2004-12-10

Radioactive vomit indeed

Jackson Street really was partially blocked for a cleanup of radioactive vomit last week. According to the incident report from the University of Georgia Police Department, the victim of the illness had taken radioactive iodine pills. She vomited into a paper bag and a box and had laid them on the street. Her husband said that her physician, who was contacted by phone, warned there would only be danger if physical contact was made with the vomit. Her husband drove away with the containers. The county fire department's hazmat people declared the area safe, but the university's Environmental Safety Division checked on the scene and detected radiation, so they spraypainted over the residue to contain it, and a barricade was placed over the spot. The barricade is still there today in the southbound bike lane of Jackson Street at Fulton Street.

Big question: What did the victim's husband do with the vomit? I hope the physician had some manner of disposing of it. And what happened to their car? Of course we wonder how radioactive the material could have been since obviously it was safe enough for medical use, probably for medical imaging and diagnosis. I mean, the university was concerned about the residue left after it was cleaned up. An unofficial speculation is that the final steps were taken to protect the institution from liability. (I had assumed Jackson Street belongs to the county, though. Jurisdiction over streets is a little confusing.)

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