Biokinetic modeling of uranium in man after injection and ingestion

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Uranium is a naturally occurring primordial radioactive element. Small amounts found in air, water, and food are regularly consumed and inhaled by humans. Even the military, medical, and industrial use of depleted uranium can affect humans. There is an appreciable retention of incorporated uranium in skeleton, kidneys, and liver, and a review of respective effective dose coefficients has been given by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in its Publication 69, however, data regarding retention in organs or tissues and rates of urinary and fecal excretion for different age groups are incomplete. Therefore, the present study provides retention data that have been calculated for uranium in all compartments and for urinary and fecal excretion, following acute and chronic injection and ingestion for six age groups. The calculations are based on the current ICRP biokinetic model for uranium, and the data can be plotted by using any mathematical software to obtain the retention data at any time after incorporation or to calculate the internal average organ dose induced by uranium provided that specific absorbed fractions are available. The dynamic relationship of the retention in plasma and blood after intravenously and orally administered uranium can easily be derived from the database for injection and ingestion. The calculated contents of uranium in organs or tissues (using the uranium concentration in foodstuffs published by UNSCEAR for Europeans) are compared with autopsy data available in the literature. According to this model, the whole body of a 75-year-old man contains 7 g uranium, of which 76% is in the skeleton, 1% in the kidneys, and 2.1% in the liver.

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