Radioactive Road in Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The Ministry of Health ordered medical examinations for some 25,000 people feared to have been exposed to radiation from a contaminated road. The chief radiation protection officer in this east African state said that exposure to radioactivity in the road will result in health problems in later years. A compound of radioactive thorium was used in constructing the Mwangwei-Jengo road. It was obtained from an undisclosed source.

Officials also dispatched radiation experts to Mrima Hill to test for elevated levels of radioactivity in that area. Thorium-230 has a radioactive half-life of 75,400 years; thorium-232, 14 billion years.

* -- The Nation, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 31, 1999.