Polonium-210 Contamination in London (2006) - the Public Health Response.

Dr Jill R Meara FFPH
Deputy Director/Public Health Consultant
Health Protection Agency (HPA)
Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards
Chilton UK


Mr. Alexander Litvinenko died from polonium-210 poisoning in November 2006 in London. A public health response was mounted by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to:

  • Define if there was an ongoing health hazard, either from residual poison or from secondary contamination and prevent it by identifying significantly contaminated areas and ensuring that they were removed from public use;
  • Identify and advise members of the public who may have been exposed to the contamination and arrange appropriate radiation monitoring, dose assessment and medical follow up for these people;
  • Provide reassurance to those exposed and members of the public who are not likely to be at risk.

The presentation will describe the practicalities of the HPA response, including the environmental and people-monitoring. The results of a public survey of the effectiveness of the HPA health protection advice will be summarised and factors that are likely to increase pubic reassurance discussed.