A person undergoing treatment of Thyroid Cancer who did not dispose of a medical diaper properly led to a large emergency services radiation response to the Albertsons at Lincoln and Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica on Wednesday morning.
Santa Monica Fire Department spokesman Captain Judah Mitchell said several City Waste Management Division trucks on Tuesday returned with radiation readings.
A City of Santa Monica trash truck along with a supervisor equipped with a “radiation detector” retraced the route of these trucks Wednesday morning and at about 8:30 a.m., a radiation recording was detected at a dumpster behind the Albertsons store at 2627 Lincoln Boulevard and 911 was called.
Mitchell said the SMFD’s Battalion 1, Engine 4, Engine 6, and both division chiefs responded to the scene at 9:07 a.m. LA County HazMat also responded as did two specialists with Los Angeles County Radiation Management.
“HazMat personnel wearing protective suits and equipped with highly sophisticated monitors and detectors entered the area and discovered above normal reading of radiation,” Mitchell said. “A 50 foot perimeter was established and no one was allowed to enter the area.”
Mitchell said a bag of medical waste was found emitting medical grade Iodine 131 Beta Radiation that is used for the treatment of Thyroid Cancer.
“After consulting with all agencies involved, LA County Radiation approved the plan to transport all the contents of the dumpster using a City trash truck to the Sun Shine Landfill in the Valley for proper disposal,” Mitchell said. “All Fire personnel were evaluated at the conclusion of the incident, and radiation readings were obtained from their personal dosimeters. The results were all within the acceptable range.”
Mitchell said radiation readings were taken inside the store when fire units responded, but tested negative.
He said the patrons already shopping were allowed to finish and no one was allowed to enter Albertsons, thus clearing the store of customers within 10-15 minutes.
The parking lot was closed to normal traffic due to the number of safety personnel operating at the scene and potential safety issues during the incident.
Mitchell said the scene was cleared at 12:52 p.m.