Bhabha Atomic Research Institute (BARC) officials on Sunday ruled out any possible health hazard due to exposure following seizure of an empty container of radioactive thorium nitrate from a grocery shop in Malad on Thursday.
But the incident has once again raised concerns about the improper disposal of material associated with radioactive substances.
"No residue of thorium or any radioactive substance has been found in the container or in the shop. This container should have been repainted and only then given out for re-usage, as the material in it was highly radioactive," BARC spokesperson RK Sharma said on Sunday.
In April, a scrap dealer in Delhi died after he and several others were exposed to Cobalt 60 in the Mayapuri scrap market.
In Malad, the red metal container, with a trefoil (yellow radiation hazard sign), was being used as a broom holder in Sailesh General Stores.
Local resident Aditya Kshirsagar (22) spotted the container on October 26 and immediately recognised the radiation hazard sign. “The owner told me that a scrap dealer had sold him the container some days ago,” said Kshirsagar.
When Kshirsagar informed the shop owner what the sign stood for, the owner simply took his brooms out of the container and threw it.
Next day Kshirsagar brought the container and kept it in an isolated room. "I then called the BARC on the number given on its website but got no response. Finally, I got through on Thursday and a team came for the container," he added.
"Generally people panic when they see the sign but Aditya was vigilant enough to try and contact us and inform us ...," said Sharma.