Nakamura, N., Cullings, H. M., Kodama, Y., Wada, T., Miyazawa, C., Lee, K. and Awa, A. A. A Method to Differentiate between the Levels of ESR Signals Induced by Sunlight and by Ionizing Radiation in Teeth from Atomic Bomb Survivors. Radiat. Res. 165, 359–364 (2006).
Electron spin resonance (ESR, or electron paramagnetic resonance, EPR) analysis of tooth enamel is an effective method for the retrospective estimation of individual radiation doses. One problem with this technique is that the observed ESR signal may include a contribution from ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from sunlight, especially in front teeth. Thus there has been a need to find ways to estimate the UV-light effect in the total signal so that the net ESR dose from ionizing radiation can be determined. To examine this issue, we measured 96 teeth of various types, but with buccal and lingual parts measured separately, from a control group of atomic bomb survivors (estimated dose <5 mGy). We found that, except for molars, the mean ESR-estimated dose for the buccal halves was, on average, nearly twice that from the lingual side, which indicates that the UV-light-induced lingual dose equals the difference between the two halves. Using these corrections for UV-light exposure to front teeth that had been exposed to both ionizing radiation and UV light, it was found that the estimated radiation doses closely approximated the previously estimated ESR dose to molars from the same donors or the estimated dose arrived at with cytogenetic methods. We concluded that, when using ESR to estimate radiation dose, measuring molars is the first choice, but if only front teeth are available, separate measurements to the buccal and lingual parts can provide an estimation of the mean UV-light contribution to the ESR-determined dose.