On September 13, 1987, the radiological accident in Goiânia began, known as the Cesium-137 accident, a serious episode of radioactivity contamination in Brazil. The accident started when scrap metal collectors discovered a radiotherapy device containing Cesium-137, which they mistakenly believed to be scrap.

Goiânia's radioactive accident with Cesium-137
Cesium-137 accident killed four people in Goiânia in 1987 — Photo: Luiz Novaes/Folhapress

They opened the capsule containing the radioactive material, disassembled the device, and distributed it to others, causing contamination that affected hundreds of people. Symptoms after exposure to cesium included nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. In total, 112,800 people were exposed to radiation, resulting in four deaths.

Many of the affected individuals continue to suffer the effects of radiation and require medical care to this day.

Brazilian History
Matheus Araújo
Founder and Editor at Brazilian History | Website

Matheus is an entrepreneur at Araujo Media, where he serves as CEO and Creative Director. He shares analyses on his personal blog "matheusaraujo.me" and is currently pursuing a degree in Advertising and Propaganda. Moreover, he has a passion for history, particularly that of Brazil, which led him to become the founder and editor of the Brazilian History portal.