Update on public health issues related to the Polonium-210 incident
3 January 2007
The Health Protection Agency is continuing to provide expert advice on the public health issues surrounding the death of Mr. Alexander Litvinenko. Throughout, our primary concern has been to protect the public.
We have monitored many locations identified by the police to assess whether there is any public health risk. Our investigations have confirmed there is no public health concern in the open public areas. On the basis of the monitoring results received so far show that the risk to the general public of having been exposed to Polonium-210 (Po-210) is likely to be very low.
As a precautionary measure we have also followed up a number of people - staff and guests - at some of the locations where radioactive contamination was detected.
In addition to the results we have already reported, a further result from a member of staff at the Best Western Premier Shaftesbury Hotel, Piccadilly, London , shows that they have been exposed to low levels of Po-210. The case is related to two rooms which were sealed off to the public as part of the police investigation. The levels are not significant enough to result in any illness in the short term and any increased risk in the long term is likely to be very small.
A further result from a guest who visited The Pine Bar, at the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair, on 1 Nov 2006, shows that they have been exposed to low levels of Po-210. The levels are not significant enough to result in any illness in the short term and any increased risk in the long term is likely to be very small.
- There are therefore now 12 samples from people associated with different sites which have shown exposure to low levels of P olonium-210 which are not significant enough to result in any illness in the short term and any increased risk in the long term is likely to be very small
- A further 536 urine samples tested so far by the Agency have found nothing of concern - i.e. no health concerns
The police investigation continues. We will provide further public information as appropriate.
Notes to Editors:
- We advised that any member of the public in The Pine Bar on Oct 31 and Nov 2 (in addition to Nov 1) contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 who will pass on their details to the HPA for further assessment.
- Our advice has also been that anyone who was in The Pine Bar on Nov 1, who has not yet contacted NHS Direct, is invited to do so.
- The Agency is writing to offer further advice to those people who were in The Pine Bar on Nov 1 and who have already contacted NHS Direct. A special helpline, staffed by experienced HPA staff, has been set up. If requested by people in this group, a urine sample will be tested. Arrangements will be made for information to be provided to international guests.
- Overseas visitors who were in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel on Oct 31, Nov 1 and Nov 2 should email the Health Protection Agency for advice: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have access to email you can contact NHS Direct on 00 (44) 845 4647 but only via a mobile telephone if you are calling from abroad. (If this does not connect you please try 0845 46 47 instead - again only from a mobile)
- Further information is available on www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk and www.hpa.org.uk
- For the latest information on locations go to the London Resilience Team website at www.londonprepared.gov.uk
- Media enquiries to HPA London press office on 020 7759 2824 or 2834 or to HPA CRCE press office on 01235 822 678 or 01235 822 744. If you are calling out of hours please call 020 8200 4400.
Last reviewed: 29 December 2008