Studies on the current 137Cs body burden of children in Belarus--can the dose be further reduced?

Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2007;125(1-4):523-6. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncm153. Epub 2007 Feb 20.


After the Chernobyl reactor accident wide areas of Belarus were contaminated with radioactive fallout. The verification and documentation of the long-term development of radiation doses is still going on. A population group of special concern are the children living in contaminated regions. The annual dose limit of 1 mSv is still exceeded in some cases, essentially due to high body burdens of 137Cs as indicated by screening measurements with portable incorporation monitors. In this situation the evaluation of possible dose reduction measures in addition to the control of food contamination is being investigated. Special attention is given to the therapeutic application of a pectin preparation (Vitapect), for which a dose-lowering effect is presumed by Belarusian scientists. In a placebo-controlled double-blind study, several groups of contaminated children received a pectin compound named Vitapect for a two-week period during their stay in a sanatorium. For comparison the same number of control groups were given a placebo preparation. The 137Cs body burden of the children was measured at the beginning and the end. The mean relative reduction of the specific activity within the Vitapect groups was found to be approximately 33%, whereas the specific activity of the children who received a placebo decreased only by approximately 14%, due to clean food supply. It is known that pectins chemically bind cations like caesium in the gastrointestinal tract and thereby increase faecal excretion. Theoretical calculations based on this assumption and considering metabolism processes are qualitatively consistent with the experimentally found retention of radiocaesium in the human body after pectin treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Body Burden*
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Chernobyl Nuclear Accident*
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods*
  • Radiation Protection / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Republic of Belarus
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Cesium Radioisotopes