Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

210Pb and 210Po Concentrations in Italian Cigarettes and Effective Dose Evaluation

Taroni, Mattia*; Zagà, Vincenzo; Bartolomei, Paolo; Gattavecchia, Enrico**; Pacifici, Roberta§; Zuccaro, Piergiorgio§; Esposito, Massimo*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000104

It has been known for a long time that cigarette tobacco contains naturally occurring radioactive nuclides such as 210Pb and 210Po. In this study, the concentrations of 210Pb and 210Po in the 10 most widely sold cigarette brands in Italy during the year 2010 were measured, and the effective dose to smokers has been calculated. The results of this study show that 210Pb concentration ranged from 11.6 to 20.0 mBq cig−1 with an arithmetic mean of 14.6 mBq cig−1, while the activity concentration of 210Po ranged from 13.1 to 19.0 mBq cig−1 with an arithmetic mean of 15.7 mBq cig−1, thus confirming previous results and showing that the radioactivity concentration was not reduced in the last few years. The annual effective dose for a typical smoker consuming 20 cigarettes per day ranged from an average of 55 μSv y−1 to about 81 μSv y−1. It is finally put in evidence the need to improve the knowledge about crucial data needed for accurate dose assessment deriving from the inhalation of both radioisotopes contained in the cigarettes, namely the dose conversion coefficients, which strongly depend on several parameters such as the inhalation speed through the mouth, the real fraction of radionuclide transferred from cigarette to mainstream smoke, the lung absorption behavior of the radioisotopes inhaled with mainstream smoke, and the AMAD of particles inhaled by smokers.

*U-Series Srl, Via Ferrarese 131, 40128 Bologna, Italy; †Unità Operativa di Pneumotisiologia Territoriale, AUSL Bologna, Via Tiarini 10, 40129 Bologna, Italy; ‡ENEA, Agenzia Nazionale per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e lo Sviluppo Economico sostenibile, Via Martiri di Monte Sole 24, 40129 Bologna, Italy; §Istituto Superiore di Sanità: Osservatorio Fumo, Alcol e Droga (OSSFAD-ISS), Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Roma, Italy; **Dipartimento di Scienza dei Metalli, Elettrochimica e Tecniche Chimiche (SMETEC), Via San Giacomo 7, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Mattia Taroni, U-Series Srl, Via Ferrarese 131, 40128 Bologna, Italy, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 21 January 2014)

© 2014 by the Health Physics Society