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Summary  

Santos Basin, located in Southwest Brazil, is considered the most important industrial region of the country. Among the industrial activities present, phosphate fertilizer plants are responsible for the production of 69 million tons of phosphogypsum waste, which is stockpiled in the surrounding environment. This waste concentrates radionuclides of the natural series as well as rare earth elements originally present in the phosphate rock used as raw material. This study aims to evaluate the environmental impact of such activities in the sediments of the estuarine system by measuring the concentration of U, Th and rare earth elements and activity concentration of radionuclides 226Ra, 228Ra, 228 Th and 210Pb.

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Summary  

Phosphate deposits are generally characterized by enhanced radionuclide concentrations compared to natural levels. The mining and processing of this phosphate ore redistribute radionuclides throughout the environment and introduce them into phosphoric acid and phosphogypsum. Phosphoric acid is the starting material for triple superphosphate (TSP), single superphosphate (SSP), monoammonium phosphate (MAP), diammonium phosphate (DAP), NPK fertilizers and di-calcium phosphate (DCP). Contents of natural radionuclides from thorium and uranium series, 226Ra, 210Pb and 228Ra, were measured in Brazilian igneous phosphate rock, phosphoric acid, phosphogypsum and phosphate fertilizer samples, using high-resolution gamma-spectrometry. Neutron activation analysis was used for the determination of U and Th in the same samples. The fertilizers samples which are derived directly from phosphoric acid, MAP and DAP, presented activity concentrations around the detection limits of the counting system for 226Ra (<5.0 Bq . kg-1 ), for 228Ra (<3.0 Bq . kg-1) and for 210Pb (<19 Bq . kg-1). As for U and Th, the concentrations found in MAP and DAP are more significant, up to 374 and 250 Bq . kg-1, respectively. SSP, TSP and NPK, which are obtained by mixing phosphoric acid with different amounts of phosphate rock and NH3, presented higher concentrations of radionuclides, up to 871 Bq . kg-1 for 226Ra, 283 Bq . kg-1 for 228Ra, 1255 Bq . kg-1 for 210Pb, 413 Bq . kg-1 for U and 538 Bq . kg-1 for Th.

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Summary  

In the last decades considerable attention has been given to technologically enhanced natural occurring radioactive material (TENORM). Within this frame, of particular concern is the phosphate fertilizer industry, located in Cubatão, São Paulo State, Southwest Brazil. This industry is responsible for the production of 69 million tons of phosphogypsum waste, which is stockpiled in the surrounding environment. This waste concentrates radionuclides of the natural series originally present in the phosphate rocks used as raw material. This study aims to evaluate the environmental impact of such activities in the sediments of the estuarine system. Contents of natural radionuclides from thorium and uranium series were measured in sediments from Cubatão estuarine system, using high-resolution gamma-spectrometry. U and Th were determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). It was observed that U and Th concentration is higher in the rivers close to the phosphogypsum piles, at least five points were identified as being affected by anthropogenic factors.

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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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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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