The Extent Of Contamination, Detection, And Health Significance Of High Accumulations Of Radioactivity In Southeastern Game Populations

Specimens of various game species from Virginia, North Carolina. South Carolina, Georgia. Alabama, and Florida were analyzed for all gamma ray emitting radioisotopes by gamma ray spectrometry methods in a whole body counter. It was possible to determine radionuclide concentrations in the field with relatively simple gamma ray detecting equipment. The most important isotope was Cesium-137. Specimens from the Mountain. Piedmont. and Upper Coastal Plain regions were generally low; those from the Lower Coastal Plain region had significantly higher cOncentrations. Levels of contamination ranged from 250 picocuries per Kilogram in the Mountain region to 152,940 picocuries per kilogram in the Lower Coastal Plain region. Domestic commodities were much lower in radiation burden and were regularly analyzed for radionuclides as a comparison to levels found in game species. At the present time it is not known what long term effects high radionuclide levels may have on the game species involved. An individual could COnsume twenty-eight pounds per year of a game animal containing 100.000 picocuries per kilogram of Cesium-137 without exceeding the limits recommended by the Federal Radiation Council. Due to human dietary habits the present radionuclide levels in game species are not considered a serious public health hazard. but monitoring of this situation should be continued.

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