TREASURE ISLAND (CBS SF) — People living on Treasure Island will soon find out for sure if it is safe to stay there.
“I absolutely, unequivocally do not believe it’s safe.” Kathryn Lundgren, a former resident of told KPIX 5’s Mark Kelly.
For years, many people living on the former naval station have been concerned the ground beneath their feet is radioactive and dangerous. A final test slated for this summer doesn’t make some residents feel any more at ease.
On the surface, Treasure Island is paradise. But, people who call the island home say, scratch the surface and it’s anything but.
Lundgren lived here a decade and said the side effects from radiation are one reason she moved off the island.
“Hair loss, rashes, cancer heart failure,” were some of the concerns, said Lundgren.
The Navy is behind this summer’s radiation check-up and insists radiation levels pose no threat to public health. In fact, the plan is turn the island over to private developers to build a residential complex over the next 15 years.
“It’s going to be one of the premiere addresses in San Francisco,” said Bob Beck, Director of the Treasure Island Development Authority.
Beck explained that before new buildings go up, the island must be declared safe from radiation.
Streets and grass have been tested, and stamped safe. But, when higher than expected radiation levels turned up in an abandoned structure on the island last year, the navy decided additional testing on homes would be prudent.
“If it’s something that needs to be investigated further, we can potentially relocate the residents permanently or temporarily to other units on the island,” said Beck.
“We believe there’s no public health hazard,” said Laura Duchnak, Director of the Navy Base Realignment Closure Program. “We want the additional information so we have the complete history and data on the island.”
Meantime, Lundgren has already moved. She said she’d love to live on the island again, but she doesn’t trust officials who insist her island home is safe.
Does she think they are being misleading?
“I know they are,” said Lundgren.
The testing for radiation starts in mid-June and is expected to take three months.