-Masri, Mamish, Budeir, aNashwati, 2000b; Othman, Al-Hushari, a
Raja, 1992). In addition, some countries (e.g. UK) import or export (e.g. Syria and
Morocco) phosphate ores via sea. Dust emitted during loading cargoes can pollute
the atmospheric air or surface seawater. In Syria, most of the phosphate ore is
exported in large quantities (1.36 Mt in 1996) via one of the main Syrian ports
(Tartous) situated on the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea (341540N, 351520E).
Ship loading activities have been carried out here for more than 20 yr. Dust
potentially contaminated by radioactivity is elevated and distributed into the
surroundings; most of the port area is affected. Radioactivity measurements in air
particulate and soil samples collected from Tartous port and Tartous City have been
carried out (Al-Masri, Al-Kharfa, Khaleli, Al-Haleem, aAl-Hares, 2000a) and
relatively high levels of
210
Po,
210
Pb and other natural radionuclides were observed in
the port area. Other studies (Othman, Yassine, aBhat, 1994b; Othman aMamish,
1994a) have also shown high concentrations of
210
Po in sediments collated from
Tartous shore (250–450 Bq kg
@1
). In addition, trace metal pollution of Tartous port
has recently been determined (Al-Masri et al., 1999); with relatively high levels of Cd
in sediments collated from the port area being observed. However, radioactivity in
the near marine environment of Tartous port has not been studied well. Therefore,
the main objective of this study was to assess the impact of phosphate loading
activities on the near marine environment by determination of
210
Pb and
210
Po in
seawater, sediments and marine organisms.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Sampling
Three samplings were carried out; the first one was conducted on 22nd October
1997, the second and the third one were carried out on the 5th May 1998 and 26th
June 1999, respectively. Sediments (1 kg each), seawater (50 l each), fish, algae and
other biota samples were collected from fourteen sampling sites as shown in Fig. 1.
Sediment samples were taken from the surface layer at the bottom of each location
by grab samplers or scuba divers.
2.2. Analytical methods
Water samples were acidified by adding concentrated hydrochloric acid. Sediment,
fish, algae and crab samples were oven-dried at 901C for 24–48 h. Concentrations of
210
Po and
210
Pb were measured using the standard technique (the silver disc
technique) (Harley, 1978; Flynn, 1968). One gram of each sediment sample (or
10 grams dry weight of marine biota, fish, algae and crab samples) was spiked with a
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–4436
known amount of
208
Po (0.2 Bq) as a yield tracer. Each sample was digested using a
combination of mineral acids (nitric and hydrochloric acid) for at least 24 h. When
the solution was clear, the sample was gently evaporated to near dryness. The residue
was dissolved in 100 ml of 0.5 mol l
@1
hydrochloric acid. The solution was heated to
801C and
210
Po was spontaneously plated onto a rotating silver disc after reduction
of iron with ascorbic acid. Alpha counting of
208
Po (5.15 MeV) and
210
Po (5.3 MeV)
was performed using an alpha spectrometer (Oasis, Oxford) with a passive ion-
implanted silicon detector (active area 300 mm
2
, background counts per day of 3.6,
and a minimum depletion thickness of 100 mm).
210
Po activity was corrected for
recovery by comparison with measured activity of the
208
Po yield tracer, and for
radioactive decay to the time of sampling. The plating and counting were repeated
after 6 months of storage of the solution to measure the ingrowth of new
210
Po from
210
Pb and to calculate the
210
Pb concentration in the original sample. The lower limit
of detection of the method used was 0.4 Bq kg
@1
dry wt For seawater samples,
210
Pb
and
210
Po were precipitated from 40 l by MnO
2
; the precipitate being dissolved in
1.5 mol l
@1
HCl and processed as described for solid samples. Sediment samples
Fig. 1. Sampling locations (Tartous port).
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–44 37
were also measured by gamma spectrometers using high resolution (1.85 keV at
1.33 MeV), high relative efficiency (26% and 80%), low background HPGe detectors
to determine natural and artificial gamma emitters such as
40
K,
137
Cs,
224
Ra,
226
Ra,
228
Ra,
229
Th.
2.3. Quality control
Quality control procedures were applied using home made control samples and
duplicate analysis. Reference samples supplied by IAEA (MA-B3/RN, IAEA-368)
were also analysed to ensure the accuracy of the analytical results obtained in this
study. Some of these results are presented in Table 1.
3. Results and discussion
3.1.
210
Po,
210
Pb and other radionuclides in sediment
Sediment is the last sinking portion of any pollutant entering the marine
environment. Therefore, any enhancement in the concentrations of radionuclides in
sediments above the natural levels give an indication of an external source. The
results of
210
Po and
210
Pb analysis of sediments are shown in Table 2. The highest
concentrations of 170 and 64 Bq kg
@1
being observed for
210
Po and
210
Pb,
respectively, were found in those samples collected from inside the port area which
is due to the phosphate loading activities. However, these values are much lower
than those found in other areas in the world where similar discharges have been
observed (McDonald et al., 1991; McDonald, Baxter, aScott, 1996). Moreover,
210
Pb concentrations in most of the sediment samples were lower than
210
Po by a
factor of 2, usually
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratios are much higher for natural levels
(Parfenov, 1974; Robbins aEdgington, 1975). This may be due to the fact that both
radionuclides have entered the marine environment by different pathways and not
via the radon
222
Rn decay pathway; phosphate dust carrying these radionuclides can
be considered to be this source. Therefore, this is an indication that there is a signal
of phosphate loading activity impact inside the port area.
Table 1
210
Po activity concentrations in IAEA reference materials
Sample
type
Sample
code
Certified value Bq kg
@1
dry (confidence limits)
Measured value
Bq kg
@1
dry (71SD)
Fish flesh MA-B3/RN 0.31 0.370.02
(0.23–0.33)
Sediment IAEA-368 23.2 18.371.5
(19.8–27.2)
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–4438
Other naturally occurring radionuclides were also determined in the collected
sediment samples and relatively high concentrations of
226
Ra (33.2 Bq kg
@1
) and
224
Th (88 Bq kg
@1
) were found in samples collected from inside the port area. These
samples were also found to contain high levels of
210
Po and
210
Pb (Table 2). In
addition, relatively high levels of
137
Cs, an artificial radionuclide from worldwide
fallout, were observed in the same samples. This is presumably due to high
sedimentation rates in these two sites (Nos. 9 and 17).
3.2.
210
Pb and
210
Po concentration in seawater
Natural levels of
210
Po in coastal seawater (water depth less than 100 m) vary
between 1 and 4 mBq l
@1
(Parfenov, 1974; Robbins aEdgington, 1975). Dissolved
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio show on an average a value of about 0.9, whereas in
particulate
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio is greater than unity.
210
Pb and
210
Po
concentrations were determined in seawater samples collected from inside and
outside the port area, results are shown in Table 3. In addition, both isotopes were
simultaneously determined in water samples collected along the Syrian coast and far
from Tartous port, (Table 4). It is obvious that relatively high concentrations were
observed in those samples collected from the northern part of the loading platform
(Sites Nos. 20 and 17). This can be explained by the fact that radioactive air
particulates were blown to the east north direction of the port and from the sea
towards the land along the coast by wind. In addition, water currents in this area
going from south to north along the Syrian coast may also affect the surface
distribution of these radionuclides. Moreover, the
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio in
surface water samples is more than unity (5.38–8.23), which indicates that most
of the
210
Po activity can be attributed to high concentrations in particulate than
Table 2
210
Po and
210
Pb activity concentrations and
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio in sediments
Site no.
210
Po concentration
Bq kg
@1
(71SD)
210
Pb concentration
Bq kg
@1
(71SD)
210
Po/
210
Pb (71SD)
1 7.370.7 3.470.8 2.1070.5
3 22.075 6.471.1 3.471.0
6 30.071.7 14.070.5 4.670.1
73972.8 19.070.4 2.170.2
8 10071 39.073.3 2.570.2
9 151737771 1.970.04
10 3173 13.370.5 2.370.2
11 2370.7 12.070.4 2.070.1
12 69712872 2.570.2
13 50732370.7 2.170.2
15 90754970.5 1.870.1
16 2470.3 13.070.7 1.970.1
17 170 73 64.072.8 2.770.1
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–44 39
to dissolved form. Therefore, the impact of phosphate loading activities is very
clear in the sites situated to the north and east of the loading platform (9, 13, 17, and
20), and it seems that there is little effect on further sites towards the south of the
port (1, 3, and 6).
Table 3
The activity concentration of gamma radionuclides in sediments
Site no. Activity (Bq kg
@1
)(71SD)
a
K-40 Cs-137 Ra-224 Ra-226 Ra-228 Th-234
1 14576 0.270.01 0.570.03 0.570.03 0.970.07 19.770.8
3 131710 0.370.01 1.670.08 1.870.09 2.070.1 15.770.9
5 11874 0.570.07 4.570.20 7.070.2 5.270.4 2071.5
6 11873 0.670.06 4.770.2 8.070.2 5.670.4 17.971.2
7 243714 0.570.03 1.570.1 1.570.2 1.270.13 2071.3
8 10275 1.370.1 6.070.2 3371.0 5.370.50 3272.0
9 292720 1070.8 1371.0 25.071.2 13.070.6 8878.0
10 17778 0.370.02 1.070.05 1.070.05 1.070.05 970.5
11 109710 1.370.4 970.5 18.070.9 13.070.6 5976.5
12 13778 1.270.6 970.5 25.071.2 13.070.6 7576.0
13 12173 0.870.05 7.070.2 6.470.2 670.35 17.670.9
15 13573 1.870.1 7.070.2 8.070.25 7.070.40 2771.4
16 8674 0.570.03 6.070.2 7.070.2 6.070.5 9.570.8
17 175714 9.070.7 10.070.8 29.072.0 12.670.6 4572.3
a
Counting error.
Table 4
210
Po and
210
Pb activity concentrations and
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio in seawater
Site no.
210
Po concentration
mBq L
@1
(71SD)
210
Pb concentration
mBq L
@1
(71SD)
210
Po/
210
Pb (71SD)
1770.3 1.270.1 5.870.5
570.3
a
1.870.1 2.870.2
3670.3 1.070.1 6.170.5
6570.2 1.070.1 5.470.5
370.1
a
2.570.1 1.270.1
7770.36 1.270.1 5.770.1
8670.3 1.070.1 5.870.5
570.3
a
2.070.1 2.570.2
92070.6 3.270.2 6.370.4
13 1970.8 2.370.1 8.270.5
16 870.5 1.170.1 7.570.6
670.3
a
1.070.1 5.870.5
20 2070.7 3.270.2 6.270.4
1770.8
a
4.070.1 4.270.2
a
Samples collected on 5/5/98.
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–4440
3.3.
210
Pb and
210
Po in marine organisms
Algae collected and analysed for
210
Po in 1993 along the Syrian coast (Othman
et al., 1992; Othman et al., 1994) showed concentrations between 0.52 and
8.5 Bq kg
@1
wet wt with highest concentrations in Spridia sp (8.5 Bq kg
@1
wet wt).
Table 5 shows that the highest
210
Po and
210
Pb concentrations found here were
detected in Stypopadium sp (15.44 Bq kg
@1
wet wt). However, the analysis of this
type of algae has no indication of enhancement of
210
Po and
210
Pb since the highest
values observed were found for those samples collected outside the port (site No. 1).
Even though only a small number of fish from inside the port were collected and
analysed,
210
Po concentrations were relatively high;
210
Po concentrations were
found to vary between 5.5 and 23 Bq kg
@1
wet wt Similar values (27 Bq kg
@1
wet
wt) were also observed in a previous study (Al-Masri et al., 2000). The value
of
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio was very high (307) in one species collected from
inside the port, which is thought to be due to the high
210
Po content in surface
water. Crab samples from inside the port also showed high concentrations of
210
Po (samples collected from sites Nos. 16 and 17) showing much higher values than
those reported for other species collected along the Syrian coast (Othman a
Mamish, 1994a; Othman et al., 1994b). However, other studies (Skwarzec, 1997;
Stepnowski aSkwarzec, 2000) in the Baltic sea showed that analysis of fish samples
collected close to phosphate industry discharges were not statistically different from
other areas, while others (McDonald et al., 1991) showed significant differences
reflecting the effect of phosphate industry on the marine environment of Irish Sea
(Table 6). Therefore, the use of marine organisms as an indicator of phosphate
impact on marine environment is not recommended since most of the marine
organisms concentrate
210
Po and
210
Pb in their body. Seawater and sediments are
concluded to be the main samples to be monitored for marine pollution due to
phosphate industry discharges including phosphate ores loading cargoes. The main
radiological impact of loading activities is assumed to be due to the inhalation of
phosphate dust and radon gas and detailed studies to estimate internal exposure are
required.
Table 5
210
Po and
210
Pb activity concentrations and
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio in seawater samples collected from
reference sites
a
Site
210
Po concentration
mBq L
@1
(71SD)
210
Pb concentration
mBq L
@1
(71SD)
210
Po/
210
Pb (71SD)
Jabla 0.770.04 0.4570.05 1.570.2
Banise 1.170.1 0.5570.05 270.2
Tartous 3.770.1 2.3270.10 1.670.1
Lattakia Port 2.170.1 2.0570.07 1.070.1
North Lattakia 1.770.1 1.2970.10 1.370.1
a
Samples collected on 4/11/1998.
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–44 41
4. Conclusion
The obtained results for
210
Po and
210
Pb activity concentrations in the near
marine environmental samples of Tartous port show a considerable enhancement of
natural radionuclides inside the port area and in the northern direction. Only
sediments and surface water analysis can be used to assess the impact of phosphate
loading activities. Analysis of marine organisms from the affected area showed
comparable results with other areas, and it is not recommenced to use them as bio
indicators.
Acknowledgements
This study was supported by IAEA research contract No. 9711/R0. Many
thanks to Prof. I. Othman (G.D. of AECS) for his encouragement and support.
In addition, the authors would like to thank member staff of the low-level
measurement for their time spent for measuring of the prepared samples. Also,
Table 6
210
Po,
210
Pb activity concentrations and
210
Po/
210
Pb activity ratio in marine organisms
Site no. Type and name of
marine organisms
210
Po concentration
Bq kg
@1
wet wt
(71SD)
210
Pb concentration
Bq kg
@1
wet wt
(71SD)
210
Po/
210
Pb
(71SD)
1 Algae Stypopodium zonle sp
a
15.471.2 1.370.03 11.571.0
Stypopodium zonle sp 2.170.04 1.070.03 2.170.1
Sargassum vulgaresp 10.670.2 4.570.2 2.370.1
Cystoseira Barbata sp 3.770.3 1.570.2 2.370.3
8 Fish 7.370.2 0.570.01 13.070.4
16 Fish 7.070.1 0.6070.01 11.770.2
5.570.8 0.870.1 7.071.5
7.970.2 0.770.03 11.970.6
4.970.4 0.870.01 6.270.5
16 Algae Janiasubens
a
7.670.7 1.270.3 6.371.6
Sargassum sp
a
6.770.5 0.470.03 15.371.5
Ulva lactuca 1.670.2 0.470.01 4.070.6
Sarassum sp 1.870.3 0.670.05 3.170.5
Cystoseira sp 2.570.2 0.570.03 5.370.5
16 Crab 27.070.3 1.170.1 2473
16 Sea urchin 7.570.1 0.570.2 1575
17 Algae Corollina mediterranean 7.370.1 1.5 70.1 570.3
17 Crab 26.370.3 1.070.02 2770.6
20 Crab 20.170.04 3.270.2 6.370.3
17 Fish 11.070.7 0.670.1 2073
23.070.05 0.570.01 5071
11.470.5 0.0470.01 307784
20 Fish 7.170.04 1.070.1 6.570.1
a
Collected on 22/10/99.
M.S. Al-Masri et al. / J. Environ. Radioactivity 58 (2002) 35–4442
Dr. Boisson of EML (project officer) is highly appreciated for her good ideas and
support to our study.
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... Therefore, 210 Pois considered as an important source of internal radiation dose to marine organisms (Aarkrog et al., 1997;IAEA, 2004;Fowler, 2011). The beta-emitter 210 Pb has less affinity for soft tissues, but plays an indirect biological role, as a continuous source of 210 Po.Concentration of 210 Po and 210 Pb can be locally enhanced due to direct inputs from the atmosphere (via decay of their parent 222 Rn gas) and land runoff via leaching (Al-Masri et al., 2002;Kim et al., 2005;Othman & Al-Masri, 2007(. In the ocean, zooplankton feed on phytoplankton and provide a food source to thousands of species both directly and indirectly. ...
... Over decade, the activity concentration and concentration factors (CFs) of 210 Po and 210 Pb in some marine organisms such as algae, mollusk, fish and jellyfish have been reported (Othman et al., 1994;Al-Masri et al., 2000;Al-Masri et al., 2002;Al-Masri et al., 2003;Ammar et al., 2009;Mamish et al., 2015). However, to our knowledge, there is no data reported for radioactivity in zooplankton for the Syrian coastal waters, and the main objective of this work was to acquire baseline data on 210 Po and 210 Pb activity concentrations for this area (Eastern Mediterranean Sea). ...
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210Po and 210Pb activity concentrations and their concentration ratio (CR) in marine zooplankton collected for the first time from the Syrian coastal waters (the eastern Mediterranean Sea) have been determined. The average activity concentrations of 210Po and 210Pb were 243±36 and 26.4±4.3 Bqkg-1 dw. The 210Po/210Pb activity ratio was found to be more than one in all zooplankton samples with an average of 9.2 (8.4 to 10), which indicates that the accumulation of 210Po in zooplankton does not come from the decay of the 210Pb only, and reflects a preferential bioaccumulation of 210Po over 210Pb. In addition, the Concentration Ratio (CR) for 210Po and 210Pb reached 104 and 103, respectively. This study will contribute to the radioecological reference database for zooplankton in the Mediterranean Sea.
... The main raw materials used for fertilizer production are phosphate ores. Besides phosphate minerals, phosphate ores contain a wide range of contaminants including natural radionuclides of the 238 U decay chain such as radium, polonium, thorium and lead radioisotopes (Al-Masri et al., 2002;Othman et al., 1994). Radionuclide activity concentrations in phosphate ores are in the range of less than 1 up to several Bq g À1` ( Berish, 1990;Rutherford, 1996;Mahjoubi, 2000). ...
... Polonium-210 was measured using the standard silver disc techniques (Harley, 1978;Al-Masri et al., 2002). 7 g dry weight of biota samples were spiked with a known amount of 208 Po (0.6 Bq) as a yield tracer and samples were completely digested using a combination of mineral acids (nitric and hydrochloric acids). ...
... Bq kg −1 ), due to phosphogypsum stockpile (Jia et al., 2003) and in the coastal area of Syria (7.3-170.0 Bq kg −1 ) due to loading of phosphate ore cargos into ships (Al-Masri et al., 2002). However, 210 Po activities reported in this study were higher as compared to other studies done elsewhere (Table 3). ...
... The 210 Pb fluxes (296 -207 Bq m -2 y -1 ) measured from core inventories in Lake Karagöl are higher than Lake Chenghai (average 216 Bq m -2 y -1 ) [60], the average one (43 ± 13 Bq m -2 y -1 ) at Al-Oteibeh Lake [61], Lake Tonček (74 Bq m -2 y -1 ) [62], more or less same with one (1.9 dpm cm -2 y -1 ) at the Sun-Moon Lake in middle Taiwan [63], and lower than Lake Sihailongwan (490 Bq m -2 y -1 ) [64], Red Lake area sediments (309 ± 48 Bq m -2 y -1 ) [65]. ...
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In present study, Lead-210 (Polonium-210) activity concentrations were indirectly obtained by utilizing alpha spectrometry. Sediment chronology was determined by using modified CRS model. Average sediment accumulation rates are 0.351, 0.324, 0.222 g cm-2 y-1 in S-1, S-2, S-3 stations respectively. With reference to atmospheric 210Pb flux (29 mBq cm-2 y-1) Lake Karagöl has extra outer 210Pb input (soil erosion) from the catchment area. In terms of Enrichment Factor (EF), heavy metal concentrations are lower than the anthropogenic values. So it can be said that the elements except Au originate from the continental supply. Au has unexpectedly too high level EF value (58.22) in northern station (S-1) of the Lake Karagöl. It corresponds to time interval from 2004 to nowadays. However Pollution Load Index (PLI) says different consequences from the EF values. PLI value has only baseline levels of pollutants in northern part of the Lake Karagöl as it shows progressive deterioration of the site for southern part of the Lake Karagöl.
... Any un-dissolved materials were filtered-off. Then, polonium isotopes in the solution were spontaneously plated for 4 hours on a silver disc after adding ascorbic acid to prevent Fe deposition (Al-Masri et al., 2002). 210 Pb activities were determined through its granddaughter ( 210 Po) with one day of alpha spectrometry counting during secular equilibrium stage (Henderson et al., 1999;San Miguel et al., 2004;Wood et al., 1997). ...
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The transport and bioaccumulation of natural and artificial radionuclides in the coastal regions of UK have been investigated. The magnitude of radionuclide concentration variation throughout the UK coastline has been quantified and where appropriate source terms have been identified. Sites bordering the Irish Sea show the highest levels of artificial radioactivity which are derived from past Sellafield discharges. Enhanced concentrations of natural radioactivity were found in all Whitehaven samples (due to discharges from a phosphate ore processing plant at Whitehaven), in sediment at Blackhall Colliery near Hartlepool (from disposal of coal mining spoil directly into the North Sea) and in mussels at Aberdeen (due to discharges from the de-scaling of pipes and valves by the oil industry). Highest radionuclide concentrations were present in Whitehaven mussels -3124Bqkg-1 dry weight of 210Po. Excluding sites bordering the Irish Sea, levels of natural radionuclides (210Pb, 210Po, 232Th, 238U) were greatly in excess of the artificial radionuclide concentrations in all sample types. The biological preference for accumulation of Po relative to its grandparent 210Pb is evident. 210Po/ 210Pb activity ratios range between 2 and 40 in mussels, winkles and seaweed but only between 0.24 and 1.3 in sediments and sea water. Radiologically, the highest radiation exposure to the public evident from the results would be from the ingestion of Whitehaven mussels (3.2mSv y-1), the greatest single contribution being from technologically enhanced 210Po.
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The raw material used in the production of fetilizers is phosphate ore containing various amounts of naturally radioactive elements. During phosphate ore processing, owing to chemical properties of radium, practically all226Ra gets incorporated into phosphogypsum and becomes the main source of radioactivity. This study was carried out in a fertilizer factory in central Croatia, which may represent a site of significant environmental contamination due to fertilizer production and phosphogypsum deposition in the area. The purpose of this paper was to determine whether ingestion of drinking water in this area poses a health risk for the inhabitants. The results of our study confirmed the occurrence of226Ra in elevated concentrations in the samples of trickling waters. However, concurrent analyses of drinking water indicated that the risk of adverse health effects for the population living in the vicinity of a phosphate fertilizer plant is negligible.
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