Proposed model for estimating dose to inhabitants of 60Co contaminated buildings

John Cardarelli, Larry Elliott, Richard Hornung, Wushou P. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


A model to predict the time weighted exposures to gamma radiation was developed for buildings constructed with structural steel having some contamination from 60Co. Several buildings throughout sixteen city blocks in downtown Taipei were built about ten years ago with this material. These buildings were used for residential, business, and educational purposes with radiation levels ranging from background to five hundred times background. A comprehensive epidemiologic study by the National Yang Ming University Medical School in Taipei is underway to study the effects of this exposure to the building occupants. An evaluation of external radiation exposure was performed using survey instruments and thermoluminescent dosimeters. Exposure data from the survey instruments were used in a computer model developed to calculate cumulative radiation exposure estimates for the epidemiologic research. While the survey instrument data provided radiation levels at a point in time, the thermoluminescent dosimeters were placed in fixed locations and on several volunteers for a period of one month to verify the modeling results. The model itself is a mathematical algorithm that provides estimates with minimum and maximum range values by taking into account differences in the survey data between adults and children, variable occupancy patterns, background radiation, and radioactive decay. Several assumptions (background rates, height adjustment values, and occupancy factors) are easily adjusted to improve the estimated radiation exposures. The model predicted the exposures as measured by the thermoluminescent dosimeters with greater reliability for adults than for children. The differences between the two methods were about 10-15% for the adults and about 60% for the child. This strategy, its advantages, limitations, and its performance against actual thermoluminescent dosimeter measurements are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Co
  • dose assessment
  • epidemiology
  • modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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