Dose Factors

What doses for swallowing or inhaling radioactive atoms ?

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How to evaluate the doses resulting from ingestion or inhalation of radioactive substances ? How to translate activities measured by detectors - but difficult to understand - to effective doses that are of concern for the man in the street? In other words, how to convert becquerels into millisieverts ?

From activities to committed doses ...
Example of committed doses due to the ingestion of contaminated food near Chernobyl. The curves show the evolution of the activity of iodine 131 and cesium 137, during the three months following the accident, one kilogram of meat or salad and a litre of milk coming from the most contaminated areas. Activities were considered at their maximum and the maximum doses were obtained by multiplying these activities by the factors of doses of iodine 131 and caesium 137. In the most hazardous case of the salads, the ingestion of 5.6 kBq resulted in a dose of 0.125 mSv, equivalent to 15 days of exposure to natural radioactivity in France.

When radioactive atoms are ingested, the resulting effective dose is found by multiplying the activity of the amount of ingested atoms by a ‘dose conversion factor’. One calculates in this way the radioactive potential toxicity of a substance, called ‘radiotoxicty, which is the dose to which a person or a group of persons would have been exposed had they absorbed all the radioactive atoms of the sample.


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Related topics : Biological effects, Dose-effect relationship, Linear No-Threshold Model, Low doses effects, Radioactive toxicity

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Effective Dose