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State: Plutonium Levels Near Rocky Flats 5 Times Higher Than Health Standard

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - New information details how much pluntonium scientists found in a dirt sample from Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sent a letter to community on Tuesday which lives near the controversial Jefferson Parkway; a future four-lane tollway.

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(credit: CBS)

Health experts say one soil sample, taken from Indiana Street between 96th and 120th Avenues, was measured to have 264 pCi/g (picocuries per gram) of plutonium. The acceptable standard for the cleanup after the plant closed is 50 picocuries per gram.

jefferson parkway plutonium map
(credit: Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority)

State experts say they do not believe there is a threat to public health.

Another portion analyzed from the same soil sample measured 1.5 pCi/g of plutonium. Experts say more sampling and testing are needed to determine what this means for long-term risks.

The concern moving forward is many more contaminated particles exist along Indiana Street and could become airborne during construction of the toll road.

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"The department sent the Parkway Authority a guidance letter on regulatory requirements, precautions, and 'best practices' should the construction of the Parkway commence... It advises the Parkway to monitor for plutonium in the air and use techniques to minimize fugitive dust from construction," CDPHE said in the letter to the community.

Concerned Coloradans can call the state's toxicology hotline with specific questions. They also have website for ongoing updates.

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