In U mines and mills, mean doses from gamma radiation and 222Rn daughters, respectively, range from 10–30% of the individual limits recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), while the mean exposure to long-lived dust can be as low as a few percent or as high as 30% of the ICRP recommended limit. In certain mines, 220Rn daughters are present and should also be measured and accounted for. When the doses (or dose equivalents) from all the components of the radiation sources are taken into account, according to the ICRP notions of effective dose equivalent and committed effective dose equivalent, the mean of the combined doses can reach 30–50% of the combined permissible limit of dose. It is generally observed that individual doses and exposure to radiation are log-normally distributed. Since individual exposures to each specific hazard are generally not correlated, there is a probability that a number of individuals belong to the upper part of each exposure distribution. Therefore, it can happen that non-negligible fractions of the populations are liable to be close to the combined dose limit or to be overexposed. Consequently, in view of the observed nature of the distributions and the need to account for all sources of radiation, it is essential that appropriate radiation monitoring techniques be used to measure and record all significant doses and exposures. The analysis of the results of appropriate monitoring practices will lead to improved engineering controls of radiation hazards and optimum use of preventive resources.
©1988Health Physics Society