What is Polonium? (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 07/05/12)
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Swiss scientists this week reported that they found high
concentrations of polonium in body fluids on items used by late PLO
arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat before his death in 2004.
The announcement rekindled accusations that Arafat may have been
poisoned. Many have named Israel as suspect one. But what is polonium?
Polonium, also known as Radium F, is a rare but naturally occurring
metalloid found in uranium ores that emits highly-hazardous
Before being cited this week as a possible factor in Arafatís death,
Polonium came to prominence in the case of Alexander Litvinenko.
Litvinenko, a former Russian spy and dissident, died in a London
hospital in 2006 showing symptoms of polonium poisoning.
Small doses of polonium 210 exist in the soil and atmosphere, and
even in the human body, but in high doses it is highly toxic and can
deal severe damage to the body´s tissues and organs, especially if it
is ingested or inhaled.
It is one of the rarest natural elements: in 10 grams of uranium
there is a maximum of a billionth of a gram of polonium.
Safe doses of Polonium are used industrially for its alpha radiation
(positive charge) in research and medicine, and as a heating source
for space components.
Small doses are also found in tobacco, derived from the soil and
phosphate fertilizers used on tobacco plants.
However, Polonium can be fatal even in relatively minute doses if it
is ingested or inhaled, which is what many believed happened to
It has also been opined the late PLO leader may have died of AIDS or
cancer, but French authorities have yet to release his medical files
due to stringent privacy laws.
Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898 discovered polonium while they were
doing research in France on the cause of radioactivity in the mineral
pitchblende, the chief ore-mineral source of uranium.
For their discovery of polonium, radium and their work on
radioactivity, the Curies won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. It was
shared with Antoine Becquerel of France. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012
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