Local variations in C-14 - How is bomb-pulse dating of human tissues and cells affected?

Kristina Stenström, Göran Skog, Carl Magnus Nilsson, Ragnar Hellborg, Sigrid Leide Svegborn, Elisavet Georgiadou, Sören Mattsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the late 1950s and early 1960s almost doubled the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere. The resulting C-14 "bomb-pulse" has been shown to provide useful age information in e.g. forensic and environmental sciences, biology and the geosciences. The technique is also currently being used for retrospective cell dating in man, in order to provide insight into the rate of formation of new cells in the human body. Bomb-pulse dating relies on precise measurements of the declining C-14 concentration in atmospheric CO2 collected at clean-air sites. However, it is not always recognized that the calculations can be complicated in some cases by significant local variations in the specific activity of C-14 in carbon in the air and foodstuff. This paper presents investigations of local C-14 variations in the vicinities of nuclear installations and laboratories using C-14. Levels of C-14 in workers using this radioisotope are also discussed. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNuclear Instruments & Methods In Physics Research Section B-Beam Interactions With Materials And Atoms
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event11th International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry - Rome, Italy
Duration: 2008 Sept 142008 Sept 19

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0168-583X


Conference11th International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging

Free keywords

  • C-14
  • Bomb-pulse dating


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