ENHANCED RADIOACTIVE CONTENT OF ‘BALANCE’ BRACELETS

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Abstract

During a routine whole body counting measurement of a worker at the Nuclear Research Center Negev, abnormal activities of 232Th and 238U were measured. After a thorough investigation, it was found that the radioactivity was due to a rubber bracelet (‘balance bracelet’) worn by the worker during the measurement. The bracelet was counted directly by an high pure germanium gamma spectrometry system, and the specific activities determined were 10.80 ± 1.37 Bq g−1 for 232Th and 5.68 ± 0.88 Bq g−1 for natural uranium. These values are obviously high compared with normally occurring radioactive material (NORM) average values. The dose rate to the wrist surface was estimated to be ˜3.9 μGy h−1 and ˜34 mGy for a whole year. The dose rate at the centre of the wrist was estimated to be ˜2.4 μGy h−1 and ˜21 mGy for a whole year. The present findings stresses a more general issue, as synthetic rubber and silicone products are common and widely used, but their radioactivity content is mostly uncontrolled, thus causing unjustified exposure due to enhanced NORM radioactivity levels.

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