Of the 500,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union who came to Israel during 1990-1993, about 100,000 are estimated to have come from radiocontaminated areas near Chernobyl. These people were subject to chronic uptake of environmental radiocesium over protracted periods. During October-November 1991, a joint Israeli-Canadian investigation measured radiocesium body burdens in immigrants to Israel from the Ukraine, Belarus, and the southern Russian republic in order to provide factual information on radiocesium levels to concerned immigrants and to relate the body burdens to the geographic area of residence before coming to Israel. Assessments were made of 137Cs body burdens in 1,228 volunteer men, women, and children. These measurements were accompanied by medical assessments based on clinical histories and examinations. Radiocesium levels were strongly dependent on the duration of residence in Israel, with the highest levels being found in the most recent immigrants. The maximum level, extrapolated back to the time of leaving the former Soviet Union, was estimated to be about 0.83 kBq (10.3 Bq kg-I). Of the most recent immigrants from the Kiev region (< 101 days in Israel), only 15% had back extrapolated body burdens >50 Bq, whereas 53% of those coming from Gomel and other towns in the contaminated zones (>3.7 X lo1’ Bq km-’ of radiocesium) had detectable levels >50 Bq. People coming from the latter region had significantly higher body burdens as compared to those from the former, in accordance with the higher degree of ground radiocesium contamination reported for the latter region. Women and children showed considerably lower total radiocesium content in comparison to men. All radiocesium body burdens at the time of measurement were too low to be of health concern.
- Health effects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis