The Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) accident in March of 2011 released substantial amounts of radionuclides into the environment. We collected 4,957 deciduous teeth formed in children before the Fukushima accident to obtain precise control data for teeth formed after the accident. Radioactivity was measured using imaging plates (IP) and epidemiologically assessed using multivariate regression analysis. Additionally, we measured 90Sr, 137Cs, and natural radionuclides which might be present in teeth. Epidemiological studies of IP showed that the amount of radioactivity in teeth from Fukushima prefecture was similar to that from reference prefectures. We found that artificial radionuclides of 90Sr and 137Cs, which were believed to have originated from past nuclear disasters, and natural radionuclides including 40 K and daughter nuclides in the 238U and 232Th series contributed to the generation of radioactivity in teeth. We also found no evidence to suggest that radionuclides originating from the FNPP accident significantly contaminated pre-existing teeth. This is the first large-scale investigation of radioactivity and radionuclides in teeth. The present findings will be indispensable for future studies of teeth formed after the FNPP accident, which will fall out over the next several years and might be more contaminated with radionuclides.
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