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J Environ Radioact. 2001;57(3):221-30.

Inhalation of 210Po and 210Pb from cigarette smoking in Poland.

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  • 1University of Gdansk, Faculty of Chemistry, Sobieskiego, Poland.


The carcinogenic etfect of 210Po and 210Pb with respect to lung cancer is an important problem in many countries with very high cigarette consumption. Poland has one of the highest consumptions of cigarettes in the world. The results of 210Po determination on the 14 most frequently smoked brands of cigarettes which constitute over 70% of the total cigarette consumption in Poland are presented and discussed. Moreover, the polonium content in cigarette smoke was estimated on the basis of its activity in fresh tobaccos, ash, fresh filters and post-smoking filters. The annual effective doses were calculated on the basis of 210Po and 210Pb inhalation with the cigarette smoke. The results of this work indicate that Polish smokers who smoke one pack (20 cigarettes) per day inhale from 20 to 215 mBq of 210Po and 210Pb each. The mean values of the annual effective dose for smokers were estimated to be 35 and 70 microSv from 210Po and 210Pb, respectively. For persons who smoke two packs of cigarettes with higher radionuclide concentrations, the effective dose is much higher (471 microSv yr(-1)) in comparison with the intake in diet. Therefore, cigarettes and the absorption through the respiratory system are the main sources and the principal pathway of 210Po and 210Pb intake of smokers in Poland.

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