Fundamental Research Division
From exposure to toxic effects
The path of entry and chemical characteristics of an element influence its behavior in the human body and the biological consequences of internal contamination.
Radionuclides present in the environment can enter the body through different routes (i.e. respiratory, digestive, and cutaneous). Depending on the nature of the element, its chemical characteristics (speciation), the contamination conditions (for instance single or repeated), and its path of entry, the element’s behavior in the human body and the biological consequences of internal contamination will be different. It is therefore useful to know its progress through the body, including: its transport from its entry to the sites of deposition (i.e. organs and tissues), its retention time, and finally its routes of excretion.
After an internal contamination, the fate of these elements in the body can be evaluated using biokinetic models.
A radionuclide having entered the body can be:
Two mechanisms come into play to remove a radionuclide from the body: its radioactive decay, based on the half-life of each isotope; and its biological elimination, based on the toxicokinetics of the chemical compound.
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