A model for the transfer of alkaline earth elements to the fetus

Timothy Fell*, John Harrison, R. W. Leggett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A biokinetic model has been developed for the transfer of calcium, strontium, barium and radium to the human fetus. For the mother, ICRP models were adapted for pregnancy to include increases in gastrointestinal absorption, urinary excretion and bone turnover rates. The fetus was modelled with blood, soft tissue and bone compartments. Fetal requirements for Ca were determined by skeletal calcification, and recycling between fetal and maternal blood was included. Daily transfer of Sr, Ba and Ra to the fetus was taken to be lower than for Ca by factors of 0.6 for Sr and 0.4 for Ba and Ra. For acute intakes in late pregnancy at 35 weeks after conception, when maximum transfer occurs, the model predicts whole-body fetus:mother concentration ratios (CF:CM) of 18 for Ca, 8 for Sr and 2 for Ba and Ra, respectively. Estimates of committed equivalent doses to the red bone marrow of offspring, including in utero and postnatal dose, after maternal ingestion in late pregnancy, were greater than corresponding doses in adults by factors of 20-30 for 45Ca, 2-3 for 90Sr and 3-4 for 226Ra but slightly lower (0.8-09) for 133Ba.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalRadiation Protection Dosimetry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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