The accidental or intentional release of plutonium or americium can cause acute and long term adverse health effects if they enter the human body by ingestion, inhalation, or injection. These effects can be prevented by rapid removal of these radionuclides by chelators such as calcium or zinc diethylenetriaminepentaacetate (calcium or zinc DTPA). These compounds have been shown to be efficacious in enhancing the elimination of members of the actinide family particularly plutonium and americium when administered intravenously or by nebulizer. The efficacy and adverse effects profile depend on several factors that include the route of internalization of the actinide, the type, and route time of administration of the chelator, and whether the calcium or zinc salt of DTPA is used. Current and future research efforts should be directed at overcoming limitations associated with the use of these complex drugs by using innovative methods that can enhance their structural and therapeutic properties.