Abstract Title:

[Polonium: the radioactive killer from tobacco smoke].

Abstract Source:

Pneumologia. 2008 Oct-Dec;57(4):249-54. PMID: 19186689

Abstract Author(s):

Vincenzo Zagà, Enrico Gattavecchia

Article Affiliation:

AUSL di Bologna, Italia. vincenzo.zaga@ausl.bo.it


Among all carcinogenic substances contained in tobacco smoke, Polonium 210 (Po-210), with a half-life of 138 days, is one of the most dangerous, by exerting a devastating, chronic, slow and progressive carcinogenesis activity. The main source of Po-210 in tobacco is represented by fertilizers (polyphosphates) containing radium-226 (Ra-222) which decades to plumb 210 (Pb-210). Through the thricomes Pb-210 is concentrated in the tobacco leaves, where it turns to Po-210, which at the cigarette combustion temperature (800-900 degrees C) reaches the gaseous state and it is absorbed by the micro particles released into tobacco smoke. Thus, smoke becomes radioactive in both its gaseous and corpuscular components and reaches the airways, where, particularly at the branches level and together with other substances, it exerts its carcinogenic activity, especially in those subjects with impaired respiratory mucosal clearance. The carcinogenic risk/one year lifetime of a smoker of 20 cigarettes per day is equivalent to that of undertaking 300 chest x-rays. It is calculated that Po-210 may be independently responsible of 4 lung cancers every 10,000 smokers. During cigarette's combustion, tobacco smoke is also released in the air, contributing to serious health risks for those exposed to passive smoke.

Study Type : Human Study

Print Options

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get Nature's Evidence-Based Pharmacy

Our newsletter serves 500,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Download Now

500+ pages of Natural Medicine Alternatives and Information.

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2022 GreenMedInfo.com, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.