Doses from radioactive methane
Phipps AW., Kendall GM., Fell TP., Harrison JD.
A possible radiation hazard arises from exposure to methane labelled with either a 3H or a 14C nuclide. This radioactive methane could be released from a variety of sources, e.g. land burial sites containing radioactive waste. Standard assumptions adopted for vapours would not apply to an inert alkane like methane. This paper discusses mechanisms by which radioactive methane would irradiate tissues and provides estimates of doses. Data on skin thickness and metabolism of methane are discussed with reference to these mechanisms. It is found that doses are dominated by dose from the small fraction of methane which is inhaled and metabolised. This component of dose has been calculated under rather conservative assumptions.