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CMO issues advice on polonium-210

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The Chief Medical Officer has issued advice about the risks of contamination with Polonium-210, the radioactive material used to murder the Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko.

The Chief Medical Officer has issued advice about the risks of contamination with Polonium-210, the radioactive material used to murder the Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko.

Anyone concerned about exposure due to a close proximity to the victim or his relatives can be considered for testing for radioactivity, via fecal or urine samples, it says.

Risks of acute radiation syndrome are low unless the material has been ingested, because Po-210 emits alpha particles, which cannot penetrate the skin.

'It is likely that, because the most probable route of intake is ingestion, from contaminated hands, initial symptoms would include gastrointestinal upsets (nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea),' says the advice.

Anyone who was in the vicinity of the Itsu Sushi Bar in Picadilly and the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair on November 1 is urged to call NHS Direct for advice.

Public Health Link

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