Five Mexican states issue alerts over missing truck containing radioactive iridium-192

The material could cause 'permanent or serious injury to a person who is in contact with it for a short time'

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Five Mexican states are on alert after a truck carrying a container of potentially dangerous radioactive material was stolen, the Interior Ministry has said.

The National Co-ordination of Civil Protection issued the warning after a vehicle carrying radioactive iridium-192 was reported stolen from a company in the central state of Queretaro, AFP reports.

The radioactive material is understood to be contained in a device used for industrial radiography, according to CNN.

It is not known if the material was the target of the theft.

In a public statement about the theft, the ministry said such material “can be dangerous for people if not handled safely” and could cause “permanent or serious injury to a person who is handling or in contact with it for a short time.”

Officials said the radioactive material could pose a significant health risk if taken outside its container.

The truck and the radioactive material belonged to the company Industrial Maintenance Centre, which is located in the city of San Juan del Rio.

As well as Queretaro, the states of Hidalgo, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi and Michoacan were also put on alert.

Iridium-192 can cause burns, radiation sickness and permanent injury if a person comes on contact with it, while exposure over hours or days could prove fatal.

Authorities have urged anyone who comes across the radioactive material to notify officials immediately and maintain a 30-metre perimeter around it.

Theft of radioactive material is reportedly common in Mexico, with this incident being the fourth theft of its kind since 2013, according to CBS News.

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