Determination of Radionuclide Concentration in Human Teeth in Najaf Governorate, Iraq

Document Type : Original Paper


Department of Environment, Faculty of Science, University of Kufa, 54003 kufa, Najaf Governorate, Iraq


Introduction: 238U decays with alpha particles emission into 234Th and the series ends with 206Pb. The unstable nucleus loses the energy with emitting ionizing alpha particles for reaching a stable state. It is undergoing alpha decay with decay energy (4.679 MeV). Alpha particles enter the human and animal bodies through inhalation of air or ingestion of contaminated food and water. This study aimed to perform a radiological analysis on the natural alpha particle emission rates of the human teeth as the biomarkers of radiation exposure and environmental pollution.
Materials and Methods: This study was conducted on 68 teeth samples of 27 males and 41 females collected from the hospitals distributed across Najaf governorate, including many districts in Iraq. Alpha particle emission rates were measured using CR-39 nuclear track detector.
Results: The mean emission rate of alpha particles in the female teeth was 0.0396±0.0070 mBq cm-2, which was relatively higher than that in the male teeth (0.0390±0.0048 mBq cm-2). Nevertheless, there was no significant difference between the female and male teeth regarding the emission rate of alpha particles. Furthermore, the emission rate of alpha particles in the teeth of the samples taken from Kufa (0.0417±0.0057 mBq cm-2) was higher than those obtained from Najaf (0.0384±0.0053 mBq cm-2).
Conclusion: As the findings of this study revealed, Najaf governorate had a lower emission rate of alpha particles as compared to other sites of the worldwide. Therefore, it could be concluded that there is no negative consequence threatening the people’s health in this regard.


Main Subjects

  1. References


    1. Arnold B, Woolley S, Johnson P. Edexcel International GCSE Physics: Student Book. Pearson Education; 2009.
    2. Christensen DM, Jenkins MS, Sugarman SL, Glassman ES. Management of ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses, part 1: Physics, radiation protection, and radiation instrumentation. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2014 Mar 1; 114(3): 189-99. DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2014.037.
    3. Almayahi BA, Tajuddin AA, Jaafar MS. Radiobiological long-term accumulation of environmental alpha radioactivity in extracted human teeth and animal bones in Malaysia. Journal of environmental radioactivity. 2014 Mar 31; 129: 140-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.01.001.
    4. Owen R. The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report into the Death of Alexander Litvinenko, 2016.
    5. Almayahi BA. Biomarkers of Natural Radionuclides in the Bone and Teeth. In: Patel VB, Preedy VR, editors. Biomarkers in Bone Disease. Springer Netherlands; 2017. p. 105-25. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7693-7_25.
    6. Dewit T, Clulow V, Jackson JS, Mitchel RE. Uranium and uranium decay series radionuclide dynamics in bone of rats following chronic uranium ore dust inhalation. Health physics. 2001 Nov 1; 81(5): 502-13.
    7. Gesell TF, Hopewell JW, Lantz MW, Osborne JW, Scott BR, Seltzer SM, et al. Biological Effects and Exposure Limits for 'Hot Particles,'. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements Bethesda MD NCRP Report 130. 1999.
    8. MapAction. (2014) Map catalog: COD (109 DITRICTS) Settlements: COD (orig. IOM), Road: Logs Cluster/NIMA. Available from:
    9. Henshaw DL, Allen JE, Keitch PA, Randle PH. Spatial distribution of naturally occurring 210Po and 226Ra in children's teeth. International journal of radiation biology. 1994 Dec; 66(6): 815-26.
    10. Almayahi BA, Tajuddin AA, Jaafar MS. 210Pb, 235U, 137Cs, 40K and 222Rn concentrations in soil samples after 2010 Thai and Malaysian floods. advances in biomedical engineering. 2012; 6:593-8.
    11. Almayahi BA, Tajuddin AA, Jaafar MS. Measurements of alpha emission rates in bones using CR-39 track detector. In Proceedings of 2nd International Conference on Ecological, Environmental and Biological Sciences (EEBS' 2012) October 2012 (pp. 13-14).
    12. Almayahi BA, Tajuddin AA, Jaafar MS. Measurements of naturally occurring 210Pb concentration in animals bones of Northern Malaysian Peninsula. In Proceedings of International Conference on Agriculture, Chemical and Environmental Sciences (ICACES' 2012). October 2012: (pp. 6-7).
    13. Cavallaro S. Note: Fast neutron efficiency in CR-39 nuclear track detectors. Review of Scientific Instruments. 2015 Mar; 86(3): 036103. DOI: 10.1063/1.4915502.
    14. Freyer K, Dietze K, Weisse S, Kummer G. Autoradiographic measurement of low concentrations of alpha-active nuclides using CR-39 track detectors. International Journal of Radiation Applications and Instrumentation. Part D. Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements. 1991 Jan 1;19(1-4):751-4. DOI: 10.1016/0969-8078(93)90195-A.
    15. Triola MF. Essentials of statistics. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Addison Wesley; 2008.
    16. Leggett RW. Dosimetric Significance of the ICRP's Updated Guidance and Models, 1989-2003, and Implications for US Federal Guidance. ORNL; 2003 Sep 10.
    17. Henshaw DL, Hatzialekou U, Randle PH. Analysis of alpha particle autoradiographs of bone samples from adults and children in the UK at natural levels of exposure. Radiation protection dosimetry. 1988 Apr 1; 22(4): 231-42. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.rpd.a080112.
    18. Henshaw DL. Application of solid state nuclear track detectors to measurements of natural alpha-radioactivity in human body tissues. International Journal of Radiation Applications and Instrumentation. Part D. Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements. 1989 Jan 1;16(4): 253-70. DOI: 10.1016/1359-0189(89)90025-3.
    19. James PR, Close JJ, Keitch PA, Allen JE, Fews AP, Henshaw DL. Morphological features of the microdistribution of naturally occurring 210Pb/210Po and 226Ra in the teeth of children and juveniles. International journal of radiation biology. 2004 Mar 1;80(3):185-98. DOI: 10.1080/09553000410001665681.
    20. O'Donnell RG, Mitchell PI, Priest ND, Strange L, Fox A, Henshaw DL. Long SC. Variations in the concentration of plutonium, strontium-90 and total alpha-emitters in human teeth collected within the British Isles. Science of the Total Environment. 1997 Aug 18; 201(3): 235-43. DOI: 10.1016/S0048-9697(97)84060-0.
    21. Bunzl K, Kracke W. Fallout 239/240Pu and 238Pu in human tissues from the Federal Republic of Germany. Health physics. 1983 Jan 1; 44: 441-9.
Volume 14, Issue 4
November and December 2017
Pages 173-182
  • Receive Date: 26 March 2017
  • Revise Date: 15 June 2017
  • Accept Date: 23 June 2017
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2017