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Health Phys. 2012 Feb;102(2):124-36. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31823095e5.

Biokinetics of embedded surrogate radiological dispersal device material.

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Internal Contamination and Metal Toxicity Program, Scientific Research Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Uniformed Services University, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA.


The terrorist use of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) has been described as "not if, but when" (). Exposures from such an event could occur by a number of routes including inhalation, wound contamination, or embedded fragments. Several of the radionuclides thought to be potential RDD components are metals or ceramic material. The use of such material would increase the potential for wounds from embedded fragments of radioactive material. To date, most research in this area has focused on inhalation exposures, while the consequence of embedded fragment exposure has not been investigated. This study modified a previously used rodent model in order to determine the biokinetics of intramuscularly implanted nonradioactive surrogate RDD material. Cobalt, iridium, or strontium titanate was embedded into the gastrocnemius muscle of Sprague Dawley rats. The rats were euthanized at 1, 3, or 6 mo post-implantation. Tissue metal analysis showed that iridium did not solubilize from the implanted pellet, while cobalt and strontium did so rapidly. Cobalt was found in all tissues analyzed, but it was localized mainly to kidney and liver as well as being excreted in the urine. Strontium was found in lung, liver, and spleen, as well as being deposited in bone. However, the greatest strontium concentrations were found in the popliteal lymph nodes, the lymph nodes responsible for draining the area of the gastrocnemius. These results indicate that, depending upon the material, a variety of treatment strategies will be needed when dealing with embedded fragment wounds from a radiological dispersal device event.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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