Reports

Polonium-210: A Volatile Radioelement in Cigarettes

Science  17 Jan 1964:
Vol. 143, Issue 3603, pp. 247-249
DOI: 10.1126/science.143.3603.247

Abstract

Polonium-210, which emits alpha particles, is a natural contaminant of tobacco. For an individual smoking two packages of cigarettes a day, the radiation dose to bronchial epithelium from Po210 inhaled in cigarette smoke probably is at least seven times that from background sources, and in localized areas may be up to 1000 rem or more in 25 years. Radiation from this source may, therefore, be significant in the genesis of bronchial cancer in smokers.