Radiological Impacts of Natural Radioactivity in Locally Produced Tobacco Products in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Radionuclides are found naturally in air, water and soil. They are even found in vegetation, consumer products and in human body. Everyone on the planet is exposed to some background level of ionizing radiation through external exposures that occurs as a result of irradiation, and internal exposures that occurs as a result of ingestion and inhalation. Studies have shown that tobacco contains minute quantities of radioisotopes from uranium and thorium-decay series which are radioactive and carcinogenic. Tobacco product increases both external and internal exposure due to these radioisotopes. In fact, tobacco products have been considered to be one of the most significant causes of lung cancer. Owing to the large-scale consumption of tobacco in Nigeria at the present time, locally produced tobacco products in Nigeria were collected from the market and the naturally-occurring 238U and 232Th decay series, as well as non-series decay 40K in these products were measured using γ-ray spectrometer. The radiological impacts of the radionuclides in these products were assessed from their specific activities. The average values of the absorbed dose rate were 19.72 and 17.59 nGy h-1 for snuff and cigarette products respectively. The average values of the effective doses due to daily inhalation of smoke by consumers from one wrap of snuff and one stick of cigarette products is 592.32 and 66.62 μSv yr-1 respectively. Similarly, the values of the radium equivalent activity index for snuff and cigarette samples were 40.95 and 38.95 Bq kg-1 respectively. Also the external radiation hazard index were 0.12 and 0.11 for snuff and cigarette samples respectively while the internal radiation hazard index were 0.17 and 0.15 for the two samples respectively. The average excess lifetime cancer risk (x 10-3) values for daily inhalation of smoke from one wrap of snuff and one (1) stick of cigarette were 2.07 and 0.23 x 10-3 respectively. The estimated values of some of these parameters were found to be lower than the recommended limit by UNSCEAR (2000). However, the effective dose poses a serious health risk to addicted consumers of the product when three (3) or more wraps of snuff and one (1) or more packs of cigarette products are consumed daily. The mean excess lifetime cancer risks values estimated were also much higher than the recommended limits by UNSCEAR (2000). This then makes the risk of suffering cancer and other radiation injuries to be high.
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