[ RadSafe ] Po-210 and lethality

Dukelow, James S Jr jim.dukelow at pnl.gov
Thu Nov 30 13:41:09 CST 2006

Eric Goldin wrote:
-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Eric.Goldin at sce.com
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 3:10 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Po-210 and lethality

Hey Radsafers,  I'm a little surprised in all this talk and conjecture
about polonium, nobody has referred to Newell Stannard's tome,
"Radioactivity and Health, A History."  (DOE/RL/01830-T59, Pacific
Northwest Laboratory, 1988).  The eminent Dr. Stannard dedicated over 30
pages to a review of all the relevant data on the history of polonium
research, particularly World War II era work on animals, chemistry,
metabolism, biological effects, even polonium in tobacco.  Reminded us
that Polonium was the first radioactive element separated by Marie
Curie, well over a hundred years ago.  There is a lot of discussion on
the lethality of polonium where he pointed out that the acutely toxic
doses were very small masses and that unlike lots of other heavy
elements, polonium goes to soft tissue not bone.  Dr. Stannard noted
that the acute pathology is very similar to whole body radiation, so
much so that he didn't bother to repeat the acute radiation syndrome
descriptions.  If you don't have a copy of this book in your library,
time to order one.  I don't recall that it was all that expensive since
it was a DOE publication but at nearly 2000 pages, well worth the wide
spot on your shelf.

Eric M. Goldin, Ph.D., CHP
<eric.goldin at sce.com>


Stannard's book is still in print, now in three volumes rather than the
original one volume concrete block, from Battelle Press for around $98
for the three volumes.

Best regards.

Jim Dukelow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA
Jim.dukelow at pnl.gov

These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by my
management or by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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