A recent article from azcentral.com states that for almost two decades, tourists, employees, and children on tours at the Grand Canyon have passed by three paint buckets stored in the National Park's museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation.
The article further states, that although federal officials learned last year that the 5-gallon containers were brimming with uranium ore, then removed the radioactive specimens, the park's safety director alleges nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.
In a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on February 4, “Swede” Stephenson – the safety, health and wellness manager – described the alleged cover-up as “a top management failure” and warned of possible health consequences.
“If you were in the Museum Collections Building (2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were ‘exposed’ to uranium by OSHA’s definition,” Stephenson wrote.
"Respectfully, it was not only immoral not to let Our People know," he added, "but I could no longer risk my (health and safety) certification by letting this go any longer."
According to Stephenson, the uranium specimens had been in a basement at park headquarters for decades and were moved to the museum building when it opened, around 2000.
Emily Davis, a public affairs specialist at the Grand Canyon, said the Park Service is coordinating an investigation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Arizona Department of Health Services.
"There is no current risk to the park employees or public," Davis said. "The building is open...The information I have is that the rocks were removed, and there's no danger."
Davis declined to address Stephenson's assertion that thousands of people may have been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, or his allegation that the Park Service violated the law by not issuing a public warning.
"We do take our public and employee safety and allegations seriously," she said.
To read this article in its entirety, please visit AZ Central: Grand Canyon Tourists Exposed For Years to Radiation In Museum Safety Manager Says
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