Drexel University Building Still Contaminated with Radium

Years after a major radium spill, the Drexel Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology Building “eventually will need to be cleaned up.”

Ex-City Paper editor in chief Theresa Everline has a piece in the new issue of The Magazine (which, if you hadn’t been able to guess, is a tablet magazine with a web presence). The article’s a look at cleaning up radioactive contamination in the area, specifically the radium cleanup duties of Frank Hartman (in the early 20th c.) and the current cleanup crews in Pennsylvania.

In it, Everline tells the story of Hartman cleaning up the American Oncological Hospital at 33rd Street and Powelton Avenue. Turns out the hospital left a radium spill to sit there for five months.

Hartman eventually cleaned up the spill, which he told the Evening Bulletin was “the worst thing that could have happened next to an atomic bomb explosion.” But the building persists. And, as the director of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Radiation Protection says, “There’s still some residual contamination that eventually will need to be cleaned up.”

Anyway, the building is still in use, and is now the Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology Building of Drexel University. Enjoy this knowledge, Drexel students and staff!

[The Magazine]

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