137Cs and 210Po in Pacific Walrus and Bearded Seal from St. Lawrence Island, Alaska

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The activity concentration of Cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs) and naturally-occurring Polonium-210 ({sup 210}Po) were measured in the muscle tissue, kidney and liver of Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) and bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) collected by native hunters from the Bering Sea. The mean {sup 137}Cs concentrations in muscle, liver and kidney of Pacific walrus were 0.07, 0.09 and 0.07 Bq kg{sup -1} (N= 5, wet weight), respectively, and 0.17, 0.10, and 0.17 Bq kg{sup -1} (N=2, wet weight), respectively, in bearded seal. In general, {sup 137}Cs tissue concentrations are significantly lower than those previously reported for mammals from other regions. By ... continued below

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Hamilton, T F; Seagars, D J; Jokela, T & Layton, D February 2, 2005.

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The activity concentration of Cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs) and naturally-occurring Polonium-210 ({sup 210}Po) were measured in the muscle tissue, kidney and liver of Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) and bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) collected by native hunters from the Bering Sea. The mean {sup 137}Cs concentrations in muscle, liver and kidney of Pacific walrus were 0.07, 0.09 and 0.07 Bq kg{sup -1} (N= 5, wet weight), respectively, and 0.17, 0.10, and 0.17 Bq kg{sup -1} (N=2, wet weight), respectively, in bearded seal. In general, {sup 137}Cs tissue concentrations are significantly lower than those previously reported for mammals from other regions. By comparison, {sup 210}Po activity concentrations appear to be higher than those reported elsewhere but a larger variation. The mean {sup 210}Po concentration in the muscle tissue, liver and kidney of Pacific walrus (N=5, wet weight) were 28.7, 189, and 174 Bq kg{sup -1}, respectively. This compares with {sup 210}Po concentration values (N=2, wet weight) of 27, 207, and 68 Bq kg{sup -1} measured in the muscle tissue, liver and kidney, of bearded seal, respectively. Estimated bioaccumulation factors--as defined by the radionuclide concentration ratio between the target tissue to that in sea water--were two to three orders of magnitude higher for {sup 210}Po that those of {sup 137}Cs. We conclude from radiological dose estimates that ingestion of {sup 137}Cs in foods derived from walrus and seal will pose no threat to human health. This work has important implications for assessing health risks to Alaskan coastal communities concerned about the dumping of nuclear waste in the Russia Arctic.

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PDF-file: 19 pages; size: 0.2 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 56, no. 6, June 1, 2008, pp. 1158-1167; Journal Volume: 56; Journal Issue: 6

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-211213
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936463
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc901397

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  • February 2, 2005

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 6:49 p.m.

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Hamilton, T F; Seagars, D J; Jokela, T & Layton, D. 137Cs and 210Po in Pacific Walrus and Bearded Seal from St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, article, February 2, 2005; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc901397/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.