[ RadSafe ] Cleansing nuclear fallout from the body

McMahan, Kimberly L. mcmahankl at ornl.gov
Thu Nov 16 12:46:14 CST 2006

Tatiana Levitskaia, the researcher mentioned in the article below, was a
research chemist here at ORNL for several years before she transferred
to PNNL. She is a serious, bona fide separations chemist. Another
separations chemist-researcher here at ORNL, familiar with this type of
work, recommends related reading of the publications of Eric GUIBAL, who
has worked with chitosans for many years. He published recently, "A
Review of the Use of Chitosan for the Removal of Particulate and
Dissolved Contaminants" in Separation Science and Technology, Volume 41,
Number 11 / 2006, pp. 2487 - 2514. Note that his focus is more on basic
properties, with a view to removing metals and minerals in the treatment
of wastewater or pre-treatment of potable water and the like. 

Kim McMAHAN    ORNL External Dosimetry

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Susan Gawarecki
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 7:38 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Cleansing nuclear fallout from the body

Cleansing nuclear fallout from the body
Nov. 13, 2006
Courtesy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and World Science staff

A U.S. gov-ern-ment re-search-er is stu-dy-ing ways to clea nse the body

of nu-cle-ar fall-out, us-ing a chem-i-cal from crab and prawn shells.

As con-cerns over nu-cle-ar pro-lif-er-a-tion grow, so do wor-ries that 
an at-tack-er could set off a suit-case-sized bomb in a ma-jor cit-y.

That would spread ra-di-o-ac-t-ive ma-te-ri-al over a wide ar-ea, 
ex-pos-ing vic-tims to var-i-ous ra-di-o-ac-t-ive el-e-ments. Some of 
these can find their way in-to the body, where they keep pro-duc-ing 
ra-di-a-tion for years and of-ten cause can-cer.

There are no ef-fec-tive meth-ods known to purge the bo-dy of this 
ma-te-ri-al, sci-en-tists say, al-though they have made some head-way on

treat-ments that tem-per its ef-fects.

Ta-tia-na Lev-it-skaia of the Pa-cif-ic North-west Na-tion-al 
La-b-o-ra-to-ry in Rich-land, Wash., is re-search-ing a new ap-proach. 
It's based on a wide-ly avail-a-ble ma-te-ri-al, chi-to-san, found in 
the shells.

The substance, which is non-tox-ic, is a chela-tor, or com-pound that 
at-taches it-self to me-tal-lic atoms. Co-in-ci-dent-al-ly, the word 
"che-la-tor" it-self has crab-by ori-gins; it's de-rived from the Greek 
chele, or claw, be-cause the chem-i-cal at-tach-ment mech-an-ism is 
rem-i-nis-cent of a lob-s-ter- or crab-like grasp-ing ac-tion.

Chi-tosan can also be chem-i-cally mod-i-fied to en-hance its abil-i-ty 
to clasp ra-di-o-ac-t-ive atoms, Lev-it-s-ka-ia said. Many of the 
ra-di-o-ac-t-ive el-e-ments in nu-cle-ar fall-out are met-als, 
in-clud-ing plu-to-ni-um, ura-ni-um, stron-ti-um and co-balt.

Chi-tosan is also eas-i-ly ex-pelled from the bod-y, and sci-en-tists 
spec-u-late that af-ter link-ing to the ra-di-o-ac-t-ive sub-stances it 
could take them with it. That would pre-vent their build-up in the 
bones, liv-er, kid-neys and oth-er or-gans.

For now, Lev-it-skaia is in-ves-ti-gat-ing the ef-fec-tiveness of 
chi-to-san and si-m-i-lar sub-stances in re-mov-ing co-balt from 
lab-o-ra-to-ry rats. She re-ported on her re-search at the na-tion-al 
meet-ing of the Amer-i-can Chem-i-cal So-ci-e-ty in mid-September, 
say-ing re-sults are ex-pected this fall.
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