Dutch nationals in hotel radiation scare
15 December 2006, AMSTERDAM — About 20 Dutch nationals will undergo tests for possible contamination with high radioactive polonium-210.
15 December 2006
AMSTERDAM — About 20 Dutch nationals will undergo tests for possible contamination with high radioactive polonium-210.
The Dutch nationals were staying between 31 October and 1 December in the Millennium Hotel in London, where former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was staying before he died from polonium poisoning.
The Health Ministry has commissioned the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) to carry out the tests.
The London hotel has supplied the RIVM with the personal data of every Dutch national that was staying there last month. The institute said primarily business people linked with a small number of firms had been lodging there.
"We started making telephone contact with these people this week," a spokesman said.
Anyone who visited the Pine Bar of the hotel has been requested to collect their urine over a 24-hour period in a specially-delivered container. The container can then be handed back to their employer to be passed onto a laboratory for testing.
The first urine test will take a day. If there is cause for further analysis, a second test will be conducted, which would take up to a week.
Even if tests indicate that one or more people were contaminated by polonium, the RIVM spokesman said there would be no reason for panic.
"Polonium spreads very difficultly. If there are Dutch people infected, they will not have infected others," he said.
The health institute said there was only a small chance that any of the Dutch nationals had been infected. "But we want to rule out everything."
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news