Mexican authorities have issued an alert for five states over the theft of a container of hazardous radioactive material used for industrial inspection in the country's southeast.

The container was reported stolen from a truck in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco on April 13, the Interior Department said late Wednesday.

It said the Iridium 192 could be dangerous if removed from its container, with short-term contact possibly causing permanent lesions and longer-term exposure potentially fatal.

There were at least three thefts of radioactive material in Mexico in 2014, though there was no indication thieves in any of those cases had specifically targeted the radioactive substances.

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