Measurable amounts of plutonium remaining in contaminated wounds have been counted periodically by gamma spectroscopy techniques to study the behavior over long periods of time. Eleven such cases and the resultant excretion of plutonium in the urine are discussed. These have been selected from over 100 exposures followed during the past 6 years. The study has been divided into three arbitrary classes: Cases where plutonium at the site remains constant during the time of study, cases where measurable plutonium decreases to background after remaining constant over a long period and cases where the amount remaining steadily decreases following the accident. Plutonium excretion may be significant or negligible in each of these categories. Possible differences in conditions which might account for this are discussed. The study shows that no specific excretion pattern can be predicted from wound data. Histories of four cases in which the plutonium became encapsulated, forming nodules at the wound site, are included.
©1964Health Physics Society