Human health risk assessment of naturally occurring radioactive materials in produced water - a case study
Chowdhury, S and Husain, T and Veitch, B and Bose, N and Sadiq, R, Human health risk assessment of naturally occurring radioactive materials in produced water - a case study, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 10, (6) pp. 1155-1171. ISSN 1080-7039 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Human health effects from naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in produced water are of concern due to their bioavailability and bioaccumulation characteristics in finfish and shellfish species used for human consumption. Being chemically similar to calcium, radium concentrates mostly in bones, shells, and exoskeletons. Previous studies have been based on the whole-body bioaccumulation of radium in fish where the distribution of radium in bone/exoskeleton and the edible parts of fish were not considered separately and thus the predicted risks were relatively high. In this article, the distribution of radium in the non-edible and edible parts of fish and the probability of exposure to a produced water plume have been studied in order to characterize human health risks. A probabilistic hydrodynamic model has been incorporated in this study. Using the concentration distribution approach, the mean cancer risks to humans were predicted in the range of 8.6 × 10 -7 to 9.5 × 10 -7, which were 2.6 to 2.7 times less than the risks predicted by using the whole body concentrations. The exceedence probability of maximum permissible human health cancer risk of 1 × 10 -4 is close to zero. At a risk level of 1 × 10 -6, the exceedence probability is 21% whereas in the whole body concentration approach it is between 45 to 49%. In this study, no effect on fish from exposure to NORM components in produced water was found.