An unexpected rise in strontium-90 in US deciduous teeth in the 1990s.
Sci Total Environ. 2003 Dec 30;317(1-3):37-51. PMID: 14630411
Radiation and Public Health Project, 786 Carroll Street, #9, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
For several decades, the United States has been without an ongoing program measuring levels of fission products in the body. Strontium-90 (Sr-90) concentrations in 2089 deciduous (baby) teeth, mostly from persons living near nuclear power reactors, reveal that average levels rose 48.5% for persons born in the late 1990s compared to those born in the late 1980s. This trend represents the first sustained increase since the early 1960s, before atmospheric weapons tests were banned. The trend was consistent for each of the five states for which at least 130 teeth are available. The highest averages were found in southeastern Pennsylvania, and the lowest in California (San Francisco and Sacramento), neither of which is near an operating nuclear reactor. In each state studied, the average Sr-90 concentration is highest in counties situated closest to nuclear reactors. It is likely that, 40 years after large-scale atmospheric atomic bomb tests ended, much of the current in-body radioactivity represents nuclear reactor emissions.