A REVIEW OF LABORATORY ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS RELATED TO THE RADIOBIOLOGY OF TRITIUM. Page: 5 of 22
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presumably man, if exposed to sufficiently high levels of tritium under
the experimentally investigated conditions. Rather than attempt to catalog
these animals experiments, I propose to state my conclusions in various
areas, and support these conclusions by reference to some of the more
interesting and pertinent experiments. While perhaps lacking in objectivity
and scientific rigor this approach seemed the only way to cover the field
while still allowing some opportunity to dwell upon the more interesting
In keeping with this plan of attack, I would like to now state my
general conclusion. Animal experiments conducted over the past 20 years
have demonstrated no unusual metabolic behavior of tritium that would
not have been fairly confidently predicted before these experiments were
conducted; nor have the effects of tritium observed in animals differed
from those which might have been predicted from a general knowledge of
the effects of ionizing radiation. This lack of surprises should, itself,
not be surprising. Tritium is, after all, an isotope of hydrogen, which
is the simplest element and probably the most studied and best known element.
Tritium oxide, the compound of principal hazard concern, is water; and
water must be, by all odds, the most studied and best known of all compounds.
It would indeed be surprising if we had not been able to make some pretty
good predictions about tritium hazards.
Which is not to say that hazard evaluation studies with tritium
during the past 20 years have been a waste of time, or that there are
not still experiments that should be done.. In no areas of radiation
hazard evaluation can we predict with such confidence that experimental
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Thompson, R. C. A REVIEW OF LABORATORY ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS RELATED TO THE RADIOBIOLOGY OF TRITIUM., report, January 1, 1971; Richland, Washington. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1030877/m1/5/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.