A SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT POLONIUM-210
With the recent news of Polonium-210 being used as a poison, a good deal of incorrect information has been passed around (primarily by the media) concerning the Polonium isotope and radioactive materials in general. It's important to get the facts correct. The general public is quite ignorant when it comes to knowledge about radioactive materials and radiation in general.
The amount of Plonium-210, as well as any of the isotopes we sell is an 'exempt quantity' amount. These quantities of radioactive material are not hazardous - this is why they are permitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to be sold to the general public without any sort of license.
Although we do sell these isotopes, distributors such as United Nuclear Scientific Supplies (and just about any isotope distributor) do not actually stock them.
All isotopes are made to order at an NRC licensed reactor in Oak Ridge Tennessee. When the isotope is made, it is shipped directly to the customer from the reactor to insure the longest possible half-life.
The exempt quantity amount of Polonium-210, or any of the radioactive isotopes sold is so small that they are essentially invisible to the human eye.
In the case of needle sources, the radioactive material is electroplated on the inside of the eye of a needle.
You would need about 15,000 of our Polonium-210 needle sources
at a total cost of about $1 million - to have a toxic amount.
In comparison, Amercium-241 is a similar toxic Alpha radiation emitter.
Instead of a half life of 138 days like Polonium-210 has, it has a half life of over 450 years. It is far more toxic - and there is 10 times more than the 'exempt quantity' amount in every smoke detector in your home.
If you really wanted to poison someone, you would of course have to come up with a way to remove the invisible amount of material from the exempt sources - which is just about physically impossible and combine them together. Of course you would also need that 15,000 exempt sources.
In addition, there are dozens of other far more toxic materials, such as Ricin and Abrin, both of which can easily be made, and are also undetectable as a poison and untraceable.
Although it obviously works, Polonium-210 is a poor choice for a poison.
Another point to keep in mind is that an order for 15,000 sources would look a tad
suspicious, considering we sell about 1 or 2 sources every 3 months.
Make sure you are truly knowledgeable about a subject before you start
repeating and spreading potentially incorrect information related to it.
( For those of you with a slightly warped sense of humor, we do sell a Polonium-210 coffee mug(http://www.unitednuclear.com/mugs.htm) )