Radioactivity of People and Foods

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  28 Jun 1957:
Vol. 125, Issue 3261, pp. 1273-1278
DOI: 10.1126/science.125.3261.1273


Measurements of the cesium-137 content of people and of foodstuffs indicate that this nuclide is unlikely to be a decisive factor in the long-term hazards from weapons testing and reactor waste disposal. The amount of cesium-137 now present in the population of the United States averages 0.006 microcurie and shows no marked dependence on geographic location. The average radiation dose received from cesium-137 is one-twentieth of that received from natural radiopotassium and 1 percent of the average total dose from all natural sources. Because of the short biological half-life of cesium of about 140 days, it does not accumulate in the body as does strontium-90. The study of the distribution of cesium-137 is being continued to furnish information on the mechanisms of the fallout process and provide a measure of the rate of fallout and of stratospheric storage.