- People worldwide smoke 6 trillion cigarettes a year
- Polonium: Radioactive isotope, decay product of uranium
- Small doses over long period of time = 300 chest x-rays a year
- June, 2009: Obama signs Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law
- Tobacco is now under jurisdiction of Food and Drug Admin.
- New law could force companies to remove polonium from cigarettes
- Tso estimates 30-50% polonium can be removed from soil, washing could remove another 25%
- Washing could also remove toxic metals in leaves
This article talks about the radioactive isotope known as polonium in cigarettes. It is a product of uranium decay and gets into tobacco plants through the soil and the air. People worldwide smoke 6 trillion cigarettes a year, causing a buildup of polonium that is equal to 300 chest x-rays a year. In 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law, placing tobacco under jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. This law has the potential to put serious pressure on big tobacco to remove polonium from cigarettes. Researchers estimate that 30-50% of polonium can be removed from soil via use of uranium-reduced fertilizer, and also washing the leaves could reduce another 25% as well as toxic metals found on the leaves.
The most alarming part about the whole article was the amount of cigarettes people around the world smoke. I thought that cigarettes were dying down in this day and age, but 6 trillion a year says otherwise. I knew that cigarettes were absolutely packed with tons of harmful chemicals that build up in your body, but radioactive materials were the last thing on my mind. Looking at the diagram, I can see how natural radioactive toxins can be absorbed by the tobacco plants. Implementing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Acts was a good move by President Obama, because nothing puts more pressure on big tobacco companies than the law. The results of the polonium reduction sound promising, and I anticipate a breakthrough that will reduce the number of people suffering from radioactivity.