In a prior post about doings in Chester County, I touched upon a very scary thing: the discovery of radioactive materials in trash that they are saying came from the Hershey’s Mill City-State in East Goshen/West Chester:
Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 By Daily Local News Staff
NORRISTOWN — The Department of Environmental Protection is asking anyone who knows the history of an antique medical kit found in a West Chester trash bin to contact the agency’s Bureau of Radiation Protection.
“The radioactive material may have been contained in the kit for more than 80 years,” Bureau Director David Allard said. “The metal box likely came from a basement, an attic or a collector’s stash. Anyone who tampered with it or stored it for a long time may have been exposed to high levels of radiation.”
The material was found Jan. 19, when a load of construction debris set off radiation alarms at Waste Management Inc.’s Norristown transfer station. The company deployed a health physicist to recover the radioactive material, identified as approximately one curie of radium-226. Exposure to one curie of radium-226 is equivalent to having more than 100 CT scans at once, and it has the potential to create skin burns within a few hours of contact. …DEP health physicists worked with Waste Management to properly evaluate and store the radium, and traced its source to a roll-off container that had come from the Hershey’s Mill retirement community in West Chester.
The radium-226 was contained in four capsules inside a small lead safe marked “Radium Chemical Co., Inc.” The safe and some antique surgical equipment were stored inside a larger, locking metal box, which had been pried open.
DO NOT OPEN THIS BOX! (Credit: William Bender The Daily Delco Philly.com)
Ok, so look, this is the stuff that freaks people out with good reason – it’s very, very dangerous to handle this stuff, be exposed, knowingly or unwittingly expose others. Take me for example: I am a breast cancer survivor of eight months yesterday. However, it has not yet been enough time since I finished my treatment that I am even allowed to be near anything that smacks of radiation, or even get my teeth x-rayed.
So naturally, given my personal experience I think of all those people living in Hershey’s Mill, some of whom are say, bound to be people being treated for something where exposure to radiation could be potentially very harmful to them?
No one knows where this stuff came from, and my guess is some resident in Hershey’s Mill forgot they had something like that and chucked it. Of course, can it be considered that someone thought no one would check all the trash cans and receptacles inside the City-State compound that is Hershey’s Mill and dumped it there?
Either way, it’s no joke. If someone knows something, pick up the phone and contact the authorities. This is not something to look the other way on. NBC10 and other media sources are saying the DEP is now in on this. West Chester Patch discusses it HERE.
Here’s hoping Hershey’s Mill can shed some light on this….after all the great, expansive boundaries of Hershey’s Mill touch other residential areas and I am hoping they are going to be really good neighbors here. Even State Rep. Dan Truitt (whomever he is, haven’t had the pleasure of an introduction) has put out an alert on this.
I am not trying to be an oh-my-God alarmist here, but seriously? This is not the warm glow anyone wants or needs.
Here is what Bill Bender from The Daily News has to say about this in his Philly.com blog The Daily Delco:
It’s not every day we get a press release like this:
The state Department of Environmental Protection is seeking information about an antique medical kit found last month at Waste Management Inc.’s Norristown transfer station. Why? Because it contained enough radium to melt your face off. OK, not that much, but a lot…..”One curie” doesn’t sound like much to me. Oh wait, according to the DEP, direct exposure to the radium could lead to skin burns within hours and would be like “having more than 100 CT scans at once.”
In other words, it’s almost as good as the acid being sold at Drexel these days.
Here’s what East Goshen has sent out to residents: