• Toxic waste labelled drum left in children's play area
    The drum was labelled as hazardous

Soil Remediation

Toxic waste labelled drum left in children's play area

Jan 22 2013

A drum which was thought to contain toxic waste was left in a children's play area in Hamilton, Scotland.

A concerned parent informed the environmental authorities after they saw a small container marked as holding radioactive material in Chatelherault country park in the South Lanarkshire town.

The drum, which was five inches in diameter, had radioactive material written on its side.

Immediately the park was shut to visitors, with concerns that the hazardous waste could have serious health implcations for children and adults should they come into contact with it.


Officials from the environmental protection agency took the drum away for testing, where they scanned the black drum for alpha, beta and gamma particles, the Scotsman reports.

Both a scientific advisor and hazardous material (hazmat) officer checked the drum thoroughly to ensure that it contained no toxic waste.

As no harmful waste could be found in the drum, the park was re-opened and the children were once again allowed to play in the area.

Although nothing was found, the risks could have been severe if the drum was to contain toxic waste.

Indeed, radiation from alpha and beta particles are known to cause cancer, or significantly increase the risk of getting the disease.

It is unknown why the labelled drum was put in the children's park, and ongoing investigations are currently underway.

Environmental protection agency officials have taken this as an opportunity to remind the public to err on the side of caution when it comes to toxic waste.

Indeed, a spokesman for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service also enforced the message of safety to the general public.

“Fire Service personnel have specialist training and equipment to handle potentially hazardous materials in the proper way. On no account should a member of the public ever touch or remove something they believe could contain a dangerous substance.

“Even if it turns out to be harmless, it is always sensible to be cautious and call out the police or Fire Service,” he advised.


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