Radionuclide exposure in animals and the public health implications


Abstract: Living tissues are usually exposed to varying degrees of radiation from natural and manmade radioactive substances. Depending on the type of radiation emitted and rate and dose of absorption, all radioactive substances are potentially hazardous. Previous researches on the biological effects of radiation as well as preventive measures have focused on human subjects, being the most radiosensitive species. However, exposure of animals to ionizing irradiation may negatively influence their production performance, resulting in some level of economic loss. In addition, many food animals may represent a significant pathway for transfer of radionuclides to humans, thereby adding to the exposure burden. The current review aims at evaluating the effects of ionizing radiation on animals as important components of human food chain, and some preventive measures. A proper understanding of radioactivity and the behavior of important radionuclides in livestock animals will serve as an informational tool in livestock management as well as consumers' dietary choices.

Keywords: Animals, food chain, public health, ionizing radiation, radionuclides

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