Author(s): Saito H, Hisanaga N, Okada Y, Hirai S, Arito H
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Abstract To assess the exposure of welders to thorium-232 (232Th) during tungsten inert gas arc (TIG) welding, airborne concentrations of 232Th in the breathing zone of the welder and background levels were measured. The radioactive concentrations were 1.11 x 10(-2) Bq/m3 during TIG welding of aluminum (TIG/Al), 1.78 x 10(-4) Bq/m3 during TIG welding of stainless steel (TIG/SS), and 1.93 x 10(-1) Bq/m3 during electrode sharpening, with 5.82 x 10(-5) Bq/m3 background concentration. Although the annual intake of 232Th estimated using these values did not exceed the annual limit intake (ALI, 1.6 x 10(2) Bq), we recommend reducing 232Th exposure by substituting thoriated electrodes with a thorium-free electrodes, setting up local ventilation systems, and by using respiratory protective equipment. It is also necessary to inform workers that thoriated tungsten electrodes contain radioactive material.
This article was published in Ind Health
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology