Technical comment

Reduction of radiocesium load – reply

Publication Date: 05.05.2013
Swiss Med Wkly. 2013;143:w13789

Sergei V. Jargin

Please find the affiliations for this article in the PDF.

I am sincerely grateful to Prof. Andreas Nidecker for his response [1] to my letter [2]. I agree to all his remarks, in particular to the following: “Several critiques expressed in the letter to the editor make no sense, especially the one indicating that elimination of Cs-137 is only effective when the food continues to be contaminated with Cs-137. This is clearly wrong; the principal reason for the efficacy in this case is due to the important biliary excretion of Cs-137, where it would be immediately reabsorbed: in the absence of pectin in the bowel, the elimination of Cs-137 is only 13.9% within three weeks, which would allow the calculation of the biological half-life of radiocesium in these children; (The biological half-life of radiocesium varies from 60 to 150 days, depending on the publications and could be calculated from the findings of the group receiving placebo).” [1]

This comment is correct, and it was caused by an omission on my part. It should have also been written in my letter [2]: “The sorbents such as pectin, if they are indeed efficient, would absorb all cesium isotopes equally, as the isotopes have the same chemical properties and only slight differences in atomic weight. Possibly, the experts for isotope separation would add something to the following statement, but it seems to be evident that pectin would not efficiently separate isotopes in the intestinal contents. )If in doubt, it could be checked in vitro, instead of by experimentation on children [3, 4], inserting sorbents on hard carriers into liquid excrements enriched with 137Cs, stirring mimicking peristalsis, and measuring corresponding activity concentrations thereafter.” An analogous passage was written in a manuscript in Russian not accepted for publication by the journal Medical Radiology and Radiation Safety (Moscow) [5]. Moreover, considering the above, the biological half-life of the stable and radioactive cesium must be practically equal.)

If the sorbent treatment is efficient, then, after the return to contaminated territories, the assimilation of Cs including Cs-137 would possibly be enhanced.


Correspondence: Sergei V. Jargin, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Clementovski per 6-82, RU-115184 Moscow, Russia, sjargin[at]


  1 Nidecker A. Reply to the letter to the Editor “Reduction of radiocesium load” by Sergei V. Jargin. Swiss Med Wkly. 2011;141:w13164 .

  2 Jargin SV. Reduction of radiocesium load: supplementation of Cs versus it’s depletion by enterosorbents. Swiss Med Wkly. 2011;141:w13166 .

  3 Nesterenko VB, Nesterenko AV, Babenko VI, Yerkovich TV, Babenko IV. Reducing the 137Cs-load in the organism of “Chernobyl” children with apple-pectin. Swiss Med Wkly. 2004;134:24–7 .

  4 Bandazhevskaya GS, Nesterenko VB, Babenko VI, Yerkovich TV, Bandazhevsky YI. Relationship between caesium (137Cs) load, cardiovascular symptoms, and source of food in “Chernobyl” children – preliminary observations after intake of oral apple pectin. Swiss Med Wkly. 2004;134:725–9 .

  5 Jargin SV. On the overestimation of Chernobyl consequences: motives and mechanisms. Med Radiol and Radiation Safety (Moscow) 2011;56(5):74–9 (in Russian).

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