For Release: Thursday, March 8, 2012
Low-Level Radioactive Material Removed from Saratoga County Residence
Removed Material Does Not Threaten Public Health; Criminal Investigation Ongoing
A small amount of low-level radioactive material was removed today from the basement of a residence in Saratoga County, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and State Department of Health (DOH) announced. The radioactive material does not pose an immediate threat to public health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assisted the state in the removal.
On February 15, an anonymous tip was called into DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch Center notifying officials that radioactive material was buried and cemented into the basement floor of 7F Tupelo Drive in the Town of Halfmoon. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers initially responded to the location to investigate the claim. Staff from DEC's Radiation Program, DOH's Bureau of Environmental Radiation Protection and Saratoga County Emergency Management also responded.
DOH and DEC tested the residence and area for radiation levels and found no immediate health threats to the property owner or neighbors. The initial radiation level taken on the floor above the source was approximately 20 microrems per hour. A microrem is 1/1000 of a millirem, a standard used to measure potential exposure levels. The source reading equates to .02 millirems. By comparison, a normal chest x-ray is 10 millirems. Using these measurements, a person would have to lay directly on the spot continuously for about 500 hours (21 days) to receive a dosage equivalent to a chest x-ray.
DEC contacted the EPA to remove the radioactive materials so they can be properly disposed of.
DEC's criminal investigation is ongoing.