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Absorbed doses of lungs from radon retained in airway lumens of mice and rats

Sakoda, Akihiro; Ishimori, Yuu; Yamaoka, Kiyonori*; Kataoka, Takahiro*; Mitsunobu, Fumihiro*

This paper provides absorbed doses arising from radon gas in air retained in lung airway lumens. Because radongas exposure experiments often use small animals, the calculation was performed for mice and rats. For reference, the corresponding computations were also done for humans. Assuming that radon concentration in airway lumens is the same as that in the environment, its progeny's production in and clearance from airways were simulated. Absorbed dose rates were obtained for three lung regions and the whole lung, considering that secretory and basal cells are sensitive to radiation. The results showed that absorbed dose rates for all lung regions and whole lung increase from mice to rats to humans. For example, the dose rates for the whole lung were 25.4 in mice, 41.7 in rats, and 59.9 pGy/(Bq/m$$^{3}$$)/h in humans. Furthermore, these values were also compared with lung dose rates from two other types of exposures, i.e., due to inhalation of radon or its progeny, which were already reported. It was confirmed that the direct inhalation of radon progeny in the natural environment, which is known as a cause of lung cancer, results in the highest dose rates for all species. Based on the present calculations, absorbed dose rates of the whole lung from radon gas were lower by a factor of about 550 (mice), 200 (rats) or 70 (humans) than those from radon progeny inhalation. The calculated dose rate values are comparatively small. Nevertheless, the present study is considered to contribute to our understanding of doses from inhalation of radon and its progeny.

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