Australia issues a serious health advisory
Australia issues a serious health advisory

Canberra: Authorities in Western Australia (WA) issued an emergency health alert on Friday, warning that a "fair" amount of radiation is being released from a capsule that has been lost in the area.

WA's Chief Health Officer, Andy Robertson, urged people to stay away from the object if they found it.

"As a source, it emits both beta rays and gamma rays. So if you have exposure or have it near you, you could end up with skin damage to either, including skin burns." ,” Robertson said, adding that “one of the long-term risks from exposure to such a source is cancer.”

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The capsule in question is a tiny object that is less than the size of an Australian ten-cent coin, six millimeters long and eight millimeters high. It is believed to have fallen from a truck that was traveling on a highway between a mine near the town of Newman and a depot in Perth, Western Australia, a city in the south-west of the region.

The capsule, which reportedly went missing on January 10, emits enough radiation in an hour to be equivalent to ten X-rays within a radius of one metre. This roughly represents the annual exposure to natural radiation for a person.

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The capsule may have become embedded in a tread, so officials are advising all drivers who used the highway after Jan. 10 to check their tires. According to Australia's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), the item cannot be a weapon, but they advised people to stay at least five meters away from anything resembling a capsule and to call them immediately.

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DFES Country North Chief Superintendent David Gill said on Friday that "the capsule remains unearthed," adding that searching for such a small object in an area with a radius of more than 1,400 kilometers presents "challenges."

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