210Po and 210Pb activity concentrations in Greenlandic seabirds and dose assessment

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Naturally occurring radionuclides, in particular, polonium-210 (210Po), have a greater contribution than anthropogenic radionuclides to the annual effective dose received by the general public due to consumption of seafood. Knowledge of potential trophic sources and transfer of 210Po to seabird species and subsequently to the Greenlandic people is, however, still poor. Here, we assess the transfer of 210Po and 210Pb to seabirds sampled during autumn and winter 2017 and 2018 in Greenland and provide a dose assessment. The activity concentrations of 210Po in muscle and liver, respectively, ranged from 0.2 ± 0.1 Bq kg−1 w.w. in glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus) to 21.2 ± 22.6 Bq kg−1 w.w. in thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia) and from 32.0 ± 9.4 Bq kg−1 w.w. in common eider (Somateria mollissima) to 40.5 ± 49.0 Bq kg−1 w.w. in thick-billed murre. 210Po was non-uniformly distributed in the body of thick-billed murre. Kidneys and feathers showed higher 210Po activity concentrations than heart and bone. The 210Po/210Pb activity concentration ratios are higher than unity, indicating that 210Po is preferentially taken up by seabirds compared to its progenitor 210Pb. The derived annual absorbed dose from 210Po to the whole body of thick-billed murre was 6.4 × 102 ± 3.0 × 102 μGy. The annual effective dose to the average adult and representative person in Greenland due to ingestion of 210Po in seabirds was estimated to 13.0 μSv and 57.0 μSv, respectively. This derived dose is low and poses a slight risk, and risk communication is therefore deemed unnecessary.
Original languageEnglish
Article number136548
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Polonium, Lead, Trophic position, Absorbed dose, Effective dose, Arctic, Absorbed dose, Lead, Polonium, Trophic position, Effective dose, Arctic

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