A device containing radioactive material is missing from the Houston area, and authorities said Saturday they want to find it before someone is hurt.

The X-ray chamber contains radioactive material «sealed within multiple layers of protection» so it is unlikely to pose much of a threat unless it is completely dismantled, state health services officials said.

«It has a radioactive symbol on the side, but if someone were to get into the part of the capsule where the radioactive material is, it’s extremely dangerous, like losing your fingers,» said Lara Anton, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State. State Health Services.

He added: «Our goal is for people to let us know if they see it, so we can get it back.»

An x-ray camera, containing radioactive material sealed under layers of protection, that went missing in Houston.Texas Department of State Health Services

The device, a kind of portable X-ray machine used to see hidden structures, is common in the construction and oil industries. He disappeared Thursday from a truck parked at a restaurant where workers went to buy lunch, Anton said.

A search for radioactive sources within a 5-mile radius of the restaurant, just north of the town line, was unsuccessful, he said.

«Obviously, we’ve already contacted the pawnshops, because when it happens and someone tries to pawn it, the pawnshops are on the lookout, and the junkyards,» Anton said.

The 53-pound device belongs to Statewide Maintenance Company, according to a statement from the department.

In the past, the Department of Health Services has described a similar device as safe if left undisturbed. «The entire chamber is stored in a closed, half-inch-thick steel box with radiation markings. The radiation levels outside the chamber, itself, are not dangerous,» he said in 2020.

In the spring of that year, an intact X-ray camera was found in the Stonewall community after it was washed away by floodwaters aboard a contractor’s truck, health services officials said at the time, according to the NBC affiliate. KXAN san antonio

Health experts believed that no radiation had been released.

In February, a small, highly radioactive capsule that fell from a truck in the Australian outback was found on the side of a road after authorities scanned an area nearly the size of California.

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