Exclusive on Stuart Smith’s blog (8-24) –
A veteran radiation expert says Louisiana environmental officials are “in denial” over the hazard posed by elevated radium levels discovered in the slurry liquids of the massive sinkhole that has forced out residents of the rural town of Bayou Corne.
Stanley Waligora — a New Mexico-based radiation protection consultant and leading authority on the health risks of naturally occurring radioactive material, or NORM — confirmed earlier reports that radium levels at the site about 70 miles west of New Orleans are not within limits but roughly 15 times higher than the acceptable level set by the state.
Waligora said officials with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality need to launch immediate additional testing to ensure that the hazardous radium is not leaking into nearby groundwater and posing a threat to human health as well as livestock. . . .