United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries Studies
of Occupational Exposure
Dr. Anthony James
Washington State University
United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries
Beginning in the 1960’s with the mission of acquiring and providing precise
information about the effects of plutonium and other transuranic elements
in man, the USTUR has followed up to ‘old age’ almost 500 volunteer Registrants
who worked at weapons sites and received measurable internal doses.
While failing (despite careful life-time follow-up) to demonstrate deleterious
health effects attributable to transuranic elements, USTUR research, based
on these real human data from DOE workers, continues its contributions to
the development of the biokinetic models used internationally to assess intakes
from bioassay data and predict tissue doses.
There is still much to learn from the Registries’ 370 deceased tissue donors
and the 110 still-living Registrants, whose average age is now about 76 years
(youngest 34.7 y, oldest 95.4 y). This paper outlines the objectives
and progress of USTUR’s current 5-y research program, including the application
of registrant case data to (i) quantify the variability in behavior of transuranic
materials among individuals; (ii) validate new methodologies used at DOE
sites for assessing ‘realistic’ tissue doses in individual cases; (iii) model
the effectiveness of chelation therapy, and (iv) examine the adequacy of
protection standards utilized for plutonium workers in the early years of
the nuclear industry.