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Trivedi A.; Galeriu, D.; Lamothe, E. S.
Health Physics: January 2000
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Our earlier study of acute tritiated water intakes in humans has demonstrated that the dose contribution from metabolized organically bound tritium is less than 10% of the body water dose. To further demonstrate that the dose contribution from the organically bound tritium per unit intake of tritiated water is the same, regardless of whether the intake is acute (all at once) or chronic (spread over time), urine samples from six male radiation workers with chronic tritiated water intakes were collected and analyzed for tritium. These workers have a well-documented dose history and a well-controlled tritium bioassay database, providing assurance that their tritium intakes were in the form of tritiated water. Each month for a full calendar year, urine samples were collected from each exposed worker. The monthly concentration of tritium-in-urine for each exposed worker was no lower than 104 Bq L−1 but no higher than 105 Bq L−1. These urine samples were analyzed for tritiated water and organically bound tritium to determine the ratio of these tritiated species in urine. The average ratio of tritiated water to organically bound tritium in urine for each exposed worker was 330 ± 129 (range, 297–589). In calculating the dose to these workers, we assumed that, under steady-state conditions, the ratio of the specific activity of tritium (3H activity per gH) in the organic matter and water fractions of urine is representative of the ratio of the specific activity of tritium in the organic matter and water fractions of soft tissue. A mathematical model was developed and used to estimate the dose increase from the metabolized organically bound tritium based on the ratio of tritiated water to organically bound tritium in urine. The resulting average dose from the organically bound tritium was 6.9 ± 3.1% (range, 4.7–9.9%) of the body water dose for the six male workers, and agrees well with the value obtained from our acute tritiated water intakes study in humans. The observed dose contribution from organically bound tritium, relative to body water dose, is in agreement with current recommendations of assigning 10% of total body water dose for organically bound tritium in soft tissues after tritiated water intakes.

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