Abstract

Uranium, both a radioactive material and a heavy metal, poses a health risk due to its radiological properties and chemical toxicity. In the present study, uranium concentration and relative age-dependent effective dose have been measured in 27 commercial brands of bottled waters collected randomly from different districts of Punjab, India. Uranium concentration varied from 0.19 to 9.29 μg l−1 with a mean value of 1.58 μg l−1, a standard deviation of 1.95 μg l−1 and a median of 0.82 μg l−1. Uranium concentrations in all the samples were found to be lower than the WHO and USEPA prescribed limit of 30 μg l−1 and AERB India proposed a radiological based limit of 60 μg l−1. Based on permissible limits, all the samples were suitable for human consumption. The annual effective dose was determined by taking the recommended water intake values of different age groups. The mean annual effective dose for all age groups was well within the ICRP recommended reference dose level of 1 mSv y−1. The highest dose was calculated for infants, which makes them the most crucial group of the population.

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