[ RadSafe ] From Russia with love...Thallium Poisons U.S. Mother, Daughter in Moscow
royherren2005 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 7 11:12:14 CST 2007
Thallium Poisons U.S. Mother, Daughter in Moscow (Update3)
By Bradley Cook and Henry Meyer
March 6 (Bloomberg) -- A mother and daughter from the U.S. have been hospitalized in Moscow after being poisoned with thallium, Russian officials said. The U.S. Embassy confirmed that the two are in a hospital.
Embassy officials are in contact with the family of Marina and Yana Kovoletsky and are providing assistance, an embassy spokeswoman said today by telephone. She declined to give her name, citing government policy.
The women were taken Feb. 24 to the Sklifosovsky clinic, where it took doctors four days to determine they had been poisoned with thallium, said the Moscow branch of the sanitary inspection agency, Rospotrebnadzor. Thallium is a highly toxic metallic element used in products ranging from photocells to rat poison.
Moscow police are tracing the women's movements before they were hospitalized and testing people they came into contact with, the Interfax news agency said. Investigators said the women, who were born in the Soviet Union in 1958 and 1981 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1989, could have been poisoned before entering Russia and may seek the help of U.S. law enforcement officials, the news service said.
Only a small circle of people would be capable of getting their hands on thallium, said Lev Fyodorov, head of the Union for Chemical Safety, a Russian nongovernmental organization. He added that the case deserved close attention.
The radioactive isotope thallium-201 was used in 2003 to assassinate Russian lawmaker and journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin, who wrote about organized crime and corruption in Moscow.
The women are in ``moderately serious'' condition, Rospotrebnadzor said.
In November last year, Alexander Litvinenko, a Kremlin critic who had worked in Russia's FSB intelligence agency, died in a London hospital after exposure to a rare radioactive substance, polonium-210. The British doctors treating him initially suspected thallium poisoning.
In a deathbed statement, Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder, an accusation the Kremlin later called ``absurd.''
To contact the reporters on this story: Bradley Cook in Moscow at bcook7 at bloomberg.net ; Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4 at bloomberg.net
Last Updated: March 6, 2007 11:52 EST
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