Treasure Island sure is the site of some mysterious goings on lately. And while we aren't quite ready to call in Agents Mulder and Scully, it's getting closer to X Files territory almost every day over there. First it was the Google Barge, then it was the Navy hauling away 16,000 cubic yards of contaminated topsoil.
The latest secret that the island has coughed up? Hundreds of radioactive shards under the ground.
That's according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. Officials with the state's Department of Public Health found the material under public lawns near occupied apartments.
At least one of these shards was found to pose a threat to human health. According to state documents, holding the hottest of the disks in hand for an hour could lead to hair loss, radiation burns, or ulceration. The US Navy, which has been cleaning up the site for the last six years, insists that Treasure Island is safe. But, according to the state investigation, the total radiation exposure rate from all sources on the island was 1,600 rads/hour. By way of comparison, the minimum dose to cause observable changes in human blood is just 25 rads. Although radiation exposure varies, especially if the sources are buried, in layman's terms, this is bad stuff.
The identity of the shards, of which at least 575 have been found, has not been determined. Potential candidates include glow in the dark buttons from the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, markers used on ship decks, or items buried to train Navy personnel to use Geiger counters.
At press time, no connection had been determined between the secret radioactive shards and the secret Google Barge. But if this doesn't feel like the rising action of a monster movie, we don't what does.