By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
LENEXA, KS (KCTV) -
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment as well as police and fire crews were on hand as chemicals were removed from a commercial lab business Friday afternoon.
Miranda Steele with the KDHE would only say that a pharmaceutical lab's license was revoked for numerous previous infractions
It is located in the area of West 100th Street and Fairlane Road, just off of Interstate 35.
She said KDHE let local law enforcement and fire officials know about the action because they were expecting to find dangerous chemicals inside.
The Overland Park Bomb Squad and hazmat crews were trying to determine if there was any radioactive or unstable material inside. Crews found very low levels of radiation inside Beta Chem Lab, a pharmaceutical research and development lab. KDHE said they also found a few chemicals inside, but nothing they deemed dangerous.
Ahmed El-Sherif, the owner of Beta Chem, spoke over the phone. He said he used the carbon-14 isotope for his research, which required a radioactive materials license from KDHE.
KDHE records say that license was suspended in 2005, and there were several safety violations over the next several years. El-Sherif said he'd gone back and forth with the KDHE about the safety and cleanliness of his lab.
KDHE crews arrived about 10 a.m. Friday to make sure the lab was shut down and to begin cleaning it up. Steele made sure to emphasize that the bomb and hazmat crews were purely precautionary and there wasn't an emergency.
"It's not often we have to seize a business like this, and we just wanted to make sure nothing would happen that would cause a threat to public safety," she said.
While KDHE officials worked to clear out the commercial lab, Steele said about 10 businesses in the nearby vicinity were notified about the action Friday morning and they were evacuated for safety. Shortly after 4 p.m. crews gave the all clear and people were allowed to return to the nearby businesses.
Click here to read the order issued for the Lenexa business.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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