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Polonium-210 and Lead-210 in Food and Tobacco Products: A Review of Parameters and an Estimate of Potential Exposure and Dose


Food-chain transport of Pb-210 and Po-210 from soil to edible plant parts and from animal feed to meat and milk were evaluated from a review of literature. The degree of transfer was characterized by estimating concentration factors (unweighted arithmetic means) as well as the transfer coefficients Bv, Br (unweighted geometric means), fm and ff (unweighted arithmetic means). Global dietary intake of Pb-210 and Po-210 was also summarized, and 50-year dose estimates to target organs calculated. The greatest estimated ingestion doses were those to populations with large dietary complements of animal protein in the form of seafood (Japan) or caribou/reindeer muscle and organ meats (Arctic Eskimos and Lapps). The magnitude of this latter source illustrates the importance of simple food chains in generating significant exposures to populations dependent upon them.

The origin and magnitude of inhalation exposure and dose from tobacco products was also assessed. For the majority of internal organs evaluated, the dose resulting from smoking commercially available tobacco products is comparable to or greater than the dose estimates for ingestion of naturally occurring dietary Pb-210 and Po-210.