News 12/Newsday report: Radioactive materials handled in Bethpage

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BETHPAGE -

A nine-page document shows that radioactive material was handled at the former Grumman site in Bethpage.

The revelation comes after the release of a document by Northrop Grumman to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The report states Grumman handled radium and other radioactive isotopes in Plant 26 of the facility.

The elements have been linked to breast, bone and liver cancer. The document was not made public -- until Newsday obtained it by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to Newsday, the DEC ordered Northrop Grumman to provide a detailed report about the use of radioactive materials at the site after the Bethpage Water District said it believed levels of radium in a well were exceeding drinking water standards. Concerns about contamination have many Bethpage residents like John Walsh drinking bottled water instead of tap water.

"Because we have an idea that there is something wrong with the water, that there are toxins in the groundwater," he says.

The Northrop Grumman report says there was no evidence that radioactive material used at the facility would be contributing to radium detections. But some environmentalists say the report warrants further investigation.

"Grumman has always said that they were not the source of radium and we really need to question this," says Maureen Dolan Murphy, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "This has been a cover-up and we should be investigating this."

"We are calling on New York state to launch a full-scale investigation into where is the source of the contamination and how far it's spread," she adds.

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino is calling on Grumman and the Navy to pay for the cleanup of all the contaminants.

"This report is another smoking gun in a long list that proves that Grumman and the United States Navy are responsible," Saladino says.

Davis says the health of thousands of Bethpage residents depends on it.

"We need to do something about it immediately," says Davis.

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