For 18 years, three buckets of uranium have been sitting around in the museum in Grand Canyon National Park. Multiple children have sat next to them for over 30 minutes while on tours. This revelation comes courtesy of an Arizona Republic report that was created after the paper was approached by Elston Stephenson, the park’s safety, health, and wellness manager.
In February of this year, Stephenson informed National Park Service employees that if they had gone into the museum collections building between 2000 and June 2018, they would have been exposed to uranium, according to OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) definition.
The uranium was discovered because a Park Service employee’s son brought a Geiger counter to the museum and detected radiation in the collection room. Prior to being moved to the museum, the buckets had been in a basement for decades.
Stephenson says the park did nothing to warn employees or tourists that they may have been exposed to uranium at unsafe levels, despite a Right to Know law that requires disclosure. He approached the newspaper to get the word out after his efforts to get the Park Service to warn the public were fruitless.
Emily Davis, the Grand Canyon National Park public affairs officer, said that the Park Service is working with OSHA to coordinate an investigation.