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Radioactive material found in Glencoe no threat

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Staff Writer

Arkansas Department of Health spokeswomen Ann Wright said low grade radioactive material was discovered March 24 at Stiles Recycling Center, five miles east of Salem.

"A small amount of radioactive material was mistakenly delivered to Stiles Recycling. The material never posed a threat to public health or safety," she said.

Wright said W.E. Stiles, the owner of Stiles Recycling, bought a load of scrap metal in Independence County. She said Stiles was mistakenly given a load of scrap metal containing pipe-scale deposits.

Radium, a radioactive substance, is found in pipe-scale deposits.

The load was taken to Stiles Recycling and re-sold to Metro-Scrap in Little Rock, Wright said.

When the material arrived in Little Rock, inspectors at Metro-Scrap noticed the pipe-scale deposits and refused to accept the load, and it was taken back to Stiles Recycling, she said.

Wright said Stiles called the dealer in Independence County, which came and picked up the radioactive scrap metal.

She said agents from the Arkansas Department of Health inspected Stiles Recycling and the surrounding area. Wright said no traces of radioactive elements were found on the property and Stiles Recycling is in full compliance with all safety codes.

"This seems to be an innocent mistake," she said.

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