22 February 2017 | 12 °C

Polonium Hangover

By londonist_nealr Last edited 122 months ago
Polonium Hangover

It's times like this that make it especially scary to be a black-out drinker.

According to The Guardian, hundreds of customers who visited the Pine Bar at London's Millenium Hotel on November 1 will be tested for exposure to radiation from the polonium-210 which killed Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The Health Protection Agency radiation protection division (who knew they had a radiation detection division!) has asked those who were at the bar anytime between October 31 (Halloween) and November 2, 2006 to contact the NHS.

If you can't remember if you were at the bar or not during that time – and there must be at least one reader who can't fully account for his or her Halloween whereabouts - Londonist suggests you err on the side of caution and give the NHS a ring.

Although since the element polonium is present in tobacco smoke, the NHS's job may be more complicated than first anticipated. In fact U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop famously said in the 1980's that radiation was the most active poison in cigarette smoke. Oops.

Polonium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898 and was named after Marie's native Poland, which was under a triparte occupation by Russia, Prussia and Austria at that time. Marie Curie hoped that naming the element after her homeland would help publicize its political plight.


ethanol200612.jpg
Ethanol - one of the deadly compounds found at the Pine Bar


Last Updated 08 December 2006