Human Stupidity: Go Atomic! A Case of Radiation Poisoning

by Ross Weaver

Dredging out a case illustraiting the terrifying lethality of common human stupidity (in league with caesium 137 particles) I humbly present the story of GoiĆ¢nia Brazil.

In 1987 scavengers picking over the remnants of a derelict hospital uncovered a wondrous treasure in the form of an abandoned radiation therapy equipment. In their haste to fence their find they saved themselves leaving the local scrap merchant the honor of prising open the core. Because when you find a piece of scrap metal with a bright luminous glow the obvious course of action is to have it made into jewelry and use the powder within it to anoint children with the sign of the crucifix…

The flabbergasted findings of the IAEA can be found in this report: http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub815_web.pdf