PACHUCA, Mexico – Federal police blocked access Friday to a central Mexico hospital where six people were reported to have been admitted with radiation exposure.
An official familiar with the case confirmed Mexican media reports that the six have been admitted to the general hospital in the city of Pachuca and may have been exposed to a stolen source of cobalt-60.
The official, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media, said only one person was dizzy and vomiting, which are symptoms of radiation poisoning.
The atomic energy agency said the cobalt has an activity of 3,000 curries, or Category 1, meaning “it would probably be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period in the range of a few minutes to an hour.”
The missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday about 40 kilometres (24 miles) from where it had been stolen early Monday.
A cargo truck hauling the cobalt-60 was taken from a gas station in the central state of Hidalgo, where Pachuca is located. The material had been removed from obsolete radiation therapy equipment at a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana and was being transported to nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City