Radioactive materials found at Bay Area home of scientist who recently died

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Radioactive materials were being hauled away from the Bay Area home of a recently deceased Stanford scientist, officials said Friday morning.

Officials from the California Department of Public Health were at the home in the 1000 block of Cedar Street in San Carlos, a city of 30,000 people on the San Francisco Peninsula, a day after the scientist’s family called San Mateo County Environmental Health officials with their radioactive find. The San Jose Mercury News first reported the story Thursday.

Neighboring Redwood City Fire Department and the city of San Carlos were alerted Thursday to the materials stowed in the backyard. The scientist died earlier this year, according to news accounts. He worked for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park. The site is one of 17 Department of Energy national laboratories, and is operated by Stanford University, San Carlos Assistant City Manager Tara Peterson told the Sacramento Bee on Friday.

Redwood City Fire Chief Stan Maupin identified the materials as cobalt 57 and radium 286, according to the Mercury News, saying firefighters were “100% confident” that the materials were contained to the shed and posed no danger.

However, Peterson said Friday the materials “were too high a level” of radioactivity for local crews to handle, prompting the call to state health officials.

The materials are stowed in approximately six containers in a backyard shed at the home, Peterson said. It was unclear Friday how the materials ended up at the home or how long they had been stored.