Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 10–17 | Cite as

The biokinetics and dosimetry of radon-222 in the human body following ingestion of groundwater

  • D. J. Crawford-Brown


This paper presents a general model for the biokinetics of Rn-222 in the adult human body following ingestion of the radon in water. Such a model is needed for the calculation of doses which would result from the ingestion of radon, a natural component of drinking water supplies. Information on the movement and concentration of xenon in the body was obtained from a separate study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital. This information was used to develop a model of radon kinetics in the body and estimates were obtained of the rate constants associated with transfer between the various body compartments. The model was then used to develop estimates of the dose equivalent delivered to each tissue or organ of the body following ingestion of 1 Bq of radon in water. From the reported results, it appears that the stomach receives a much larger dose equivalent than other organs and tissues, followed in order by the other segments of the gastro-intestinal or Gl tract, the liver, the lungs and the general body water compartment. A comparison is made between these doses and the doses delivered as a result of exposure to airborne radon.


Geochemistry Drinking Water Body Water Water Supply Human Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersson, I. and Nilsson, I. 1964. Exposure followung ingestion of water containing Rn-222. In:Assessment of Radioactivity in Man, p. 317. IAEA, Vienna.Google Scholar
  2. Andreev, C. 1963. The techniques of determining the radiation doses absorbed during whole body alpha therapy and some results for peroral administration of Rn-222 water,Med. Radio. 8, 69–76.Google Scholar
  3. Crawford-Brown, D. 1987. Age dependent lung doses from ingested Rn-222 in drinking water,Health Phys. 52, 149–156.Google Scholar
  4. Crawford-Brown, D. 1987b. Dosimetry. In: C. Cothem and J. Smith (eds.)Environmental Radon, pp. 173–212. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Crawford-Brown, D. and Cothem, R. 1987. A Bayesian analysis or scientific judgement of uncertainties in estimating risk due to Rn-222 in U.S. public drinking water supplies,Health Phys. 53, 11–21.Google Scholar
  6. Hursh, J., Morken, D., Davis, T.P. and Loovas, A. 1965. The fate of Rn-222 ingersted by man,Health Phys.,11, 465–476.Google Scholar
  7. ICRP International Commission on Radiological Protection 1972.Reference Manual. Publication 23. Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  8. ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) 1977.Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Publication 26. Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  9. NAS (National Academy of Sciences) 1980. The effect on populations of exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation, BEIR III. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  10. NCRP (National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement) 1984.Evaluation of occupational and environmental exposures to radon and radon daughters in the United States. Report 78. NCRP, Bethesda, MD.Google Scholar
  11. Nussbaum, E. and Hursh, J. 1957. Rn-222 solubility in rat tissues,Science 125, 552–553.Google Scholar
  12. Suomela, M. and Kahlos, M. 1972. Studies on the elimination rate and the radiation exposure following ingestion of Rn-222 rich-water,Health Phys. 23, 641–652.Google Scholar
  13. Von Dobeln, W. and Lindell, B. 1964. Some aspects of Rn-222 contamination following ingestion,Arkiv fur fys. 27, 531.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sciences and Technology Letters 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Crawford-Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

Personalised recommendations