Update - Information about public health issues related to Polonium-210 contamination in the United Kingdom
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Update - Information about public health issues related to Polonium-210 contamination in the United Kingdom

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      Information about public health issues related to Polonium-210 contamination in the United Kingdom
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      Monday, February 05, 2007, 15:04 EST (03:04 PM EST)


      In November 2006, public health officials in the United Kingdom announced that they would be assessing individuals who visited several London locations on October 31, November 1, or November 2, for possible exposure to Polonium-210 (Po-210), a radioactive material. British officials found Po-210 contamination at several sites, including the Millennium Hotel Pine Bar, during an investigation related to the death of an individual from acute radiation poisoning. The Millennium Hotel Pine Bar was closed during the early morning hours of November 24, 2006. Extensive risk analyses based on environmental measurements inside the Pine Bar and urine samples of people who were in the Pine Bar between October 31 and November 24, 2006, have led British authorities to conclude that no additional persons are at significant risk from exposure to Po-210. However, anyone who visited the Pine Bar during that time may have come in contact with Po-210. The U.K. Health Protection Agency (HPA) has information about Po-210 and this event on their website at www.hpa.org.uk/.

      The HPA has identified those people who it considers may have been exposed to Po-210 contamination, and since December 2006 has been working closely with public health agencies in 48 other countries, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, to contact them. The CDC, in turn, has been working with state and local health officials in 20 states to contact about 160 people to inform them about the potential for exposure and to assess their need for specific testing for Po-210 exposure. As of January 30, all urine test results for the 17 people who chose to be tested indicate no person had amounts of Po-210 of concern for immediate health effects.

      CDC advises that if you have visited the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel between the end of October through its closure on November 24, 2006, and have specific concerns about your health, you should see your health care provider, who should be able to advise whether further evaluation or testing is needed. Your health care provider may contact your state health department for additional information on assessing your Po-210 exposure or contamination. CDC is also available to assist you, your health care provider, and your state health department in interpreting results of any tests that you and your health care provider may decide to undertake. (You may call CDC's Radiation Studies Branch at 404/498-1800 or send an e-mail to rsb@cdc.gov .)

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