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Nuclear Accident Of Goiania, Brazil

Nuclear Accident Of Goiania, Brazil

Radioactive contamination in Goiania was a case of radioactive infection that occurred in the Brazilian city of Goiania on September 13, 1987. The result of the Goiania nuclear disaster was the rapid death of four people and the chronic radiation sickness of several others. .

In 1987, a part of a radiotherapy unit containing a cesium-137 radioactive isotope in the form of cesium chloride was stolen from a hospital abandoned by marauders, after which it was discarded.

After a while, the piece was found in a landfill and attracted the attention of the landfill owner, Devara Ferreira, who then brought the medical source of radiation to his home and invited neighbors, family and friends to look at the dust that shone with blue light. Small fragments of the source were collected, rubbed with their skin, transferred to other people as gifts and, as a result, the spread of radioactive contamination began. For more than two weeks, more and more people came into contact with the cesium chloride powder, and none of them knew about the danger associated with it.

As a result of the wide distribution of highly radioactive dust and its active contact with various objects, a large amount of radiation-contaminated material accumulated, which was subsequently buried in the mountainous territory of one of the outskirts of the city, in the so-called storage near the surface. This territory can be reused only after 300 years.

The accident in Goiania attracted international attention. Before the 1987 accident, the rules regulating the control of the spread and movement of radioactive substances used in medicine and industry throughout the world were relatively weak. But after the incident in Goiania, the attitude towards these problems was thoroughly reviewed. Subsequently, the revised and amended standards and concepts began to be actually implemented at the household level, and stricter control was established for their observance. The IAEA has introduced strict safety standards for radioactive sources, the development of which was jointly sponsored by several international organizations. Brazil has licensing requirements today each source, which allows you to track its life cycle, until the final burial.

The victims of the Goiania nuclear accident

The deceased:

  • Leid das Neves Ferreira (port. Leide das Neves), at the age of 6, was the daughter of Ivo Ferreira (brother of the landfill owner). Initially, when an international team arrived to treat her, she was placed in an isolated room of the hospital, since the staff of the institution was afraid of being close to her. Gradually he developed edema in the upper body, hair loss, damage to the kidneys and lungs, as well as internal bleeding. She died on October 23, 1987 of sepsis and general infection at the Marsiliu Díaz Naval Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, becoming a victim of contamination. It was buried in a public cemetery in a special coffin made of fiberglass, designed to prevent the spread of radiation.
  • Gabriela Maria Ferreira (Maria Gabriela das Graças Ferreira), 38, wife of the landfill owner, Devara Ferreira, became ill about three days after the first contact with the substance. His condition worsened and he developed an internal hemorrhage, especially in the extremities, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, suffered hair loss. She died on October 23, 1987, about a month after contact.
  • Israel Batista dos Santos, at the age of 22, was a worker hired at Devara Ferreira and the first to work with a radioactive source to obtain the content. He developed severe respiratory and pulmonary complications, was finally sent to a hospital and died six days later, on October 27, 1987.
  • Edmilson Alvez de Souza, at the age of 18, also worked at Devar Ferreira and worked with a radioactive source. He developed lung damage, internal bleeding and heart damage, but died on October 18, 1987.

Several dozen people after the events were cured. At least two journalists were considered indirect victims of the tragedy:

  • Devar Alves Ferreira, whose curiosity led to the tragedy, received a radiation dose of 7 Gray, as a result of which his hair fell completely and several organs were affected. He was not convicted, but considered the main culprit, fell into alcoholism, which further weakened his body and died of cancer in 1994.
  • Ivo Ferreira, father of the deceased girl Leida, also received a strong infection. Soon after, he became a great smoker, as a result of which he died of pulmonary emphysema in 2003.
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Last review: January 26, 2020