Letter | Published:

Variations in the Retention and Excretion of 137Cs with Age and Sex

Nature volume 222, pages 11881189 (21 June 1969) | Download Citation



THE biological behaviour of 137Cs is important in measuring the dose received by the general population from fallout as well as that received by an individual from a specific uptake. Estimates of biological half-life1–4 differ because only small population groups were studied. A correlation between 137Cs concentrations (with respect to K) in milk and in the body indicates that 137Cs in children between 5 and 11 has a much shorter biological half-life5. This article reports a four-year study to determine the biological behaviour of 137Cs in 110 people representing a cross-section of the general population. The study population was grouped as shown in Table 1. The content of 137Cs in the body was measured in the whole body counter at the Savannah River Laboratory. Adults were counted monthly; adolescents and children were counted every other month. A urine sample was collected from each subject within several days after their whole body count and analysed for 137Cs and 40K. The combined body counts and analysis of the urine provided a material balance between assimilation, retention and excretion of 137Cs. To provide a common denominator and eliminate the inconvenience of obtaining 24-h urine samples, 137Cs content is expressed per g of potassium, a chemically similar element.

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  1. Savannah River Laboratory, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Aiken, South Carolina 29801.

    • A. L. BONI


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