Assessment of tree bark as a biomonitor of anthropogenic thorium and radium contamination
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This pilot study investigated tree bark as a potential biomonitor of thorium and radium contamination in the environment, using the former Fernald Feed Materials Production Center (FFMPC) in southwest Ohio as a test case. Tree bark samples collected in the vicinity of the FFMPC have radium and thorium concentrations ~ 8X and ~ 10X background levels, respectively, and exhibit elevated 230Th/232Th relative to background. These results suggest that the tree bark hosts contaminant Th and Ra from the FFMPC, and that these signatures can be used as tracers of anthropogenic actinide contamination in the environment.
KeywordsThorium Radium Isotopes Tree bark Environmental contamination Biomonitor
This study was supported by the Janet and Elliot Baines Professorship awarded to E. Widom.
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