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Radiation scare sparks hazmat response at Seattle Goodwill warehouse

KOMO News file photo

SEATTLE - A hazardous materials team is responding after a radioactive material was found inside the Goodwill warehouse in Seattle. Officials later said there does not appear to be any risk to the public.

Emergency officials said the hazardous material was determined to be radium 226, which is considered dangerous mostly when it is ingested or inhaled. However, Seattle Goodwill spokeswoman Katherine Boury said the amount found was very low in radiation.

Firefighters at the scene said the item is metal - possibly a dial - contaminated with radium, and it is inside a metal container.

The contaminated metal was dropped off at the Goodwill as a donation, and the radioactivity was discovered when a scrap metal recycler came to pick it up. The recycler, like all others, scans metal for radiation before it is picked up and processed.

The item was later taken outside the building in an area separate from the general public. The hazmat team is waiting for a truck to dump the metal of the container so that it can be isolated.

A Seattle Fire Department spokesperson says radium 226 actually is very common in old household items, such as old Fiestaware and clocks from the 1950s and 1960s, and presents no risk to the general public.

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This is a developing news story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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