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Small Radioactive Object Discovered At Controversial Hunters Point Development

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The discovery of a small radioactive naval deck marker in the soil at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard has further inflamed debate over the safety of the redevelopment project.

The state health department revealed the discovery of the object -- a radium deck marker about the size of a silver dollar, 1½ inches across -- in a filing last week.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that it was unearthed "on a grassy slope beneath a stretch of newly built condos, less than a foot below ground."

The conversion of the former shipyard and 500-acre Superfund waste site into a residential neighborhood by developer Lennar Corp. has been the met with opposition from groups claiming the area has not been cleaned up enough to allow homes to be built.

Residents already living near the former shipyard claim toxic waste is making them sick with asthma and cancer. Among the residents fearing the health impact of the site is Victoria Seray Ellington.

"We don't have a plan right now," she said of relocating out of the area. "As a parent or a future parent, you feel out of control of the situation because you want the best for your child and he's not even here yet and already I feel we have done him a disservice."

Ellington is part of a group suing Tetra Tech -- the Navy's main cleanup contractor -- over the health threats from the shipyard.

The California Department of Public Health currently is scanning the area for radioactivity after revelations that Tetra Tech employees faked radiation measurements in other parts of the shipyard. They told KPIX 5 that the scanning is about 90 percent complete.


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