Americium-241 (²4¹Am) is the second most significant radiation hazard after ²³?Pu at some of the Mayak Production Association facilities. This study summarizes current data on the accumulation, distribution, and excretion of americium compared with plutonium in different organs from former Mayak PA workers. Americium and plutonium were measured in autopsy and bioassay samples and correlated with the presence or absence of chronic disease and with biological transportability of the aerosols encountered at different workplaces. The relative accumulation of ²4¹Am was found to be increasing in the workers over time. This is likely from ²4¹Pu that increases with time in reprocessed fuel and from the increased concentrations of ²4¹Am and ²4¹Pu in inhaled alpha-active aerosols. While differences were observed in lung retention with exposures to different industrial compounds with different transportabilities (i.e., dioxide and nitrates), there were no significant differences in lung retention between americium and plutonium within each transportability group. In the non-pulmonary organs, the highest ratios of ²4¹Am/²4¹Am + SPu were observed in the skeleton. The relative ratios of americium in the skeleton versus liver were significantly greater than for plutonium. The relative amounts of americium and plutonium found in the skeleton compared with the liver were even greater in workers with documented chronic liver diseases. Excretion rates of ²4¹Am in ‘‘healthy’’ workers were estimated using bioassay and autopsy data. The data suggest that impaired liver function leads to reduced hepatic ²4¹Am retention, leading to increased ²4¹Am excretion.
The permissible level of a radionuclide mixture, resulted from the Chernobyl burst, in the human being lungs was determined for two kinds of compounds: absolutely insoluble compounds and soluble compounds in the state of equilibrium. For this purpose the data were used concerning the radionuclide composition and aerosol disperse in lower atmosphere which were obtained by the Department for Dosimetric Control (NPO "Pripiat'"). The results of measurements of 137Cs content taken by the use of human radiation spectrometer (HRS) needed an adequate estimation: low level of 137Cs in the human lungs and body within the Chernobyl NPP, zone does not guarantee radiation security. The notion "permissible content" and the possibility of using thereof in the individual dosimetric control are discussed.