[ RadSafe ] Po-210

Colin Beeforth colin at lasielle.net
Wed Dec 19 16:56:21 CST 2007

Hi Elaine,

You Said:

"One of the researchers here is hoping to find a supplier of 50 mCi of
Po-210, preferably in solution.  Could someone offer some insight as to
where I might start my research to procure this material?"

Po-210 is commonly available as a licensed source, in solid sealed form.
The intense alpha emissions create a cascade of neutral ionisation used
commonly to eliminate the effects of static electricity.  Typically used
in paper or plastic production, or to eliminate the pesky effects of
static in microbalances.  As a sealed source static eliminator, Po-210
is very safe and effective.  The manufacturers offer a return service
for depleted sources, so there are no storage problems.

I would suggest that your researcher may want a 50mCi sealed source to
put into a microbalance.  For this application, take a look at:

However, if your researcher is definite about wanting Po-210 in liquid
form, please proceed with caution.

Po-210, as an intense alpha emitter, is quite risky in any dispersible
form, ie. liquid.  The slightest aerosol from this would give a very
dangerous level of alpha exposure to lungs.  Chemically, polonium is
also a serious human poison.

Given it's recent publicity, used as a poison used to kill a Russian
gentleman, it might be wise to carefully check your researcher's
application for Po-210.  Even if they have a legitimate need, it may
have to go unfulfilled.  The legal liability issues could be quite
serious, and would definitely require management level approval.

I hope this information helps.

Cheers, Colin Beeforth
Melbourne, Australia

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