Radioactive Times: LLRC Journal

Genetic effects of Plutonium and Strontium isotopes

report from Radioactive Times Volume 3, Number 1, March 1999 (content not updated)

In RaT vol. 2 no. 4 p 1-2 we reported the work of Dr Brian Lord in Manchester who had shown that mice injected with plutonium produced offspring with a high chance of contracting leukemia when ‘developed’ with a mutagenic chemical.
Earlier work by Lord’s team had been able to assess the RBE or relative biological effectiveness of internal Plutonium at more than 200-fold. This finding suggests an equivalent error in the ICRP risk model for this kind of exposure.

In 1990, Dr W.A.Mueller of the GSF Institute fuer Pathologie in Neuherberg published a letter in Nature (v345 ;7/6/1990) suggesting that both Plutonium and Strontium-90 might have large genetic effects which might feed through to leukemia.

Mueller pointed out that K.G. Luning et al had shown in 1963 , using mice, that the genetic effects of Strontium-90 were profound. Luning believed this was due to due to the binding of Sr-90 to DNA phosphate residues in germ cells. Luning’s experiments were discussed in Wings of Death where they are used as supporting evidence for the Second Event theory. Mueller, however, measured levels of the Strontium daughter, Yttrium-90, in testes and believes that it is this that causes the effect. He argues that the chemical nature of plutonium and its alpha activity would make it an even greater danger. Pu-239 is, of course, also a Second Event emitter.


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