A team at the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics have finally confirmed that Napoleon Bonaparte was not poisoned by his captors on
The conspiracy theory has been based on the fact that the wallpaper used in Napoleon’s house on
The Italian team used a small nuclear reactor to study hair samples taken throughout Napoleon's life.
The hairs were placed in capsules, inserted into the core of the nuclear reactor and studied using a technique called “neutron activation analysis” which allows for the discrete sampling of elements. The process disregards the chemical form of a sample and focuses solely on the nucleus of the element being observed. This method has the significant advantage that it does not destroy the sample used and produces extremely accurate results even for samples that have very little mass. Like human hair, oddly enough.
What the researchers did find was that all of the hair samples studied contained levels of arsenic 100 times greater than one would find in people today.
The researchers also found that the levels of arsenic found in Napoleon's hair samples were consistent throughout his life noting that they had already been at an elevated level as a boy.
According to the researchers and in particular the toxicologists who participated in the study, this was evidence that it was not a case of poisoning but rather the result of the constant absorption of arsenic.
So at last we can say with confidence that it wasn’t the wallpaper that did for the pocket sized megalomaniac
Well it’s that or the ability of the British Security Services to predict and react to long term threats has severely diminished over the last 200 years.