[ RadSafe ] FW: Polonium-210: Statement by Low Level Radiation Campaign
Falo, Gerald A Dr KADIX
Jerry.Falo at us.army.mil
Mon Dec 4 07:31:56 CST 2006
Here's the statement from the Low Level Radiation Campaign.
From: Richard Bramhall [mailto:bramhall at llrc.org]
Sent: Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:58 AM
To: info llrc
Subject: Polonium-210: Statement by Low Level Radiation Campaign
LLRC statement on Polonium-210
Officials understate risks and mislead the public, leaving exposed
In the emergency following the death of Alexander Litvinenko, there are
serious shortcomings in the approach taken by the UK authorities. While
the advice published by NHS Direct
(http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=2086 ) can
be read as indicating that official measures are thorough, the Health
Protection Agency-Radiation Protection Department (HPARP) consistently
plays down the ease with which Polonium-210 can be obtained and
over-estimates the quantity required to cause death and serious
long-term illness. The language used in news reports, for example New
Scientist 27th November, betrays the influence of a controlling hand
anxious to avoid public alarm.
The news media report that the absence of acute radiation sickness in
people like Mario Scaramella is a sign that there is no health problem.
The outcome of giving undue emphasis to acute radiation sickness is that
long-term stochastic effects (link to
http://www.llrc.org/jargonbuster.htm#deterministic) are being dismissed,
yet according to the conventional radiation risk model employed by HPARP
there is no threshold for induction of these effects and inevitability
they will appear eventually. We fear that potentially exposed people
will be inadequately monitored both now and in the future when otherwise
they could be given enhanced screening so that cancer and leukaemia
would be detected early, offering a better chance of successful
* HPARP has given us no detail of the environmental monitoring
techniques they are using, and has released no information on the levels
of Polonium-210 found anywhere. We therefore cannot be confident that
either the monitoring techniques or the radiological judgements are
* HPARP has given us no information on the monitoring and
follow-up of potentially exposed people.
* Polonium-210 is a natural substance. Contrary to the repeated
statements of the authorities and various "experts", Polonium-210 can be
obtained in lethal quantities without access to a reactor or particle
accelerator. (We are not giving details, for obvious reasons).
* HPARP has said that the sources and methods by which terrorists
could obtain Polonium-210 in lethal quantities is a matter for the
police and security services, but since those services will turn to
HPARP for advice we can have no confidence that they will understand the
nature of the threat. There is no indication that the authorities are
moving to control potential sources of Polonium-210; we are seeking
* Respirable particles of Polonium-210 will be formed by
evaporation of any liquids used to transport the isotope. They will
readily be resuspended in air from the surfaces on which the liquid
medium was deposited, making them highly mobile and available to be
* A lethal dose of 2 Sieverts would be delivered by inhalation of
less than 5 nanograms of the isotope (4.7 x 10-9 grams or 4.7 billionths
of a gram).
* A 5 nanogram particle would be invisible to the naked eye.
* A letter to LLRC (1st December) shows that HPARP has
misunderstood the basis of the risk calculations. The calculation of a
4.7 nanogram particle delivering 2 Sieverts is based on the
officially-recognised (though flawed) risk model of the International
Commission on Radiological Protection and is not, as HPARP seem to
believe, dependent on alternative models.
* The particles are not detectable with Geiger counters.
Scintillation counters are required.
* From evidence given to LLRC it is clear that particles were
present on board the three British Airways airliners which were
* Inhalation is a far more dangerous exposure route than
ingestion, yet the authorities are ignoring inhalation and concentrating
on the low probability of ingestion.
* NHS Direct is the only source of advice for people who are
concerned that they might have been exposed. They are being told there
is nothing to worry about unless they were in contact with Alexander
Litvinenko or were in the three airliners. This ignores the possibility
of exposure to particles in other locations.
Our advice to people who think they might have been exposed to
Polonium-210 is that they should reject reassurances from NHS Direct and
insist on being included in the 24- hour urine testing which is offered
to passengers from the airliners and to Litvinenko's contacts to
determine whether their bodies contain elevated Polonium-210.
Further information is available on http://www.llrc.org/html
We have sent you this email circular because you are on our database of
people who are concerned about low level radiation and health. If you do
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Low Level Radiation Campaign
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