Urine samples from eight male radiation workers who had an unplanned acute tritiated water intake were measured for tritium-in-urine up to 300 d post-exposure. During the first month or so post-exposure, these individuals increased their fluid intakes to accelerate the turnover rate of tritium in the body for dose mitigation. Their daily fluid intakes reverted to normal levels in the latter period of the study. A non-linear regressional analysis of the tritium-in urine data showed that the average biological half-life of tritium in body water, with standard deviation, was 6.3 +/- 1.0 d (range, 5.0-8.1 d) and 8.4 +/- 2.0 d (range, 6.2-12.8 d) during the respective periods of increased fluid intake and the later period of normal fluid intake. A longer term component of tritium excretion was also observed with average biological half-life of 74 +/- 18 d (range, 58-104 d), indicating the incorporation of tritium, and its retention, in the organic fractions of the body. A mathematical model was developed and used to estimate the dose increase from the metabolized organically bound tritium on the basis of the kinetics of tritium-in-urine. The model accounts for a change in the rates of urinary excretion caused by variable fluid intakes. The average dose to the body, for the eight male workers, due to the metabolized organically bound tritium was estimated to be 6.2 +/- 1.3% (range, 3.5% to 8.9%) of the committed effective dose due to tritium in the body water. This value for the dose increase from organically bound tritium is in the range of the current recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, i.e., organically bound tritium incorporated into the body contributes about 10% of the dose to the body water following tritiated water intakes.
(C)1997Health Physics Society