For the first time, plutonium retention in human upper airways was investigated based on the dosimetric structure of the human respiratory tract proposed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). This paper describes analytical work methodology, case selection criteria, and summarizes findings on soluble (ICRP 68 Type M material) plutonium distribution in the lungs of a former nuclear worker occupationally exposed to plutonium nitrate [239Pu(NO3)4]. Thirty-eight years post-intake, plutonium was found to be uniformly distributed between bronchial (BB), bronchiolar (bb) and alveolar-interstitial (AI) dosimetric compartments as well as between the left and right lungs. 239+240Pu and 238Pu total body activity was estimated to be 2333 ± 23 and 42.1 ± 0.7 Bq, respectively. The results of this work provide key information on the extent of plutonium binding in the upper airways of the human respiratory tract.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded as a part of Epidemiological Studies of Exposed Southern Urals Populations under Grant Agreement No 249675, sponsored by the 7th Framework Program for the European Atomic Energy Community. The work was funded by the Laboratory Directed Research Development program at PNNL. Subsequent funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research Low Dose Radiation Research Program. The USTUR is funded by U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Domestic and International Studies (AU-13), under Grant Award No DE-HS0000073.