Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 681–698 | Cite as

Toxicological risk assessment of protracted ingestion of uranium in groundwater

  • Sarabjot Kaur
  • Rohit MehraEmail author
Original Paper


Groundwater samples have been collected from far-reaching locations in Solan and Shimla districts of Himachal Pradesh, India, and studied for uranium concentration using LED fluorimetry. In this region, uranium in groundwater varies from 0.12 to 19.43 μg L−1. Radiological and chemical toxicity is accounted for different uranium isotopes. The average mortality risk for uranium isotopes 234U, 235U, and 238U are 2.6 × 10−12, 3.5 × 10−10, and 5.9 × 10−8, respectively. Similarly, the mean morbidity risk for 234U, 235U and 238U are 4.1 × 10−12, 5.6 × 10−10 and 9.5 × 10−8, respectively. An attempt has also been made to calculate doses for different age-groups. Highest doses, ranging from 0.30 to 48.23 µSv year−1, are imparted to infants of 7–12 months of age which makes them the most vulnerable group of population. Using Hair Compartmental Model for uranium and mean daily uranium intake of 3.406 μg for 60-year exposure period, organ-specific doses due to uranium radioisotopes, retention in prime organs/tissues and excretion rates via urine, feces and hair pathway are estimated. In this manuscript, the transfer coefficients for kidney, liver, skeleton, GI tract, soft tissues, urinary bladder, and blood are analyzed. Hair compartment model and ICRP’s biokinetic model are compared in terms of uranium load in different organs after 60 years of protracted ingestion. The study on biokinetic behavior of uranium is the first of its kind in the area which is dedicated to environmental and social cause.


Uranium biokinetics LED fluorimetry Hazard quotient Lifetime average daily dose Age-adjusted dose Organ-specific dose Transfer coefficients 



The authors humbly acknowledge the financial support of Department of Science and Technology under INSPIRE fellowship. A sincere gratitude is extended to the Director, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar for providing state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and the residents of the district for their co-operation during fieldwork.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environment Monitoring and Assessment Lab, Department of PhysicsDr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of TechnologyJalandharIndia

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