Estimates of embryonic and fetal doses-from 239pu

A. Morgan, John Harrison, J. W. Stather*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Previously reported studies on the transfer of 238Pu from the maternal circulation to the developing embryo and fetus in rats and guinea pigs have provided data for developing dosimetric models. The highest concentrations of 238Pu were measured in the yolk sac. In late gestation, preferential uptake of 238Pu in liver and bone was observed. The data obtained, together with other published information, have been used to estimate in utero doses to hemopoietic tissues, taking account of transfer to the blastocyst/egg cylinder, yolk sac, liver, and bone marrow. From animal data, the concentration ratios relative to maternal liver for these tissues were taken to be 0.1,2,0.01, and 0.02, respectively, and were applied to periods of human gestation of 0-2.5 wk, 2.5-6 wk, 6-12 wk, and 12¬38 wk, respectively. Doses to fetal tissues from 239Pu were calculated for chronic ingestion by the mother for a total of 1.8 kBq 2,9Pu during the year of pregnancy, giving a committed effective dose to the mother of 1 mSv. On this basis, the total in utero dose to hemopoietic tissue was about 2 mSv compared with red bone marrow doses of 34 mSv to the mother for the year. The yolk sac and bone marrow dominated in utero doses. The total dose to hemopoietic tissue in the offspring to age 70 y, taking into account the activity present at birth and including in utero doses, was estimated as 24 MSV compared with a maternal dose to red bone marrow of 2.5 mSv. An acute maternal intake of 1.8 kBq by ingestion during the period of yolk sac hemopoiesis would result in the highest in utero dose, estimated at about 36 MSV. However, activity at birth would be lower, giving only a small additional dose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-559
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1992


  • 239Pu
  • Dose assessment
  • Dosimetry
  • Pregnancy


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