2009 Volume 34 Issue 4 Pages 417-425
The isotope 210Po was suspected of being involved in the death of a former Russian intelligence agent in 2006 in the UK. Although human exposure to this natural radionuclide in foods is estimated to be high, few studies are available. UNSCEAR Report 2000 does not contain data on 210Po concentrations of foodstuffs in Japan. We analyzed samples of the everyday Japanese diet cooked with foodstuffs purchased at supermarkets in 7 major domestic cities in 2007-2008. 210Po was quantified by alpha spectrometry and natural radionuclides such as 40K by gamma spectrometry. The daily intake and committed effective dose of 210Po, 40K, and other natural radionuclides for Japanese adults were calculated. Daily intake was 0.34-1.84 (mean ± σ : 0.66 ± 0.53) and 68.5-94.2 (81.5 ± 8.5) Bq/d and the committed effective dose was 0.15-0.81 (0.29 ± 0.24) and 0.16-0.21 (0.18 ± 0.02) mSv for 210Po and 40K, respectively, comprising a high percentage of the total exposure. The total of the mean committed effective dose for the two nuclides (0.47 mSv) was higher than the annual effective dose from ingestion of foods reported by UNSCEAR 2000 (0.29 mSv). The mean committed effective dose of 40K in the 7 major Japanese cities was comparable to the global average (0.17 mSv). The dietary exposure of Japanese adults can be characterized by a higher 210Po contribution than in other countries. Of the total daily dietary 210Po exposure (13 food categories excluding water) for adults in Yokohama, about 70% was from fish/shellfish and 20% from vegetables/mushrooms/seaweeds, reflecting preferences of Japanese to eat a considerable amount of fish/shellfish containing high 210Po concentrations.