Skip to comments.Ex-spy's poison on the Internet $69 can get you a trace - commonly used lethal industrial substance
Posted on 11/28/2006 2:36:46 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
$69 can get you a trace of the commonly used lethal industrial substance...
It's one of the deadliest imaginable poisons, a radioactive substance about 100 billion times as deadly as cyanide -- and a Web site run by a physicist and flying saucer enthusiast offers to sell you a trace amount of it for $69 and send it via the U.S. Postal Service or UPS.
Contrary to early news reports, polonium-210 -- the poison suspected in the death of an ex-Russian spy in England -- is not some exotic material available solely from nuclear laboratories. The isotope is available from firms that sell it for lawful and legitimate uses in industry, such as removing static electricity from machinery and photographic film.
If ingested in large enough amounts, polonium-210 causes a hideous death.
"This is not a way you'd want to die -- it's a very slow, painful death," said Kelly L. Classic, a radiation physicist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and the media liaison for the Health Physics Society, a national organization of experts on the health effects of radiation.
Polonium is an "alpha emitter," which, when it decays, emits high-speed volleys of subatomic alpha particles -- each one composed of two protons and two neutrons bound together -- that rip apart DNA coils and bust up the cells within which they reside.
An alpha particle "is huge on an atomic scale," Classic said. "If an electron was a piece of popcorn, the alpha particle (would be) like a bowling ball."
(Must be excerpted go to link)
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
polonium-210 does appear to have plenty of industrial uses but Lazar is a nut.
United Nuclear is run by Bob Lazar, who attracted national attention when he claimed to have worked on crashed alien spaceships at a U.S. military base in Nevada called Area 51.
Pardon me if I call shenanigans. Whoever wrote the article didn't actually order polonium and have it tested, so my guess is that Lazar is a fake.
A few orders from areas with Al Qaida presence as well as other places where the haters hang out, I'd reckon ....
I am guessing that the "trace" amount is very tiny indeed, and hopefully sealed in plastic or glass.
If this poison is 100 billion times as deadly as cyanide, why is the media reporting that 2nd and 3rd contacts at the hotel bar or the restaurant have little to worry about? Is that judgement theirs or the government's? And no matter whose, why should anyone believe it?
I strongly suspect that if I sent this guy $69, I'd be out $69 and not have a single atom of polonium-210 to show for it. I would, however, have a crew of very unamused FBI agents on my doorstep.
And no legitimate company would buy something like this from anyone with a resume like Lazar's, not to mention from someone who is offering to deliver it via a patently illegal method (USPS flatly prohibits mailing radioactive materials).
With old chemistry sets or "Mr. Wizard", kids could experiment with the help of mail orders for the process of science alone, times have changed.
I've purchased from Lazar/United Nuclear before, and it is operated as a perfectly legitimate company. Their high power magnets are some of the best I've seen, and the lump of uranium ore on my bookshelf has always been an interesting conversation starter :)
They sold out of them, but at one point Lazar was even selling unused reactor fuel pellets. Completely useless for building a weapon or a reactor (he'd only sell you one), but it was still suprising to see that high-radiation items like that can be sold legally. There are LOTS of things on his site that will kill you or injure you, a fact which the site warns you about repeatedly.
FWIW, he loves press like this. It drives people to the site and drives up his sales.
The best part - Lazar puts out this story. A FBI team will probably have to interview him. Then, at the very next alien saucer convention, he will be in big demand as leading speaker - - for a sizable fee, of course. And, there'll be the book he will sell at the convention; you know, the one that proves the goverbment is suppressing the alien visitations proved by the FBI harassing him. Lazar is a fakir.
The amounts [if any] would be like americium in a smoke detector - traces of traces. Anything greater would run way more than $69. I am still looking for some old clock with radium painted dial - tritium gun sights go to half intensity in 11 years, but radium ones [glass encased] would last for centuries.
Anyone who wants to browse Bob Lazar's site for your really hot Christmas shopping, can go to:
Hmmm. Guess one just needs to go with a (barely) visible amount, then, and hope the blue glow isn't noticed on the canape.
If they are fast breeder "fuels" such as U238 or Thorium 232, it is legal. Natural isotopes are license exempt in less than 100 MicroCurie amounts. With natural isotopes at low specific activities, that amount can be many pounds.
If it is LEU, he cannot be selling it, or possessing it without a Special Nuclear Materials License.
Radiologically, the Americium 241 in smoke detectors have energetic alpha, and should be at least as deadly as Po210.
I was the RSO for a company, and people used to send me _things_ in the interoffice mail for disposal. They were bringing them in from home, and were careful to use a blank interoffice envelope. I resented it.
All kinds of stuff used to show up: The radium dial clocks, Corell Ware, OLD vaseline glass loaded with uranium (NOT like the recent stuff), WWII surplus lenses made with thorium flint glass that were BIG and hot, Coleman mantles, thoriated W TIG electrodes, etc..etc.
They say it is best not to orally moisten the tip of your brush when you refurb your sights.
True, but one does not need to moisten anything at all. Grind a few granulae of old radium paint [under some inert solvent, like alcohol, so it does not dust], let the alcohol dry. Make some epoxy, smear it on one side of the sights glass inserts. dip each insert in the radium paint dust - it would stick to epoxy. allow to dry, and then cement the insert with the paint glued to one side into the sights cavities, so the paint is not even exposed, but is covered with glass at all times.
Not quite. the amounts are pretty small, and half-life is much longer - centuries instead of months. The polonium stinkers chose optimal half-life- long enough to last from preparation to application, and short enough to hope that it would decay before being detected.
Ottawa, IL, a bit west of me was once home to radium dial painting companies.
Local legend has it that some of the women painted their nails with the stuff for a fun night out. They did in fact moisten the brushes in their mouth.
polonium 210 has a half life of something like 100 days.
that means if you plan on killing someone, you need to have it "fresh"
How odd that you would mention that, GSlob! There was a story about two years ago about a High-School kid who got his hands on an old bottle of Radium paint, found inside an old clock. The story would have ended there, with any ordinary kid just painting things that glowed in the dark.
But this 13 year old senior was building a replica of an enrichment device as a science project, and decided to see if he could actually do it!
The details I remember are sketchy, but when the Haz-Mat people were done, the kid had a full-boat college scholarship, and his parents needed a new car and garage! Seems the re-rod in the floor was radioactive too.
I'll see if I can find that story and reference it for you. I would have kept it ... and I now realize that it was more like five years ago. Bookmarked - see ya later. Stay well..................FRegards
Get the brooms!!
I think that's the story in #23.
Note to self: Read all posts before responding!
Wow! When I had food poisoning in 2002, I really did screw-up my memory.
I'll never eat at that restaurant-that-shall-remain-unnamed again!
That's the famous "Atomic Scout" incident. He built a neutron source with radium and beryllium and then assembled uranium and thorium with it.
Not clear that this particular substance could be mailed, but from the USPS website it appears that the flat prohibition applies only to mail via a class that can travel by air. Small amounts of some (but not all) radioactive materials can be mailed by surface mail with strict packaging requirements and activity limits.
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