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10 More Cases of Deadly Radioactive Exposure

Radioactivity, especially radioactivity used in cancer treatment and diagnostic testing, saves the lives of thousands of people every year. However, radiation is also deadly to humans when not handled properly. Large accidents and disasters, like the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion and the Fukushima Japan nuclear power plant catastrophe, get the headlines and, justifiably, make the public nervous about the use of radioactive fuel to generate electricity in nuclear power plants. However, less commonly reported are small incidents where several people, maybe dozens, are exposed. In some cases, a few of these people die as a result of accidental exposure to high radiation levels. Tragically, many of these incidents (though not all) occur in underdeveloped countries, through the recycling and sale of scrap metal. Others are related to industrial accidents, and even medical treatment errors. But all have the potential to expose unsuspecting individuals to radiation. Listed in chronological order, here are ten more examples of tragedies involving radioactive materials that resulted in death.

10

Ciudad Juarez Incident

Omobono1

In December 1983-February 1984, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and the United States, occurred one of the first widely reported cases of radiation exposure from the inadvertent destruction of orphaned sources through the scrap metal recycling process.

On December 6, 1983, a used metal teletherapy unit (pictured) containing a source container with about 6,000, one-millimeter pellets, each with radioactive cobalt 60, was deliberately opened in a scrap yard in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The pellets were scattered throughout the scrap yard, and a magnetic loader further dispersed the radioactive pellets, when the scrap metal was converted to steel products on December 10, 1983. Contaminated products included steel rebar and table pedestals, manufactured from the contaminated steel and shipped to the US. The contamination went undetected until January 16, 1984, when a truck carrying the contaminated rebar took a wrong turn at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, scientific laboratory and set off an automatic radiation sensor. Later that same day, five more trucks carrying contaminated steel were stopped at the Mexican border, near El Paso, Texas.

Over the following weeks, about 900 tons of contaminated steel were identified and recovered in the US. Some of the contaminated table parts had already been made into finished tables and had to be retrieved from restaurants.

In February, 1984, Mexican officials determined that ten individuals had been exposed to high levels of radiation. One of these subsequently died from their injuries. An aerial survey of the Ciudad Juarez area in March of that year, located 21 contaminated zones including a pickup truck with children playing on it. In Sinola, Mexico, authorities had to destroy 109 homes that had been built with the contaminated rebar.

9

Morocco Incident

Radiation-512X384

Another orphaned source event occurred in March, 1984, in Morocco. This time the orphaned source was an iridium-132 source. Many individuals received significant overdoses of radiation that required medical attention, and eight people died.

The source was used to radiograph welds – a non destructive analysis where ionizing radiation is used to look for defects in the metal that cannot be seen any other way. The source became separated from the shielded container used to store it, and the source itself had no markings indicating it was radioactive. Somehow, a worker found the source and took it home, where it stayed for some weeks, exposing the family to radiation.


8

Goiania Incident

Radiotherapy-Treatment

On September 13, 1987, at Goiania, Brazil, a radioactive source was removed from an abandoned hospital in the city. Over time, the radioactive source was handled by multiple people, and led to the exposure to high levels of radiation of at least 245 people. Twenty of those showed sign of radiation exposure and needed hospital treatment. At least four people died.

This time it was a cesium-137 source, which had been left behind when a private radiotherapy institute moved to a new location. Left unsecured for two years, it was eventually located by scrap hunters scavenging for metal. Not knowing what they had, the scavengers took the unit home, tried to open it and in the process, damaged the cesium-137 source. This led to the contamination of hundreds of people as well as the environment, which resulted in a six-month radiation clean up. More than 100,000 people ended up being monitored for radiation as a result.

7

Soreq Incident

Sterval513X350

Radioactive sources have many uses, and not just for medical purposes. One such use is sterilization of medical instruments, and even food products. A high energy cobalt-60 radioactive source was being used at just such a plant in Soreq, Israel, in June, 1990, when the source used in the irradiation process became stuck in its rack. Two conflicting warning signs were provided to the operator of the irradiation machine, which may have confused him. He bypassed the safety systems designed to prevent an operator from being exposed, and came up with procedures so that he could enter the irradiation room and free the blockage. As a result, the operator entered the room and was, himself, irradiated. He was exposed to high levels of radiation and died only a month later.

Tragically, this was not the first, nor would it be the last incident involving a source which had become stuck in such a facility.

In February, 1989, in San Salvador, El Salvador, a cobalt-60 source became stuck and again, workers bypassed safety systems and entered the irradiation room. This time, three men went into the room to free the stuck source. In the process, all three received high doses of radiation. The legs and feet of two of the men were so burned by the radiation that they had to be amputated. The third man died six months later.

In October, 1991, in Nesvizh, Belarus, a cobalt-60 source became jammed in the product transport system and the operator entered the facility to clear the blockage, once again, bypassing several safety systems. The source became active for about one minute and the operator was exposed to high levels of radiation as a result. He was taken for special medical treatment in Minsk, Russia, but died 113 days later.

6

Zaragoza Clinic Incident

2004-Clinica-Zaragoza

At a hospital clinic located in Zaragoza, Spain, between the dates of December 10 and December 20, 1990, at least 27 patients who were receiving radiotherapy for cancer were accidentally exposed to high levels of radiation, which resulted in the deaths of 11 patients, and severe injuries to the others.

On December 7, 1990, maintenance was performed on the electron accelerator used to treat cancer patients at the clinic. The unit was started again the following day, December 10. The Spanish Nuclear Safety Board inspected the unit, and found the power of the electron accelerator was set too high, and it was taken out of service on December 20, 1990. But, by then, many patients had been exposed to higher than expected, and unsafe, levels of radiation.

The affected patients immediately suffered skin burns and effects to internal organs and their bone marrow. The first patient died on February 16, 1991. The last fatality occurred on December 25, 1991.

The 14 year old instrument had a breakdown in the electron beam accelerator control system. The service man who repaired the instrument incorrectly increased output power, so patients that should have received therapy at 7 million electron volts (MeV) were instead treated at 40 MeV.

The hospital manager blamed the technician, and the Spanish Health Minister blamed GE, the manufacturer of the instrument. After a court hearing, the technician and GE were found to be at fault. The device was taken out of service and disposed of, in 1996.

5

Indiana, PA Incident

Brachy-Therapy

In November, 1992, an 82 year old patient was undergoing brachytherapy radiotherapy treatment at the Indiana, Pennsylvania, Regional Cancer Center. While undergoing treatment, a 3.7 curie iridium-192 source dislodged from the equipment and was accidentally left inside the patient. The error went unnoticed because the staff did not conduct routine inventory checks of all radioactive sources. The patient died 93 hours later, at her nursing home, from exposure to radiation from the source. The catheter containing the source was removed from the woman and disposed of as normal medical waste. The waste disposal company discovered the radioactive source during routine checks for radioisotopes. The subsequent Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) investigation found that 94 individuals at the center, the nursing home and the waste disposal company had been exposed to radiation.


4

Tommiku Incident

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In October, 1994, in Tommiku, Estonia, three brothers somehow managed to gain entrance into a facility used to store radioactive waste. They had no authorization to enter this facility. Inside they found a metal container and removed it from the facility. Inside the metal container was a radioactive source. They were able to open the container and expose themselves to the radiation from the source. The radiation exposure killed one of the three brothers, and led to the exposure of many others. At first the man’s death was not linked to radiation exposure. However, upon examining the radiation injuries of another family member, a physician realized they were all related to radioactivity. The physician alerted authorities who were able to contain the damage from being worse than it otherwise would have been.

3

San Juan de Dios Hospital Incident

Sanjuandioscr

In August, 1996, a radioactive cobalt-60 source was replaced in an Alcyon II radiotherapy instrument, at the San Juan de Dios Hospital, in San Juan, Costa Rica. An error was made in calculating the dose rate when the instrument was restarted. Before the error was caught in September, 1996, 115 patients who had been treated using the instrument had been exposed to significantly higher levels of radiation than expected. Later calculations would estimate the over exposure at 50-60% greater levels of radiation than intended.

By July, 1997, nine months after the accident, 42 of those patients had died. All of the patients showed classic signs and symptoms of over exposure to radiation.


2

Samut Prakarn Incident

Bhp1

The device involved in this incident was a Gammatron-3 teletherapy unit, originally installed in a Bangkok, Thailand, hospital, in 1969. The tele therapy unit has a source holder and shield made from lead, and surrounded by stainless steel. It weighed about 280 pounds. In the center of the holder was the cobalt-60 source. The tele therapy unit had been taken out of service by the hospital many years previously, and had been in storage, along with several other pieces of radioactive machinery, in another location. Eventually, three of these units were moved to a garage and it was there that the one tele therapy unit was stolen for sale as scrap metal.

On January 24, 2000, two men purchased the tele therapy unit as scrap metal, and drove it through Bangkok to their home. On February 1, 2000, these two men, along with a third man, tried to pry apart the unit but were unsuccessful. They then gave up and decided to take the unit to a scrap yard. Along with a fourth man, they drove the unit to the scrap yard, but first stopped at one man’s home. While there, one of the men sitting in the car draped his one leg over the unit.

At the scrap yard, the men asked the scrap yard employee to use a torch to cut open the unit, which he did. A second employee of this scrap yard was positioned behind the employee who used the torch to cut thorough the stainless steel box and lead cylinder. A yellow, foul smelling smoke came from the unit and two pieces fell out onto the ground. The man with the torch picked them up. The man said his hands felt “itchy” while holding the pieces. The female owner of the scrap yard came out and ordered the men to take the unit back to their house, and continue working on it there. They put the, now cut open, tele therapy unit back into their car and drove back home. Though they began to feel sick and nauseous, they did manage to finally separate the stainless steel and lead assemblies, and returned with them to the scrap yard the next day.

In total, the four men who had obtained the tele therapy unit, and six people at the scrap yard, including the man who cut it open with a torch, the man working beside him, the female owner, her husband and two others were exposed to high levels of radiation. By mid February all had developed signs of radiation sickness, and had been admitted to hospitals.

The treating physician noticed the people were suffering from apparent radiation exposure, and contacted Thailand authorities who dispatched two health physicists to investigate. Using a radiation meter and driving through the area near the scrap yard, the eventually noticed higher than normal radiation levels and determined the location of the radioactive source. Unfortunately, the source was buried in amongst tons of other scrap metal. Authorities then spent many days carefully removing pieces of scrap metal until they were finally able to locate the actual source and safely remove it. They also found and seized control of the other tele therapy units sitting unprotected in the garage.

Of the four men who originally handled the unit, one had to have body parts amputated and the other, who had his leg over the unit, had severe radiation burns to the leg. But all survived.

Of the six individuals exposed at the scrap yard, the man who cut open the unit and the man who worked next to him both died. In addition, the husband of the scrap yard owner died of his injuries.

1

Mayapuri Incident

24India01 Span-Articlelarge

In April, 2010, the locality of Mayapuri, India, was affected by a serious radiological accident when a Gammacell 220 research irradiator, owned by Delhi University, was sold at auction to a scrap metal dealer in Mayapuri, on February 26, 2010. The source, unused since 1985, had been removed from the university and sold off as scrap, thus becoming what is known as an “orphan source”. Strict rules and regulations require owners of radioactive sources to always know where the source is located, and never lose control of the source. This did not happen in the Mayapuri event, and orphan sources, as we have seen, are potentially deadly.

The cobalt-60 radioactive source was cut into several pieces by the scrap metal workers, one of whom took a piece and put it in his wallet. Two more pieces were taken to a nearby shop, and the remaining eight pieces were left in the scrap yard.

All of the pieces of the source were eventually recovered in mid-April, and sent to a nuclear power station. As a result of cutting the source into pieces, eight people were hospitalized due to radiation exposure, and one died.

+

Yanango Incident

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I included the Yanango incident even though, as far as I have been able to determine, the exposed man has not yet died. However, the extent of his injuries are so severe there is little doubt that if he is still alive, he will eventually die as a result. If you would like to read the full investigation report by the IAEA go here.

Be warned, the photographs of the man’s injuries are extremely graphic. In February, 1999, a hydroelectric plant was under construction in Yanango, Peru, several hundred miles east of Lima, Peru. On the morning of February 20, 1999, a welder and his assistant began to conduct repairs on a pipe. Soon a radiographer arrived to take radiographs of the welds and the pipe in order to ensure the pipe was safe to conduct hydrostatic testing. But the welding was not yet finished, so the radiographer left – leaving the radiograph camera, locked but unsupervised, at the construction site.

The camera is essentially a metal box with a “source pigtail” which is a pencil-length long braided metal connector that looks nothing at all like something anyone would think contains radioactivity. In fact, the source pigtail contained an iridium-192 radioactive source. The pigtail is inserted into the camera with one end protruding slightly. That end of the source pigtail is then connected to drive cable.

The welders resumed their work. Soon the radiographer went to use the camera, but it failed. Somehow, the pigtail fell out of the camera (there were locks in place that should have prevented this from happening, but still, the pigtail fell out). The radiographer left the construction site and, not knowing the danger, one of the welders picked up the pigtail with his right hand and put it in his back right pocket. The welder continued to work for another three hours, then boarded a bus with multiple other workers and went home. Before he left work he began to notice a pain in his right thigh.

At home the man complained to his wife about the pain and took off his pants. The wife noticed a red spot on his thigh and the man went to a local doctor who told him he had a bug bite. While he was gone the wife breastfed their infant child and two other young children played in the area where the pants, and the pigtail in the pocket, were laying on the floor.

Once back home the man remembered the pigtail he had picked up and realized it was still in his back pocket of his pants. He took the pigtail out of his pocket with his right hand and carried it outside to the outhouse. Later, the plant operator came to the man’s house asking if he had seen the missing source. The man went to the outhouse, picked up the pigtail with his right hand, and carried it back to the house to show the operator. Upon seeing the pigtail in his hand, the operator told the man to toss it into the street. Later the pigtail was safely retrieved and the street and house decontaminated. But it was too late for the welder.

After aggressive treatment in Peru, the man was flown to France for some of the most cutting edge treatment available. Still, by February 2000, one year after the incident, the man had lost his entire right leg and buttock and had significant infection in other areas of his body, including his left leg and right hand. In addition, from sitting on his pants, his wife had a small radioactive burn on her buttock.



  • Le Sombre Desperado

    Boring.

    • yay

      it’s hard to find good topics since listverse covered most of the good ones already,it’s understandable that some lists are really boring.it would be great if we could suggest topics that we want them to research

    • r.

      Not at all. I find lists such as this to be completely riveting. Great list!

      • Tom Wang

        You blew it!! This comment should have been saved for next weeks 10 Best riveters ever list.

        • r.

          hey, i’m still waiting….

  • Son

    Interesting list.
    The government should require guards at every radioactive site/item because all these innocent civilians are getting these hazardous substances very easily I assume.

    • Son

      Well ok, not ALL are innocent but you know what I’m getting at.

    • badjokebob

      Really? tens of millions of guards to prevent what? 20 deaths? This is a typical over reaction to bad news. By the way which government? The incidents listed all occurred in different countries.

  • nymphmeister

    *yawn*

  • Chicano chars

    Very well written list. Props!!

    • Robert

      Well written? It was loaded with grammatical errors that made it difficult to read!

      • M

        I found it easy enough to read.

  • Mario

    Are these in any specific order because I can’t seem to find any pattern :P

    Interesting list though :)

    • LOL WUT?

      Writer says it’s chronological. Since some entries contain more than one item, it might be a little off.

  • Hey

    No Fukushima power plant meltdown? That’s dumb.

    • Armadillo

      Well, no one died, yet.

    • You sad strange little person

      Probably should have read the intro…

    • HeyHo

      Not reading the introduction? That’s dumb.

  • one of my favorite list!!! <3

  • hercules321

    I remember the Mayapuri incident creating headlines here in India. But it wasn’t much of a big deal.

    Well written list but a dull topic..

  • SailorBill

    Excellent list. Very interesting.

  • Friant

    I don’t know if this would qualify for the list but: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1
    I live about two hours away and local legend say that the accident was actually purposeful do to a love triangle between the technician that lifted the rod, his wife, and the navy officer.

  • MeDan

    This is the sort of list that NEEDS to be on this site. It’s fascinating and informative. Since the early days of usage, when women were hired to paint radium on watch dials to make them glow in the dark, we have been subjected to these deadly substances. Perhaps, if the right people read lists like this and take note of what’s really happening, we’ll finally realize the importance of handling these objects safely.

    The part that’s missing is: what happened to the people who were responsible for monitoring the safety of these things? Do those people think of themselves as murderers now?

  • Interesting list, hadn’t heard of any of the incidents before.

    Its pretty mad to think that people (who I am assuming had some basic training in the dangers of radioactive material) would bypass safe gaurds put in place to prevent them entering the containers and expose themselves to radiation.

    • badjokebob

      Bypassing safety regulations is common when too many safety regulations are used. If you have ten warning stickers telling you don’t touch, but if half of them are truly pointless operators will start ignoring them, suffering no ill effects. One day when when they should obey a safety regulation that actually matters and they don’t… LOOK OUT!

  • OmegaMan

    Good list. Factual and to the point and not opinionated. Listverse should publish more lists like this one.

  • Armadillo

    I absolutely loved the first list but I like this one even better !

    Everyone is freaking out about nuclear energy but people need to realise that far more people are killed or injured because of medical imaging or treatment :(

    • Bob

      Correction, medical imaging or treatment that is done by incompetent people who don’t pay enough attention to safety regulations.

      • Armadillo

        Obviously :)

        • Interregnum

          Mm, as a Medical Radiographer my pride prompts me to remind everyone of the extremely low doses involved in diagnostic imaging. You’re exposed to more radiation flying cross-Atlantic than you are from a chest x-ray.
          These cases (which, by the way, I found fascinating), are all instances where things have gone horribly wrong or protocols have been blatantly ignored. Medical Imaging and Treatments are extremely beneficial, and while there is always a risk associated with their undertaking, that risk is far outweighed by their benefits. If it weren’t, x-rays would be outlawed, or used in only extreme circumstances.

  • Sender

    Haha how weird is it i play fallout 3 and come here to find this list

    • inconspicuousdetective

      i read it playing new vegas hahaha.

  • Bethany

    As a medical physicist by education and a safety specialist by trade, I really appreciate this list. The inherent danger of a radioactive source coupled with a lack of safety training were responsible for many of these incidents, which overshadow the far greater good that radiation can do for those who are ill.

  • wasd

    Capital Wasteland Incident?

  • mike/

    Mist all with hospital equipment & the majority in Spanish speaking countries! Sounds like the Spanish directions & warnings have a problem!

  • oouchan

    Scary stuff when you put it all together like this. Separated it’s almost not a threat…but together and you’ve got more than just “little” accidents. These reasons are why we need better ways of getting and using energy now….before more places become like this.

    Interesting list.

  • Someonelse

    What about the radioactive boyscout?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn

  • Dan

    Radiation is really as dangerous as they say – you should definitely not believe all the lunatics (who’ve recently been in the general media, as well) who say it’s helpful. Full precautions should be taken at all times with it and anything dangerous, for that matter.

    I always read the instructions and warning labels and tell everyone to do so, as well. I’ve only ever been electrocuted and had petrol fuel splashed right into my eyes – that HURTS like a bitch, thank God I washed my face and eyes right away and everything seems to be fine.

    The people who bypassed security measures and those who opened the radioactive containers in those medical instruments (which always contain radioactive labels and warnings – there’s like a dozen of them before you even see the container) frankly had it coming – they should win a Darwin award and be kicked in the balls for endangering others.

    I witnessed two cases of extreme stupidity: once when “technicians” came to replace my gas meter – they just took it off and replaced it with a new one, gas flowing freely out of the pipe – I was like, “what are f**cking nuts, the valve is just a few yards away” and they looked at me like I’m the crazy one – thank God they weren’t smoking.

    The second time, another “specialist” was cutting electricity wires to install a three-phase 380V switch box… you guessed it, without turning the main switch off. He said, “it’s cool, the pliers handle and my boots are made of rubber”… cant f**cking argue with that, idiot…

    Point is, if you see a warning label, don’t ignore it, even if you think you know what you’re doing.

  • Meg

    Who would bring scrap metal home in their wallet or continue to touch something after it made you itch? I’m sorry to say but these incidents were caused by ignorant human error!!!

    • Trent

      I have to agree with this.

  • Meg

    Well said Dan!

  • Killbilly Deluxe

    Excellent list. Frightening too.

    I enjoyed it because it’s not something you think about too often. The amount of radioactive material that is just out in general use.

    Listverse could do better though. If a list is a continuation of a previous list or lists, maybe inlude links to those other lists after the article. It saves having to search the archives.

  • Magnumto

    Between 1975 and 1978, right after finishing high school, I worked for an oil well logging and perforating company. One of the logging tools we used required either an Americium/Beryllium source or a Cesium-137 source – it varied. For some odd reason, numbers stick in my head, and, as I recall, the strength of the source was something like “5.4 X 10^-26”. I’m not sure what that means, but apparently it isn’t very strong, because I can remember putting that source in my back pocket and walking around with it for 10 or 15 minutes, and we routinely screwed the source onto the logging tool using our bare hands on almost a daily basis. Looking back, it was pretty unconciounable for the small company I worked for to allow workers to handle R/A sources with no training whatsoever. Then again, I guess regulatory security and safety measures at the time didn’t require anything more stringent. At any rate, although I never had any symptoms of illness, I consider that my potentially deadly close call due to stupidity and ignorance.

    Obviously, I found it very easy to connect with this list, and really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for posting it.

  • timmy the dying boy

    Lots of real-life Homer Simpsons running around, I see.

  • Johan

    This is not creepy at all… Not… Creepy at all… (Keeps telling myself that while feeling an itch over my body) :)

  • inconspicuousdetective

    i personally don’t believe there is any “safe” way to handle this stuff, but its just too important to not use. what we do need is to find a way to improve common sense, which is not so common. then, maybe these things won’t happen so often.

  • OLD_PC_USER

    Hi Patrick:

    I clicked on the link in the section describing the “Yanango Incident,” not realizing that it was a LARGE PDF file and it froze my browser (Firefox 3.6.18) solid. I was finally able to get out of it, and shut everything down, by using the Task Manager, but it caused a real headache, and probably a lot of file fragmentation on my PC.

    Not sure what the trouble was, but I suspect it had something to do with the fact that the file is 54 pages long, and probably a good 20+ Mbs in size.

    It’s a good idea to keep in mind that not all of us are using the latest and greatest hardware. For future reference, when posting a link to a file, rather than to a website, please indicate the approximate size of the file, and it’s format.

    • MeDan

      Thanks, Patrick. My living room PC right now is an old one that I just re-activated. I got it in about 1999 and it’s basically not been changed. I type in letters in Word and they show up like 15 seconds later. Editing my work is extremely difficult. My computer would have taken one look at that file and keeled over dead.

    • badjokebob

      20 megs is large? whats up with that? Are you using a refurbished 386 and a dial modem?

      • p1t1o

        Steady on badjokebob, it DID have over 50 pages!

  • Boxx

    Having recently returned from photographing and documenting in the exclusion zone in Ukraine around the Chernobyl reactor and Pripyat, this was a very interesting list indeed.

    • If you’re interested in the Chernobyl incident you *must* read “Voices from Chernobyl”. It’s full of real-life interviews with survivors of the incident; both those responders who survived (barely), their wives, some of whom later got pregnant and gave birth to children who were either born with birth defects or later developed fatal blood diseases, and the residents of the towns directly surrounding Chernobyl.

      This is a sad and extremely interesting book.

  • Bethany

    If used with extreme care and control by experts, radiation is extremely helpful in cancer therapy. I don’t think that I am a “lunatic” for saying that.

  • Crisco

    I’ve never felt the need to comment before but that was really good, I’m really interested in physics and chemistry so I thought it was reet good. Good stuff sir, good stuff.

  • Extremely creepy list…and DO NOT use the link to read the report on the Yanango incident! My goodness, those images will haunt me for some time to come.

    Back in 1980 I developed a lump on my thyroid. The doctor ordered a test which included my having to take radioactive trace pellet of some sort (I don’t remember exactly what it was called), and then have a sort of X-ray taken of the area.

    When I went in for the test, I was put onto a table in a lead-lined room. The technician came in wearing a protective suit which appeared a bit like the Michelin Man, only lead-lined. In one gloved hand he was holding a long pair of lead tongs and the tongs were holding a lead canister. Using the tongs, he opened the canister and said, “hold out your hand”.

    I said, “Are you nuts? You’re wearing a lead suit, you’re holding the canister with lead tongs, and you want to put the stuff in my bare hand? And then I’m supposed to swallow it?”

    He explained that the dosage I was getting was tiny, but that he was working with the material all day, every day. His exposure, unprotected, would eventually be harmful but that I was not getting more radioactive exposure than a couple of X-rays.

    I’m still not sure I believe him, especially since I have had some incredibly odd physical problems (strange tumors) occur over the past 15 years.

    Stay away from anything radioactive. That’s my advice.

    • Johan

      Now I simply must look! Don’t you know that telling someone to NOT do something is like leaving all the windows and doors open at night while storing the crown jewels of UK in the freezer! :)

      • Yeah, yeah…I should know better, having raised 3 kids!

        • Interregnum

          The technitian was telling the truth though, we x-ray little wriggly kids all the time who need to be held still, and it’s illegal for us Radiographers to hold them because of the trace exposures we’re subjected to. Those lead outfits are there to protect us from every tiny bit of radiation possible so that we can still have kids ten years down the line and don’t have the mortality rate of the pioneering radiographers back before radiation was understood.

          • Interregnum

            technician*, obviously

    • Crimson

      I had thyroid cancer and had to have surgery to have my thyroid removed. After that I had to have radioactive iodine treatment to kill any thyroid tissue that was left. I expected it to be something like what you described but it wasn’t that dramatic.

      I sat in a little room with the technician who was dressed in scrubs. He had a little lead case. He handed me a bottle of water and told me to open my mouth and get ready, then he opened the case and removed a vial with two bright yellow and purple capsules in it. He shook them into my mouth really quickly and I had to swallow them and drink the whole bottle of water. After that I was confined to my room for three days. It made me feel nauseated for about 3 days and it also made my body smell strange, sort of a burned smell. For a week after that I couldn’t touch or be close to anyone, not even my dog.

      So, all of that was to say I found this list very interesting. I want as little further contact with radioactive materials as possible!

  • lilkty

    wow, so now Ciudad Juarez is not only dangerous but radioactive? that sucks :S

  • Jono

    Extremely awesome list.

    Well researched, and well done. Do another! :D

  • Hardy har har

    *SinAloa*, good list though.

  • akul

    i think comments should have a recommend/+1 option. about time.

  • darren

    Very interesting.

  • Ruthless tooth

    So, not a single Hulk? Or whatsoever mutant emerging?

  • Michelle

    Just because my Mexican pride is aching to say this: It’s Sinaloa, not “Sinola”… sounds good, but there’s no place in Mexico with that name, as far as I know. And, for the Zaragoza Clinic incident, you used an incorrect image: it belongs to a Mexico City subway station (the orange lines are supposed to be a letter “M”, because the subway in Mexico City is called Metro), and the Zaragoza Station (Zaragoza was the last name of a not so famous but important general and leader in the 1810’s Independence War) happens to have a clinic for the Subway system workers. The neighborhood it’s located on is called Ermita Zaragoza, and every street was named after an Independence war hero.

    Other than that, interesting list, actually. I wasn’t aware of most of these incidents.

  • Hey

    More lists like these!

  • Im sorry but who in their right mind opens medical gear sees yellow smoke coming out and dosnt freak the frick out and run away.
    I really enjoyed this list.

  • Jaae

    This list is really awkwardly written….

  • moklo

    storyahee ang kagaw………..

  • WATCH THIS

    The technitian was telling the truth though, we x-ray little wriggly kids all the time who need to be held still, and it’s illegal for us Radiographers to hold them because of the trace exposures we’re subjected to. Those lead outfits are there to protect us from every tiny bit of radiation possible so that we can still have kids ten years down the line and don’t have the mortality rate of the pioneering radiographers back before radiation was understood.
    http://quurl.com/bj7up2
    http://mee.la/5544

  • blazerelf

    how can people really say this is boring, I guess because is too scientific rather than mystery alien/ghost/Conspiracy Theories fiction as most seem to belive in; for me it was shockin, sad but interesting; specialy number 2 and bonus.

  • jacob jellyfish

    its a nice topic it should show more of what the radiation does to the body reather then just talk about it but its good

  • Plod

    I read part 1 of number 10 and got bored. And commented straight away.

    • LOL WUT?

      You didn’t read the part in Number 7 where you can win a lot of money? That was the best part!

  • Vernon

    Alexander Litvinenko?

  • kim

    hi

    • Slappy

      Hi, kim. Did you enjoy the list?

  • catchick

    I just did an intensive search on the 99 Yanango incident and according to a 2011 report that I found on orphan incidents, the welder is apparently still alive. They(the medical community) managed to stop the necrosis on his left leg and perinea l area but the patient had to have plastic surgery to “rebuild” his private parts because the necrosis basically eroded them away. The radiation contamination actually went through his entire body affecting bone marrow loss throughout his entire skeletal system.

    I’m quite amazed at the reports written about this incident as the man’s injuries were actually considered to be not THAT serious considering his exposure. From looking at all the pictures, I’d hate to see what they call serious….

  • Shayla

    Why isn’t Chernobyl on the list

  • radiation programs

    Hey There. I discovered your blog the use of msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  • CraZ8

    Where is the Chernobyl Diasaster?