Reports

Fluoride Distribution and Biological Availability in the Fallout from Mount St. Helens, 18 to 21 May 1980

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Science  19 Dec 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4476, pp. 1352-1354
DOI: 10.1126/science.210.4476.1352

Abstract

Concentrations of fluoride in the ash fallout in central Washington from the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens varied severalfold, but none are high enough to constitute any immediate hazard to animal life. The heaviest fallout (Moses Lake) contained 113 parts per million (ppm) of acid-labile fluoride, but of this only 11 ppm was water-soluble and 20 ppm was available to rats. The fluoride concentrations in the urine of cattle feeding for 4 days on hay contaminated with this ash were essentially normal. Samples of ash from other areas generally had higher concentrations of acid-labile fluoride but lower concentrations of water-soluble fluoride. The concentration of water-soluble fluoride was inversely correlated with the coarseness of the fallout.

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