Some aspects of the fetal doses given in ICRP publication 88

Alan W. Phipps*, John Harrison, Timothy Fell, K. F. Eckerman, D. Nosske

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has recently published dose coefficients (dose per unit intake Sv Bq-1) for the offspring of women exposed to radionuclides during or before pregnancy. These dose estimates include in utero doses to the embryo and fetus and doses delivered postnatally to the newborn child from radionuclides retained at birth. This paper considers the effect on doses of the time of radionuclide intake and examines the proportion of dose delivered in utero and postnatally for different radionuclides. Methods used to calculate doses to the fetal skeleton are compared. For many radionuclides, doses are greatest for intakes early in pregnancy but important exceptions, for which doses are greatest for intakes later in pregnancy, are iodine isotopes and isotopes of the alkaline earth elements, including strontium. While radionuclides such as 131I deliver dose largely in utero, even for intakes late in pregnancy, others such as 239Pu deliver dose largely postnatally, even for intakes early during pregnancy. For alpha emitters deposited in the skeleton, the assumption made is of uniform distribution of the radionuclide and of target cells for leukaemia and bone cancer in utero; that is, the developing bone structure is not considered. However, for beta emitters, the bone structure was considered. Both approaches can be regarded as reasonably conservative, given uncertainties in particular in the location of the target cells and the rapid growth and remodelling of the skeleton at this stage of development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation Protection Dosimetry
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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