Feds Kept Radiological Contamination in Seattle Park Secret from Public
Magnuson Park in Seattle, Washington is famed for its beautiful shoreline and acres of recreational area. But it’s also home to a not insignificant level of radiological contamination. The federal government’s known about it since 2009, according to local reports. But they didn’t publicly announce the problem, leaving residents to walk near the area for years. Officials from the parks department, the Navy, and the state Department of Ecology said that they didn’t warn the public because the area had been fenced-off, and anyone outside the fence would be safe. But the Navy has already slated a $9 million cleanup operation it labels “time-critical” for an area near a well-traveled local gym that borders the radiological zone.
“I understand why some residents may be confused by the time-critical removal action,” said Navy spokesman Sean Hughes, “but there is no danger to the public.”
The radiation is an aftereffect of glow-in-the-dark paint used for aircraft parts during World War II.
Rep. Gerry Pollett (D-Seattle) led a shouting match at a public hearing on Wednesday over the cleanup plan, which he said would leave 8 out of every 10,000 people exposed to cancer. “I’m shocked that you think that that’s an OK level of radiation to leave in a public park,” he said.
The public originally found out about the radiological problem after an employee of the parks department stumbled on a blueprint labeling a room as “Radium Room.” The city then let the Navy and the local gym know, but not the public. A test of the radiation was done in 2010, and the Navy finished a report in 2011. Again, the public was not notified.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).