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Originally posted by imhotep
I'll go and search for it again and post up web site address.
How do people come in contact with strontium-90?
Everyone is exposed to small amounts of strontium-90, since it is widely dispersed in the environment and the food chain. Dietary intake of Sr-90, however, has steadily fallen over the last 30 years with the suspension of nuclear weapons testing. People who live near or work in nuclear facilities may have increased exposure to Sr-90. The greatest concern would be the exposures from an accident at a nuclear reactor, or an accident involving high-level wastes.
How can strontium-90 affect people's health?
Strontium-90 is chemically similar to calcium, and tends to deposit in bone and blood-forming tissue (bone marrow). Thus, strontium-90 is referred to as a "bone seeker." Internal exposure to Sr-90 is linked to bone cancer, cancer of the soft tissue near the bone, and leukemia.
Risk of cancer increases with increased exposure to Sr-90. The risk depends on the concentration of Sr-90 in the environment, and on the exposure conditions.
For several decades, the United States has been without an ongoing program measuring levels of fission products in the body. Strontium-90 (Sr-90) concentrations in 2089 deciduous (baby) teeth, mostly from persons living near nuclear power reactors, reveal that average levels rose 48.5% for persons born in the late 1990s compared to those born in the late 1980s. This trend represents the first sustained increase since the early 1960s, before atmospheric weapons tests were banned. The trend was consistent for each of the five states for which at least 130 teeth are available. The highest averages were found in southeastern Pennsylvania, and the lowest in California (San Francisco and Sacramento), neither of which is near an operating nuclear reactor. In each state studied, the average Sr-90 concentration is highest in counties situated closest to nuclear reactors. It is likely that, 40 years after large-scale atmospheric atomic bomb tests ended, much of the current in-body radioactivity represents nuclear reactor emissions.