Meet Polonium 210, an element from the periodic table but better make sure that you keep your distance from it. Why? Because even less than a microgram of it is fatal. Just how big is a microgram? It is about the size of a speck of dust. Yeah, it is that deadly folks.
It was first discovered as a radioactive chemical element with an atomic number of 84 back in 1898 by Marie Curie. She discovered it in a source of Uranium in the form of a solid metal that exhibited silver color. She went on to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discoveries. The effects of its toxicity were first witnessed following a lab accident where her own daughter was exposed to fatal amount of it and passed away 10 years later due to leukemia that was evoked after the accident.
Another incident involving Polonium is that of a Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko. H was poisoned by a lethal dose of it and died because of radiation sickness. According to Medical News today, “Toxicologists estimate that one gram of polonium could be enough to kill 50 million people, on top of another 50 million who would become ill; in the case of Litvinenko, less than one-millionth of that amount would have been enough to cause his death (less than a micro-gram).”
The element is quite clearly quite fatal to humans however, surprisingly, it doesn’t exhibit toxic chemical properties and the danger is caused only because of the radiation that it emits. If someone is to be infected by this particular element, they have to absorb it internally. It is also a group 1 carcinogen, that is, if inhaled, it can cause lung cancer.