Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 2037–2048 | Cite as

Study of worker’s exposure to Tantalum-bearing particles in a mining and metallurgical plant

  • K. Moore Dias da CunhaEmail author
  • K. C. Dalia Pereira
  • J. R. D. Guimarães
  • C. Lima
  • J. E. C. Nascimento
  • R. Lima
  • A. A. Hecht
  • J. C. B. Fiel
Original Paper


The objective of this study was to assess worker exposure to mineral dust particles, and a metabolic model, based on the model adopted by ICRP, was applied to assess human exposure to Ta, and predicted values of Ta concentrations in excreta. The occupational exposure to Th, U, Nb, and Ta-bearing particles during routine tasks to obtain Fe-Nb alloys was estimated using air samplers and excreta samples. Ta concentrations in food samples and in drinking water were also determined. The results support that workers were occupationally exposed to Ta-bearing particles, and also indicate that a source of Ta exposure for both workers and the control group was the ingestion of drinking water containing soluble compounds of Ta. Therefore, some Ta compounds should be considered soluble compounds in gastrointestinal tract. Consequently, the metabolic model based on ICRP metabolic model and/or the transfer factor f 1 for Ta should be reviewed and the solubility of Ta compounds in gastrointestinal should be determined.


Uranium Thorium Tantalum Solubility parameters Occupational exposure 



The authors would like to thank Mineração Catalão de Goiás for the support during the sample collection and CNPq and PRONEX for financial support. This work is in memoriam to Prof. Carlos Vieira de Barros Leite, Physics Department PUC-Rio, Brazil.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Moore Dias da Cunha
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. C. Dalia Pereira
    • 2
  • J. R. D. Guimarães
    • 2
  • C. Lima
    • 3
  • J. E. C. Nascimento
    • 3
  • R. Lima
    • 4
  • A. A. Hecht
    • 1
  • J. C. B. Fiel
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear EngineeringThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas FilhoUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Dept. de FísicaPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Instituto de Energia Nuclear, IEN/CNENRio de JaneiroBrazil
  5. 5.Department of Nuclear EngineeringInstituto Militar de Engenharia, IMERio de JaneiroBrazil

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