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Strontium (symbol: Sr) is a chemical element with the atomic number 38[1].


It is an artificial radionuclide from nuclear fission which was released in great amounts during the nuclear weapon tests and in the atomic disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Traces of it can be verified also in emissions of exhaust air and waste waters of nuclear power plants in normal operation. Via food chain strontium can reach the human body.[2]

Chemically it is similar to calcium, thus it gets confounded with it by the human body and would be incorporated to bones and teeth. There it accumulates and can remain up to 40 years. Particularly vulnerable are children of any age due to the big need of the growing body for calcium.[2]

20-30% of the incorporated strontium remain in bones and marrow, about 1% stays in blood and soft tissues, the remainder would be excreted. Strontium-90 incorporation especially leads to bone cancer and leukemia. This isotope is considered to be most responsible for leukemia in infancy.[2]

  1. as at February 22, 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 ippnw factsheet: Radioactive Stoffe machen krank. A-Z von radioaktiven Isotopen, die beim Atomunfall freigesetzt werden; March 2011