Carcinogenic Potential of Incinerated Low-Level Radioactive Waste: Cytopathologic Evaluation

  • I. V. Brown
  • J. M. Browne
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 124)


Fundulus sp., a ubiquitous estuarine fish, was used in cytopathologic evaluations of the carcinogenic potential of incinerated ash from low-level radioactive waste, currently, disposed in the marine environment. We correlated the increased biosynthesis of Epoxide Hydrolase of liver microsomes with ultrastructural changes in livers of Fundulus sp., following exposure to non-radioactive and radioactive ash (7 ppm, radioisotope = S35, specific activity: 1410 Ci/mmol/kg ash). Fish were exposed to incinerated ash suspended in filtered artificial sea water in closed aerated/temperaturecontrolled marine tank systems. Macroscopic observation of animals exposed to radioactive ash revealed enlargement of the belly at the level of or just behind the pectoral fins. Livers from these animals had a yellowish brown appearance and were enlarged. Microscopic examination of some liver specimens revealed diffuse hyperplasia, hypertrophy, and fatty degeneration of hepatocytes. Ultrastructurally, there was an increased number of residual bodies containing undigested lipid, a proliferation of both rough and smooth endoplasmic reticula, and dilation of endoplasmic reticulum vesicles. The endomembrane changes correlated with observed epoxide hydrolase induction above control levels. The data obtained in these studies will be used to ascertain the safety and efficiency of incinerated low-level radioactive waste disposal in the marine environment.


Liver Specimen Epoxide Hydrolase Carcinogenic Potential Fatty Degeneration Smooth Endoplasmic Reticula 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. V. Brown
    • 1
  • J. M. Browne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Cytopathology and Cell Biology LaboratoriesAtlanta UniversityAtlantaUSA

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