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A prerequisite in the setting and enforcement of regulatory limits for exposure to thorium in the workplace is that thorium and its progeny can be accurately measured. Literature surveys have shown that the majority of thorium measurements were performed using either a radiochemical technique, such as alpha or gamma spectroscopy, or ICP-MS. For many methods, there was a separation step to isolate and pre-concentrate thorium from the sample matrix. Thorium was most commonly measured in geological matrices and industrial materials. A survey of current research activity was performed through distribution of a questionnaire to laboratories and national centres. From the responses, four areas of current activity were identified:

-Development of methods for low level thorium determination.
-Biological monitoring and metabolism of thorium.
-Environmental monitoring for thorium.
-Health risks from X ray contract media.

Two key areas for priority research were identified by the thorium Thematic Network: namely sample preparation methods and for traceable standards and reference materials for thorium analysis. lysis.

Additional information

Authors: WHITE M A, Health and Safety Executive, Sheffield (GB);HOWE A R, Health and Safety Laboratory, Sheffield (GB);ROSEN P, Health and Safety Laboratory, Sheffield (GB);HOLMES L, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRRM), Geel (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 97(2), (2001), pp 101-104.
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