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Summary  

Cubatão River is located in Santos Basin, São Paulo State, Brazil. This region is characterized by the occurrence of estuaries and mangrove. Due to its location, near the coastal line, it is also an important industrial area, where phosphate fertilizer plants, petrol refineries, and chemical and steel industries are present. Such human activities contribute to the enhancement of elemental composition in sediments and, in some cases, also increase the radionuclide concentrations, the so called Technologically Enhanced Natural Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM). The contamination of land and sediments by TENORM is of major concern. The activity concentration of U and Th series radionuclides was determined in five sediment samples from Cubatão River. The activity concentration ratio was also determined. Equilibrium was observed for the ratio 234U/238U. The activity ratios of Th/238U, 228Ra/226Ra and 210Pb/226Ra were higher than the unity. In the first two cases, the observed values are due to the higher activity of Th in the sediment and in the last case are probably due to the atmospheric deposition of 210Pb.

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Abstract  

Due to its essential characteristics, the daily dietary selenium intake of individuals should be monitored accurately. In the current work, daily selenium intake of different Brazilian population groups based on duplicate portion diet analysis was evaluated and compared with the new estimated average requirement values (EAR), to assess if selenium deficiency or excess could be observed in these groups. Selenium content was determined by neutron activation analysis (NAA). The average daily dietary selenium intake found was 26.3 (±8.3) ·g/day for children from the city of São Paulo, 37.4 (±16.0) ·g/day for children from Belém, 107 (±107) ·g/day for children from Macapá, 28.4 (±7.5) ·g/day for institutionalized elderly, 32 (±6) ·g/day for non-institutionalized elderly and 37 (±17) ·g/day for university students from São Paulo. Most daily dietary selenium intake range observed were below the EAR values. The values obtained for children groups from Belém and Macapá cities, whose intake levels were much higher than the recommendation, were an exception.

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Abstract  

The Research Reactor Center (CRPQ) of IPEN/CNEN-SP operates the IEA-R1 Research Reactor, at a nominal power of 2 MW thermal, on a 64 hour per week continuous cycle. The IEA-R1 is a pool type reactor, moderated and cooled by light water, with graphite as a reflector. One of the main activities of CRPQ is the neutron activation analysis, which is applied to many fields of research, in collaboration with other institutes and universities. The Research Reactor installations are also intensely used for human resources development in the field of radiochemistry and neutron activation analysis, at graduate and post-graduate levels. In the present paper, an overview will be presented of some of the neutron activation analysis research lines that are being developed, comprising environmental and health-related applications.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: M. Vasconcellos, P. Bode, G. Paletti, M. Catharino, A. Ammerlaan, M. Saiki, D. Fávaro, A. Byrne, R. Baruzzi, and D. Rodrigues

Abstract  

Biomonitoring of mercury contamination of Brazilian Indian population groups living in the Xingu Park, a reservation situated in the Amazonic region, has revealed very high levels of mercury in hair samples as compared to controls. Total mercury was determined by INAA in most of the tribes living in the Park and methylmercury was determined by CVAAS in samples with total mercury above 10 mg/kg. Due to the fact that selenium seems to protect animals against the toxic effects of methylmercury, it was considered also of interest to determine its concentrations in the hair samples with very high mercury levels. Selenium was determined by INAA via the short-lived radionuclide 77mSe (T 1/2 = 17.45 s). The correlations between selenium and mercury concentrations in Brazilian controls and in the Indian population groups are discussed.

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Abstract  

In the present work, results from a survey on mercury concentration in sediments and soils from a gold mining area along the Vila Nova river, in Amapá State, Brazil, are presented. These values were compared with those from the Igarapé Pedra Preta basin, an area unaffected by mining activities. Total mercury contents were determined in the muddy (silt+clay) fraction of the sediments and in the <2 mm fraction of the soils using radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA). The detection limit of the method was 54 µg·kg–1 for soils and 14 µg·kg–1 for sediments when 200 mg of sample were analysed. The Hg results obtained from a comparison between our current method (RNAA) and CV AAS are also presented. Mercury levels showed to be very high in the soils and sediments collected in the Vila Nova river (up to 2 mg·kg–1) when compared to background values (0.3 mg·kg–1) for this region. An enrichment factor was calculated, using Al as a normalizing factor. It showed values up to 8 in sediments of the Vila Nova river basin, indicating a relatively high degree of pollution as compared to the values of about 1 for the samples of the Igarapé Pedra Pretra basin.

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Summary  

Pantanal, located in the central region of South America, is recognized as one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands. In order to verify possible changes in this environment, a study was undertaken in Nhecolândia Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil. Two sediment cores from the Salina do Meio pond (SM1 and SM2) and one core from a small flood land named Baía (B5) were collected in 2001. The elements As, Ba, Br, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Eu, Fe, Hf, La, Lu, Na, Nd, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sm, Ta, Tb, Th, U, Yb, Zn and Zr were determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Cluster and factorial analysis were applied to the chemical data. The sedimentation rate in the SM2 core was determined by 210Pb method and the mean value found was 0.61 cm . y-1. The results obtained in the present study showed that recent geochemical processes such as desorption, precipitation and dissolution can contribute for the high water alkalinity and salinity in the saline ponds.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: L. A. Farias, D. I. T. Favaro, V. A. Maihara, Vasconcellos M. B. A., L. K. Yuyama, J. P. L. Aguiar, and F. J. Alencar

Summary  

Daily dietary intake of Hg and some essential elements in diets of children from communities in the Jaú National Park, Amazon region, were assessed. Diet samples were analyzed for total Hg content using cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry and Ca, Fe, K, Na, Se and Zn contents by instrumental neutron activation analysis. The weekly tolerable provisional intake for Hg in the communities studied varied from 13 to 57 mg of Hg per kg of body weight, exceeding the limit of 5 mg . kg-1 set by the WHO. Comparison of the daily dietary intake values to the new Dietary Reference Intakes (4-8 years), showed prevalence of inadequacy.

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