A device containing radioactive material has gone missing in the Houston area, and authorities said Saturday they want to find it before it hurts someone.
The X-ray camera contains radioactive material that is “covered in multiple layers of protection” so it is unlikely to pose a serious threat unless it is completely disassembled, state health officials said.
“It has a radioactive label on the side, but if someone gets into the part of the capsule that has the radioactive material in it, it’s as dangerous as losing fingers,” Texas Department of Defense spokeswoman Lara Anton said. Public health services.
He added: “Our goal is for people to let us know if they see it so we can get it.”
A type of portable X-ray machine for viewing hidden structures is a common device in the construction and oil industries. He disappeared Thursday from a truck parked at a restaurant where workers had gone to get lunch, Anton said.
A search for radioactive sources within a 5-mile radius of the restaurant, north of the city line, has been unsuccessful, he said.
“Obviously we contacted the pawn shops because when this happens and someone tries to pawn it, the pawn shops look for it and look for it — and scrap metal,” Anton said.
The 53-pound device belongs to a state maintenance company, the department said in a statement.
The Department of Health previously described a similar device as safe. “The entire chamber is housed in a locked half-inch steel case with radiation signatures. The level of radiation outside the chamber itself is not dangerous,” it said in 2020.
In the spring of that year, NBC affiliate KXAN in San Antonio reported that an X-ray camera in a contractor’s pickup truck washed away by floodwaters was found intact in the Stonewall community, health officials said at the time.
Health experts believed that the radiation had not spread.
A small, highly radioactive capsule that fell off a truck in the Australian outback in February was found on the side of the road after authorities scanned an area nearly as large as California.