Metal tritides including titanium tritide (Ti 3Hx) and erbium tritide (Er 3Hx) have been used as components of neutron generators. The current understanding of metal tritides and their radiation dosimetry for internal exposure is very limited, and the ICRP Publication 30 does not provide for tritium dosimetry in metal tritide form. However, a few papers in the literature suggest that the solubility of metal tritides could be low. The current radiation protection guidelines for metal tritide particles are based on the assumption that their biological behavior is similar to tritiated water, which could be easily absorbed into body fluid. Therefore, these particles could have relatively short biological half-lives (10 d). If the solubility is low, the biological half-life of metal tritide particles and the dosimetry of an inhalation exposure to these particles could be quite different from tritiated water. This paper describes experiments on the dissolution rate of titanium tritide particles in a simulated lung fluid. Titanium tritide particles with mean sizes of 103 aem (coarse) and 0.95 aem (Cne) were used. The results showed that the coarse particles dissolved much more slowly than the fine particles. The long-term dissolution half times were 361 and 33 d for the coarse and fine particles, respectively. Dissolution data of the fine particles were consistent with the diffusion theory. The dissolution half times were longer than the 10-d biological half time for tritiated water in the body. This finding has significant implications for the current health protection guidelines, including annual limits of intakes and derived air concentrations.
(C)1997Health Physics Society