‘Hazardous substance’ evacuates South Jersey high school
WESTMONT — Haddon Township High School was evacuated on Friday morning after officials learned of a "hazardous substance" in the building brought in by a student, according to acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer.
The school was evacuated around 11:15 a.m., according to a statement from Superintendent Robert J. Fisicaro. TV helicopter video of the school shows several fire trucks and students standing outside the building as a hazardous material team and firefighters go inside.
In a statement Friday afternoon Mayer said there appears to be no danger to the public as a result and all agencies had left from school grounds.
Fisicaro said that the school was on a hybrid schedule on Friday with less than half the students in school. By early afternoon classes were dismissed for the day.
Neither Mayer nor Fisicaro identified the substance. The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill reported that the substance was uranium.
The substance was found by a teacher, a spokeswoman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office told New Jersey 101. She would not identify the substance or disclose how much of it was present, why and how was it brought to school and if anyone was exposed or injured.
According to the CDC, uranium is not as dangerous as exposure to other radioactive elements because the skin will block the alpha particles. Ingestion of high concentrations of uranium, however, can cause severe health effects, such as cancer of the bone or liver.
It is also legal to purchase small amounts of natural uranium.