Retention of Uranium in the Chest: Implications of Findings in Vivo and Postmortem

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An unusually protracted retention of uranium in the chests of certain workers at a uranium processing plant has been reported in the literature. This finding has implications for the protection of current uranium workers and for health-effects studies of early workers. It is shown that the limited data obtained postmortem that have been reported do not reveal a significant unusually protracted retention of uranium in the pulmonary region or in the tracheobronchial lymph nodes. Probable explanations of the disparate findings are discussed. Data are presented on mortality from cancers of lymphatic tissues among males who worked in the period from 1943 to 1947 at the Y-12 Plant, Tennessee-Eastman Corp., Oak Ridge. No significantly increased mortality from these cancers was evident.

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