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Title: The polonium-210 poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko

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
 [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:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Radiological Protection
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 37; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0952-4746
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOSIMETRY; Polonium-210; poison; dose assessment; organ damage
OSTI Identifier: