OK, being in charge of radition safety in my lab (Gawd help us all), I was doing research on radiation in general when the web turned up this tidbit:
A two-pack a day smoker encounters 1300 millirem a year more than a nonsmoker due to the presence of polonium-210 in cigarettes.
Why is polonium in cigarettes? I’m assuming it’s a by-product of manufacturing, since it’s very rare as a natural element. One site listes these uses of polonium:
- Mixed or alloyed with beryllium to provide a source of neutrons
- Used for eliminating static charges in textile mills
- Used on brushes for removing dust from photographic films
- Thermoelectric power in space satellites
Anyone know for a fact what the polonium is there for? I mean I can handle tar gluing up my lungs and free radicals blasting apart my proteins but I gotta worry about alpha particles too now?
Oh yeah, check out this site for more motivation to quit smoking: