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Transfer of Radiocesium from Different Environmental Sources to Ewes and Suckling Lambs.

Howard, B. J.; Mayes, R. W.; Beresford, N. A.; Lamb, C. S.

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Abstract

Indoor experiments are described that compare the transfer of radiocesium to ewe and Iamb tissues from different sources. Lactating ewes were fed either perennial ryegrass contaminated by Chernobyl fallout, or saltmarsh vegetation contaminated by marine discharges from the Sellafield reprocessing plant. The transfer to ewe tissues and milk was greater from the Chernobyl contaminated herbage than from saltmarsh vegetation. Lambs receiving a mixture of vegetation and milk were given radiocesium from one of the two vegetation sources or from milk obtained from the experimental ewes. Transfer to lamb tissues declined in the order milk > Chernobyl fallout > Sellafield discharge. The radiocesium transfer to lamb tissues exceeded that to ewe tissues. Transfer coefficients for 137Cs in the Chernobyl fallout were higher than most previously published figures at 0.12 d kg-1 for ewe muscle and 0.50 d kg-1 for lamb muscle. The transfer coefficient for 137Cs from ewe milk to lamb muscle was 1.20 d kg-1.

(C)1989Health Physics Society

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