An overview on the concentration of radioactive elements and physiochemical analysis of soil and water in Iraq

Iftikhar Alam 1 , Jalil ur Rehman 2 , Nisar Ahmad 2 , Alia Nazir 1 , Aslam Hameed 1 , and Altaf Hussain 1
  • 1 Department of Physics, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  • 2 Department of Physics, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta, Pakistan
Iftikhar Alam, Jalil ur Rehman
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  • Department of Physics, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta, Pakistan
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, Nisar Ahmad
  • Department of Physics, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta, Pakistan
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, Alia Nazir, Aslam Hameed and Altaf Hussain


In the last decade, radiation physics brought about a revolution in health science by improving scientific equipment and useful methodologies for measurement. Human beings are affected by ionizing radiations that radiate from radioactive elements. The quantity of radioactive elements is different inside and outside the earth’s surface. Soil and water are exigencies of human lives which are contaminated by radioactive elements. These radioactive elements enter into the human body through drinking, eating and breathing. On reaching hazardous limits in the human body, these radioactive elements cause stomach cancer, lung cancer and leukemia. Measurement of radioactive elements in soil and water is helpful in monitoring the health issues caused by exposure to these elements. In Iraq, numerous studies about natural radioactivity, radon concentration and physiochemical parameters have been conducted by different researchers, of which most of the studies were conducted in Barsa, Nasirya, Najaf, Karbala, Baghdad, Balad, Kirkuk, Erbil, Mosul and Dohuk cities. This article aims to review and compile the studies conducted in these cities of Iraq from 2011 to 2019. In most articles, high-purity germanium (HPGe), RAD7 and CR-39 detectors are used for radioactivity and radon measurement. These cities are located in the low-high folded and Mesopotamian zones. From this study, it can be concluded that radon concentration in soil and water was greater in the Mesopotamian and lower in the low-high folded zones. Higher concentrations of natural radioactivity in water and soil were found in the low-high folded zone in Iraq. However, most of the conducted studies show that concentrations of radon and natural radioactivity are above the permissible limits recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and World Health Organization (WHO). The values of physiochemical parameters were found to be greater in the Mesopotamian zone, but overall they are not above the permissible limits.

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