21 Aug 2014
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Radioactive Medical Waste in Dumpster Closes Albertsons

Lincoln Boulevard store closed to new customers for several hours while emergency personnel investigate source of radiation.

Radioactive Medical Waste in Dumpster Closes Albertsons

A HazMat team investigated Wednesday morning radioactive medical waste detected in a trash bin behind an Albertsons at Lincoln and Ocean Park boulevards in Santa Monica, temporarily closing the grocery store.

The source was a bag of medical grade Iodine 131 used to treat thyroid cancer, according to Santa Monica Fire Chief Judah Mitchell.

The store at 2627 Lincoln Blvd. was not evacuated as Haz Mat personnel wearing protective suits combed the area using "highly sophisticated monitors and detectors." The readings inside the store were normal, so customers were allowed to continue shopping, but new customers were not allowed to go inside, Mitchell said.

A radiation signal about 30 feet from the dumpster—which Mitchell called a "pretty significant read"—was detected by city trash collectors about 9 a.m. Over the past couple of days, they had picked up positive readings while dumping their loads at the waste station behind the City Yards.

City crews set out on their regular routes Wednesday to try to find the source of the radiation. When they picked up the signal near the grocery store, they called 911.

The bag of Iodine 131 and all of the dumpster's trash were taken to the Sun Shine Landfill in Sylmar.

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