Estimated the radiation hazard indices and ingestion effective dose in wheat flour samples of Iraq markets
© Abojassim et al.; licensee Springer. 2014
Received: 25 June 2014
Accepted: 31 October 2014
Published: 5 December 2014
In this research, Uranium (238U), Thorium (232Th) and Potassium (40K) specific activity in (Bq/kg) were measured in (12) different types of wheat flours that are available in Iraqi markets. The gamma spectrometry method with a NaI(Tl) detector has been used for radiometric measurements. Also in this study we have calculated the radiation hazard indices (radium equivalent activity and internal hazard index) and Ingestion effective dose in all samples.
It is found that the specific activity in wheat flour samples were varied from (1.086 ± 0.0866) Bq/kg to (12.532 ± 2.026) Bq/kg, for238U, For 232Th From (0.126 ± 0.066) Bq/kg to (4.298 ± 0.388) Bq/kg and for 40K from (41.842 ± 5.875) Bq/kg to (264.729 ± 3.843) Bq/kg. Also, it is found that the of radium equivalent activity and internal hazard index in wheat flour samples ranged from (3.4031) Bq/kg to (35.1523) Bq/kg and from (0.0091) to (0.1219) respectively. But The range of summation of the Ingestion effective dose were varied from (0.0317) mSv/y to (0.5734) mSv/y. This study prove that the natural radioactivity, radiation hazard indices and Ingestion effective dose were lower than the safe.
KeywordsWheat flour Natural radioactivity Iraq market and gamma spectroscopy
The world is naturally radioactive and approximately 82% of human-absorbed radiation doses, which are out of control, arise from natural sources such as cosmic, terrestrial, and exposure from inhalation or intake radiation sources. In recent years, several international studies have been carried out, which have reported different values regarding the effect of background radiation on human health.
Natural radioactivity is caused by the presence of natural occurring radioactive matter (NORM) in the environment. Examples of natural radionuclides include isotopes of potassium (40K), uranium (238U and its decay series), and thorium (232Th and its decay series). In addition to being long-lived (in the order of 1010 years), these radionuclides are typically present in air, soil, and water in different amounts and levels of activity. Natural radionuclides are found in terrestrial and aquatic food chains, with subsequent transfer to humans through ingestion of food. As such, international efforts were brought together collaboratively to apply adequate procedures in investigating radionuclides in food (IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency, Measurements of Radionuclides in Food and Environment ), and to set essential guidelines to protect against high levels of internal exposure that may be caused by food consumption (ICRP ; UNSCEAR ).
Since wheat flour is one of the essential foods that is consumed in Iraqis daily lives, the desire to establish a national baseline of radioactivity exposure from different types of wheat flour samples that available in Iraq markets is very critical. Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding of wheat used for human consumption. Wheat flour, the “Staff of Life”, has been an essential commodity to human existence through the centuries and is currently the most widely consumed staple food. Moreover, numerous studies were conducted worldwide to investigate natural radionuclides in food consumed in different parts of the world (Hosseini et al. ; Jibiri & Okusanya ; Ababneh et al. ; Desimoni et al. ). For a systematic treatment, a methodical approach is undertaken that focuses on a wheat flour type of food per study. Because wheat flour is popular among all ages, the current study focuses on investigating the natural radioactive content in all times of food.
Material and methods
Sample collection and preparation
Types and origin of wheat flour samples in this study
Name of Samples
Origin of samples
Calculation of activity
Where Ac is the specific activity in (Bq/kg), C is the area under the photo peaks, ε% : Percentage of energy efficiency. Iɤ is the percentage of gamma-emission probability of the radionuclide under consideration, t is counting time in (Sec.), M is mass of sample in (kg) and BG is background.
Radium equivalent activity
Internal hazard index
The internal hazard index should also be less than one to provide safe levels of radon and its short-lived daughters for the respiratory organs of individuals living in the dwellings.
Ingestion effective dose
where, i denotes a food group, the coefficients Ui and C i,r denote the consumption rate (kg/y) and activity concentration of the radionuclide r of interest (Bq/kg), respectively, and g T,r is the dose conversion coefficient for ingestion of radionuclide r (Sv/Bq) in tissue T. For adult members of the public, the recommended dose conversion coefficient gT,r for 40K, 226Ra(238U), and 232Th, are 6.2 × 10−9, 2.8 × 10−7 and 2.2 × 10−7 Sv/Bq respectively (IAEA ).
The average consumption rate of wheat flour according to report of ministry of trade in Iraq for adults is 110 Kg/y (Source : The Iraqi Ministry of Trade).
Results and discussion
Specific activity of 238 U, 232 Th and 40 K in wheat flour samples
Specific activity in (Bq/Kg)
1.086 ± 0.0866
3.411 ± 0.322
179.089 ± 3.187
9.991 ± 1.715
3.340 ± 0.356
264.729 ± 3.843
3.391 ± 2.241
0.796 ± 0.504
96.509 ± 2.446
5.102 ± 1.861
2.462 ± 0.475
120.555 ± 5.5134
2.243 ± 2.303
1.646 ± 0.394
47.805 ± 5.025
6.599 ± 1.852
1.375 ± 0.655
100.892 ± 6.289
11.078 ± 2.848
4.298 ± 0.388
79.767 ± 6.499
0.126 ± 0.066
41.842 ± 5.875
6.048 ± 1.526
1.561 ± 0.664
109.061 ± 6.643
6.196 ± 3.127
1.652 ± 0.684
191.549 ± 7.006
12.532 ± 2.026
2.685 ± 0.573
175.257 ± 6.510
6.370 ± 2.307
190.104 ± 7.876
Average ± S.D
6.603 ± 3.715
1.9465 ± 1.331
133.097 ± 67.044
There is a variation in the specific activity of radionuclides in different wheat flour samples, for example (F1) which is Turkish Farina has lowest 238U concentration, while (F11) which is Lebanese Good sentences has the maximum value, (F8) Turkish Super has the lowest 232Th concentration while the maximum is (F7) also Turkish Sankar , and the lowest 40K concentration is (F8) which is Turkish Super and the maximum is (F2) Saudi Arabia Fine semolina. The results obtained show that the specific activity of 238U, 232Th and 40K in all wheat flour samples appeared lower than recommended limit of UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) ).
Radium equivalent activity and internal hazard index in wheat flour samples
Average ± S.D
19.6347 ± 9.1680
0.0708 ± 0.0341
The values of all the radiation hazard indices in this study (radium equivalent activity and internal hazard indices are lowest value in sample (F8) Turkish Super and the highest value in sample (F2) Saudi Arabia Fine semolina. This indicates that the internal hazard index in wheat flour samples were lower than the permissible limits of 1 recommended by UNSCEAR (UNSCEAR ), while the radium equivalent activity also were lower than the maximum permissible level of 370 Bq/kg recommended by UNSCEAR (UNSCEAR ).
Ingestion effective dose for adult in wheat flour samples
Ingestion effective dose (mSv/y)
Average ± S.D
0.1978 ± 0.1066
0.0537 ± 0.0317
0.0908 ± 0.0457
0.3213 ± 0.1657
The present study has presented the specific activity of radionuclides 238U, 232Th and 40K using gamma ray spectroscope in different type of wheat flour that are regularly consumed by adults age in Iraq. Specific activity concentrations of these radionuclides in samples were lower than as reported by UNSCEAR. Also the radium equivalent activity and internal hazard indices values obtained when compared with the world permissible values were found to be below the standards limit which due to be radiologically hazard safe. The high value of summation of Ingestion effective was less than 1 mSv/y, the limit recommended for the public (ICRP ), hence wheat flour samples in Iraq markets products are safe to consumers.
I would like to knowledge all those contributed in declaring this issue. Special thanks to the staff of the department of physics at Kufa University.
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