skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: The polonium-210 poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko

Abstract

Mr Litvinenko died on 23rd November 2006 after having been poisoned with polonium-210 on 1st November. Measurements of the polonium-210 content of post-mortem tissue samples and samples of urine and blood showed the presence of large amounts of 210Po. Furthermore, autoradiography of hair samples showed two regions of 210Po activity, providing evidence of an earlier poisoning attempt during October 2006, resulting in absorption to blood of about one-hundredth of that estimated for 1st November. Intake by ingestion on 1st November was estimated to be around 4 GBq, assuming 10% absorption to blood, and the resulting organ doses reached estimated values that were generally in a range from about 20 Gy to over 100 Gy. In comparison with estimates of protracted alpha particle the doses required to cause irreversible organ damage support the conclusion that death was the inevitable consequence of multiple organ failure, with destruction of the haemopoietic bone marrow, as well as damage to kidneys and liver, being important contributors. If the earlier poisoning during October 2006 had not been followed by a second major intake on 1st November, it is possible that the earlier intake of around 40 MBq, with absorption of 4 MBq to blood, mightmore » have proved fatal over a prolonged period of months or years, primarily as a result of kidney damage following a dose of approaching 3 Gy.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Oxford Brookes Univ. (United Kingdom); Center for Radiation, Didcot (United Kingdom)
  2. Center for Radiation, Didcot (United Kingdom)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1346669
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Radiological Protection
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 37; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0952-4746
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOSIMETRY; Polonium-210; poison; dose assessment; organ damage

Citation Formats

Harrison, John, Fell, Tim, Leggett, Rich, Lloyd, David, Puncher, Matthew, and Youngman, Mike. The polonium-210 poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1088/1361-6498/aa58a7.
Harrison, John, Fell, Tim, Leggett, Rich, Lloyd, David, Puncher, Matthew, & Youngman, Mike. The polonium-210 poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko. United States. doi:10.1088/1361-6498/aa58a7.
Harrison, John, Fell, Tim, Leggett, Rich, Lloyd, David, Puncher, Matthew, and Youngman, Mike. Tue . "The polonium-210 poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko". United States. doi:10.1088/1361-6498/aa58a7. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1346669.
@article{osti_1346669,
title = {The polonium-210 poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko},
author = {Harrison, John and Fell, Tim and Leggett, Rich and Lloyd, David and Puncher, Matthew and Youngman, Mike},
abstractNote = {Mr Litvinenko died on 23rd November 2006 after having been poisoned with polonium-210 on 1st November. Measurements of the polonium-210 content of post-mortem tissue samples and samples of urine and blood showed the presence of large amounts of 210Po. Furthermore, autoradiography of hair samples showed two regions of 210Po activity, providing evidence of an earlier poisoning attempt during October 2006, resulting in absorption to blood of about one-hundredth of that estimated for 1st November. Intake by ingestion on 1st November was estimated to be around 4 GBq, assuming 10% absorption to blood, and the resulting organ doses reached estimated values that were generally in a range from about 20 Gy to over 100 Gy. In comparison with estimates of protracted alpha particle the doses required to cause irreversible organ damage support the conclusion that death was the inevitable consequence of multiple organ failure, with destruction of the haemopoietic bone marrow, as well as damage to kidneys and liver, being important contributors. If the earlier poisoning during October 2006 had not been followed by a second major intake on 1st November, it is possible that the earlier intake of around 40 MBq, with absorption of 4 MBq to blood, might have proved fatal over a prolonged period of months or years, primarily as a result of kidney damage following a dose of approaching 3 Gy.},
doi = {10.1088/1361-6498/aa58a7},
journal = {Journal of Radiological Protection},
number = 1,
volume = 37,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Feb 28 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Tue Feb 28 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 2 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share: