The Polonium Brief: A Hidden History of Cancer, Radiation, and the Tobacco Industry

  title={The Polonium Brief: A Hidden History of Cancer, Radiation, and the Tobacco Industry},
  author={Brianna L. Rego},
  pages={453 - 484}
The first scientific paper on polonium‐210 in tobacco was published in 1964, and in the following decades there would be more research linking radioisotopes in cigarettes with lung cancer in smokers. While external scientists worked to determine whether polonium could be a cause of lung cancer, industry scientists silently pursued similar work with the goal of protecting business interests should the polonium problem ever become public. Despite forty years of research suggesting that polonium… 
Cigarette smoke radioactivity and lung cancer risk.
The evidence of lung cancer risk caused by cigarette smoke radioactivity is compelling enough to warrant its removal.
Human Exposure to Radioactivity From Tobacco Smoke: Systematic Review.
  • G. Laking
  • Medicine
    Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
  • 2018
The study of tobacco smoke radioactivity has been scientifically stagnant for the last 40 years and more must be learnt about the pharmacology and radiobiology of inhaled radionuclides in tobacco smoke before radiation safety law can offer a vehicle for tobacco control.
Review of chemical and radiotoxicological properties of polonium for internal contamination purposes.
The aim of this review is to look at the several aspects of polonium linked to its chemical properties and its radiotoxicity, including (i) its radiochemistry and interaction with matter; (ii) its main sources and uses; (iii) its physicochemical properties; (iv) itsmain analytical methods; (v) its background exposure risk in water, food, and other environmental media.
The “Polonium In Vivo” Study: Polonium-210 in Bronchial Lavages of Patients with Suspected Lung Cancer
Polonium-210 in the lungs could be the result of lead-210 entrapment, which, with its half-life of 22 years, could provide a continuous emission of alpha radioactivity, even many years after quitting, thus proposing a possible explanation for the onset of lung cancer, particularly in former smokers.
Smoking as Statecraft: Promoting American Tobacco Production and Global Cigarette Consumption, 1947–1970
  • S. Milov
  • History
    Journal of Policy History
  • 2016
In September 1951, six hundred delegates from forty-three nations convened in Amsterdam to discuss the future of the world’s third-largest industry: tobacco. Sponsored by the Royal Netherlands
210Pb and 210Po Concentrations in Italian Cigarettes and Effective Dose Evaluation
The concentrations of 210Pb and 210Po in the 10 most widely sold cigarette brands in Italy during the year 2010 were measured, and the effective dose to smokers has been calculated, showing that the radioactivity concentration was not reduced in the last few years.
Evaluation of the level of Some Heavy Metals in Tobacco of Domestic and Imported Cigarette Brands Used in Iraq
Smoking-related diseases can be attributed to the inhalation of many different toxins, including heavy metals, which have a host of harmful health effects. The primary objective of this study was to
Cigarette smoking, cyclooxygenase-2 pathway and cancer.


Lung Cancer: Is the Increasing Incidence Due to Radioactive Polonium in Cigarettes?
Critical support for this thesis is based upon experimental animal studies in which lung cancers that resemble adenocarcinomas are induced with as little as 15 rads of radioactive polonium, equal to one fifth the dosage inhaled by cigarette smokers who average two packs a day during a 25-year period.
Polonium-210 in Man
  • C. Hill
  • Environmental Science
  • 1965
The correspondence both for grazing animals and humans between the levels of polonium-210 in the food of a community and in the tissues of its members clearly indicates that food ingestion is an important route for acquisition of body-burdens of the nuclide.
Are smokers adequately informed about the health risks of smoking and medicinal nicotine?
It is demonstrated that smokers are misinformed about many aspects of the cigarettes they smoke and stop-smoking medications and that they want more information about ways to reduce their health risks.
Analysis of teeth and bones for alpha-emitting elements.
A method for the analysis of a single tooth and small samples of bone for Po/sup 210/, Ra/sup 226/, and Ra/sup 224/ is described. It was found to give results in good agreement with those obtained by
Polonium-210: Removal from Smoke by Resin Filters
Use of a mixed ion-exchange resin as a filter for cigarettes markedly reduces both the total amount of polonium-210 in mainstream smoke and the picocuries per milligram of smoke. This procedure
Letter to the Editor
In nearly 12 years spent in the Spinal Cord Injury Service of the Veterans Administration in Boston out of a population of about 850 spinal cord injuries, one single similar case in a tetraplegic patient whose self-biting resulted in 'amputation' of the two distal phalanges of all fingers in both hands points at the very low incidence of this particular pathology.
Waking the Sleeping Giant
Within the banking sector operational risk is often perceived to be a less important risk than financial risks such as market or credit risk. Such a view is typically reinforced by the observation
68 For the Philip Morris patent expert's comment see S. Hutcheson to Seligman
  • Re: Washing Tobacco
Bates 01092297-2299 (mechanical removal); and "National Cancer Institute Smoking and Health Program: Minutes of the Workshop on the Significance of Po 210 in Tobacco and Tobacco Smoke
  • Comments on Recent Articles Concerning Polonium-210 as a Tobacco Smoke Carcinogen" (memo), 5 Sept. 1975 (Lorillard)
Removal of Radioactive Lead and Polonium from Tobacco