Lung cancer induced in hamsters by low doses of alpha radiation from polonium-210

Science  16 May 1975:
Vol. 188, Issue 4189, pp. 737-738
DOI: 10.1126/science.1124396


Lung cancers have been induced in 9 to 53 percent of hamsters given multiple intratracheal instillations of polonium-210 in amounts yielding lifetime exposures of 15 to 300 rads to the lungs. Cigarette smokers have previously been estimated to receive 20 rads to areas of the bronchial epithelium from deposited polonium-210. This finding thus supports the hypothesis that alpha radiation resulting from the polonium-210 or lead-210 present in cigarette smoke may be a significant causative factor in human lung cancer.