A small amount of radioactive cesium was found in the urine samples from 141 infants and young children living in Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled nuclear power plant is located, among 2,022 of those surveyed, a Japanese research group has said. Three urine samples contained more than 10 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, including a case with 17.5 becquerels. Ten becquerels or less of cesium was found in the samples of the other 138, the Yokohama-based Isotope Research Institute said yesterday. The urine samples also contained about an average 64 becquerels of radioactive potassium. "The level of cesium is lower than that of potassium, and it definitely has no effect on the human body," said Hideaki Karaki, honorary professor of food safety at the University of Tokyo. "But we still need to know how cesium was taken into those infants' bodies." The research institute said those children with over 10 becquerels of cesium were eating home-grown vegetables. The survey, conducted from last November to January, covered infants and children up to age 7. According to Fukushima Prefecture, the cesium testing covered the largest number of citizens since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011
Caesium-137 reacts with water producing a water-soluble compound (caesium hydroxide), and the biological behavior of caesium is similar to that of potassium and rubidium. After entering the body, caesium gets more or less uniformly distributed throughout the body, with higher concentration in muscle tissues and lower in bones. The biological half-life of caesium is rather short at about 70 days. Experiments with dogs showed that a single dose of 3800 μCi/kg (140 MBq/kg, or approximately 44 μg/kg) is lethal within three weeks.
Accidental ingestion of caesium-137 can be treated with Prussian blue, which binds to it chemically and reduces the biological half-life to 30 days.
Suggested long-range effects
Graph of Down syndrome cases in Belarus.
Suggested long term effects:
Down syndrome (trisomy 21). In West Berlin, Germany, prevalence of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) peaked 9 months following the main fallout.[ 11, 12] Between 1980 and 1986, the birth prevalence of Down syndrome was quite stable (i.e., 1.35–1.59 per 1,000 live births [27–31 cases]). In 1987, 46 cases were diagnosed (prevalence = 2.11 per 1,000 live births). Most of the excess resulted from a cluster of 12 cases among children born in January 1987. The prevalence of Down syndrome in 1988 was 1.77, and in 1989, it reached pre-Chernobyl values. The authors noted that the isolated geographical position of West Berlin prior to reunification, the free genetic counseling, and complete coverage of the population through one central cytogenetic laboratory support completeness of case ascertainment; in addition, constant culture preparation and analysis protocols ensure a high quality of data.
Chromosomal aberrations. Reports of structural chromosome aberrations in people exposed to fallout in Belarus and other parts of the former Soviet Union, Austria, and Germany argue against a simple dose-response relationship between degree of exposure and incidence of aberrations. These findings are relevant because a close relationship exists between chromosome changes and congenital malformations. Inasmuch as some types of aberrations are almost specific for ionizing radiation, researchers use aberrations to assess exposure dose. On the basis of current coefficients, however, one cannot assume that calculation of individual exposure doses resulting from fallout would not induce measurable rates of chromosome aberrations.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) in Turkey. During the embryonic phase of fetal development, the neural tube differentiates into the brain and spinal cord (i.e., collectively forming the central nervous system). Chemical or physical interactions with this process can cause NTDs. Common features of this class of malformations are more or less extended fissures, often accompanied by consecutive dislocation of central nervous system (CNS) tissue. NTDs include spina bifida occulta and aperta, encephalocele, and—in the extreme case—anencephaly. The first evidence in support of a possible association between CNS malformations and fallout from Chernobyl was published by Akar et al.. in 1988. The Mustafakemalpasa State Hospital, Bursa region, covers a population of approximately 90,000. Investigators have documented the prevalence of malformations since 1983. The prevalence of NTDs was 1.7 to 9.2 per 1,000 births, but during the first 6 months of 1987 increased to 20 per 1,000 (12 cases). The excess was most pronounced for the subgroup of anencephalics, in which prevalence increased 5-fold (i.e., 10 per 1,000 [6 cases]). In the consecutive months that followed (i.e., July–December 1987), the prevalence decreased again (1.3 per 1,000 for all NTDs, 0.6 per 1,000 for anencephaly), and it reached pre-Chernobyl levels during the first half of 1988 (all NTDs: 0.6 per 1,000; anencephaly: 0.2 per 1,000). This initial report was supported by several similar findings in observational studies from different regions of Turkey
According to the study of Pathological anatomist, Yury Bandazhevsky from Belarus, 90% of the children in Homyel to have 37 – 74Bq/kg of cesium measured from their cardiac muscle showed abnormal electrocardiogram. Highly concentrated cesium in dust causes serious internal exposure to breathe in.