November 17, 2005
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) officials said late today that two vials of radioactive material missing from a shipment from an Albuquerque company to Kilgore earlier this month still have not been located. They are asking the public's help in finding them.
The two vials of radioactive material were packed in a World War II-era, green, metal, ammunition box.
The vials are labeled “radioactive.” They contain antimony-124, a radioactive material used in the oil and gas industry. The vials were packed inside protective lead shields inside the ammo box. The box was packed inside a radiation-labeled drum. The drum arrived in Kilgore, but the ammo box and vials were missing.
There are no radiation warning labels on the ammo box.
DSHS officials are asking anyone who sees an ammo box in an unusual location to contact local police or fire departments, or call DSHS at 512-458-7460.
“Do not touch the box or the vials, and stay at least 10 feet away from them,” warned Robert Free with the department's radiation control program. He said the items should not pose a threat to the public at large, but emphasized that sustained close exposure would be dangerous.
The Albuquerque company, Pro Technics, is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to recovering the missing items.
DSHS is working with New Mexico and federal authorities in the ongoing investigation.
The shipping route from Albuquerque to Kilgore included stops in Abilene, Austin, Dallas and Tyler.
(News Media: for more information contact Robert Free, DSHS Radiation Control, 512-834-6770; or Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)