Through radiochemical analysis of voluntary tissue donations, the U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTR) are gaining improved understanding of the distribution and biokinetics of actinide elements in occupationally exposed persons. Evaluation of the first two whole-body contributions to the USTR revealed an inverse proportionality between actinide concentration and bone ash. The analysis of a whole body with significant 241Am deposition indicated a significantly shorter half time in liver and a greater fraction resident in the skeleton than predicted by existing models. Other studies with tissues obtained at autopsy suggest that existing biokinetic models for 238Pu and 241Am and the currently accepted models and limits on intake, which use these models as their basis, may be inaccurately implying that revisions of existing safety standards may be necessary. Other studies of the registries are designed to evaluate in-vivo estimates of actinide deposition with those derived from postmortem tissue analysis, to compare results of animal experiments with human data, and to review histopathologic slides for tissue changes that might be attributable to exposure to transuranic elements. The implications of these recent findings and other work of the registries is discussed from the standpoint of this potential effect on biokinetic modeling, internal dose assessment, and safety standards and operational health physics practices.
©1988Health Physics Society