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Are tritium Vials really safe to carry?

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by earthman, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Anyone know of any real case studies? I'm thinking over years, having such an item on your keys/in your pocket 24/7, surely it's a bit risky??



     
  2. paaiyan

    paaiyan Loaded Pockets

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  3. Daz

    Daz Loaded Pockets

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    I think the major risk with tritium vials is them cracking and being inhaled, which is mitigated if you put them in an additional container, like the DIY kits that TEC sells to make smaller vials compatible with the older glow fob housings. I don't think they pose a risk any more than normal daily living does otherwise, given they're fairly weak emitters of beta radiation, which on the whole isn't skin penetrating. I guess if you put one inside your mouth for long enough, it might be different.
     
  4. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    To take the very low dose you would have to break the vial through a fob or epoxy container, have it travel through clothing, and then have it penetrate your skin cells. I really doubt even inhaling a single vial would do much damage, especially not irreparable.

    The sun blasts us with UV rays, we use microwaves devices, and carry lithium powered devices transmitting satellite waves. Many of the things we handle have heavy metals or poison in them.

    I can't link it but Google, "radiation dosage chart". The link is on the site "information is beautiful".
     
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  5. shmook

    shmook Loaded Pockets

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    I bet your mobile phone in your pocket will be far worse on your nethers...

    If it doesn't nuke them, have you ever sat down too quickly and squashed one against said phone?

    :p
     
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  6. bjornkeizers

    bjornkeizers Loaded Pockets

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    Tritium in tubes is VERY safe. This actually gets discussed rather frequently on watch forums where people collect vintage watches that included radium paint - that's mostly where the safety concerns come from. Radium paint could flake and be inhaled by watch makers. It also caused discolouration on dials, so people were reasonably scared tf its effects.

    Now, the tritium in markers is a gas - not a solid. So inhaling it would be a bit more difficult since it's such a small amount and disappears rather quickly. Again, it's encased in a glass vial, which is encased in plastic. Both stop the radiation just fine. Of course a geiger counter will still pick something up, because they are designed to be a very sensitive instrument.

    All in all, if you've had a dental X-ray the past few years, I'd worry more about that then carrying a marker for longer periods.

    EDIT: If you are really worried about it, they also make markers with glow paint though. Not radioactive at all, but you do need to charge it with a light source.
     
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  7. thekapow

    thekapow EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    EPA:
     
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  8. sbillard

    sbillard Loaded Pockets

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    I detect more radioactivity from Lo-Salt (diet salt with potassium chloride). i don't detect anything above background from my tritium items (Traser P5900 watch and Traser keychain).

    If the vial breaks, as the gas is chemically like hydrogene it will fly in the direction of space very quickly, like a ballon. You may catch very slight amounts in the lungs , but biological half-life is very short (a week), and radiations are week. So nothing significative. If a such event occurs, if you are paranoid (or thirsty) you can drink bear to eliminate the tritium (because soluble in water) and do some exercise to sweat :)
     
  9. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Yes, I don't doubt that for a second, I'd guess that most people would not want to stop carrying/using a mobile phone so you kind of accept the risk I guess. I know that we are all exposed to a certain amount of radiation every day,........if carrying/wearing a tritium vial as well, increases the risk of developing cancer in X amount years, are you still prepared to carry it?
     
  10. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    First of all, it doesn't. So attributing a peril to something incapable of producing results (unless ideal circumstances and massive quantity/frequency) shouldn't produce a valid fear. I'm afraid of spiders though so can't fault anyone for this ;).

    Second, living one's life by a game of probability wouldn't allow you to get out of the house much. There are activities we perform every day that statistically are mass murderers like driving cars, using stairs, swimming in pools, and chewing food.

    Anyone who gets cancer who happens to carry a marker can't pinpoint it as the cause. On that level it could have been the Sweet N Low packets, Diet Coke, or the fact that sometimes bad things happen to good people regardless of their actions.

    A quick look at a radiation chart will show people are extremely resilient to relatively high levels, far greater than a single marker vial that's sealed or broken.
     
    Last edited by Blerv, Jan 17, 2014
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  11. FenixArcher

    FenixArcher EDC Junkie!!!

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    It's about as safe as carrying pocket change.
    If you eat pocket change, you'll prolly get sick (dirty stuff).
    If you eat the tritium, you'll prolly get sick.

    But I have no intention of eating neither. The danger of tritium is so low that it's safer than most stuff we encounter everyday.
     
  12. shmook

    shmook Loaded Pockets

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    I wear tinfoil underpants.
     
  13. Shreknow91

    Shreknow91 Loaded Pockets

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    I've carried a tritium vial in a glass tube, in plastic in a titanium cool looking thingy for the better part of 5 years, and I haven't felt any ill effects... its varied from being on my keys to being a necklace...
     
  14. RBid

    RBid Loaded Pockets

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    No!

    They are not safe! I can't make babies anymore! Oh, sure, the doctors blame the vasectomy. Me? I blame the night sights on my carry weapon!

    Sent from my ME302C using Tapatalk 4
     
  15. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Not being funny but where is your proof? Admittedly I don't have proof to say that they can cause cancer, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out, after all, other 'rays' that are emitted from the sun for example and other 'devices' are known to be dangerous to the skin/human body.

    I guess that there would have to be several long term studies to know for sure, until then I think that I'll keep mine on the zipper of a rucksack etc rather than close to my skin 24/7, it's just not worth the risk in my opinion.

    I don't know much about geiger counters but the readings those guys were getting must be of some concern no? Well especially if the vial is close to the skin 24/7 year in year out.
     
  16. bleh

    bleh Loaded Pockets

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  17. bleh

    bleh Loaded Pockets

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    also from xkcd:
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    The second video you listed showed a reading of about .4 usv per hour. The radiation chart (informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/radiation-dosage-chart/) I mentioned previously lists the average person's daily dose at 10 usv (varies quite a bit). A chest x-ray is 100 usv which is also the reading after a 3,000 usv dose at Fukushima after about 3 months. The maximum dose for US Radiation workers is 50,000 usv. and the lowest annual dose where an increased risk of cancer becomes evident is 100,000 usv.

    I stole this from Wikipedia's page on Acute Radiation Syndrome. The incidents in question were mainly due to radioactive experimentation, plant failures, and assassinations.

    "The American ORISE REAC/TS and the European IRSN ACCIRAD, REAC/TS shows 417 accidents occuring between 1944 and 2000, causing about 3000 cases of acute radiation syndrom, of which 127 were fatal."

    Believe what you want to believe. If it's real to you and causes any stress that's a far more likely killer than a keychain fob enclosed in plastic to prevent inhalation or absorption.

    For me, I think it's another bogus fear. More likely I'll die from heart disease or an idiot driver texting on the highway. If I start showing signs of radiation poisoning (which are very apparent) I'll put the fob aside. The chance of recovery would be extremely likely.
     
  19. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Thanks for posting that chart,.....makes interesting reading.:)