Radioactive lift controls recalled in France

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's atomic safety body said Thursday that radioactive scrap metal which found its way into buttons installed into lifts in France had been traced back to a western Indian foundry.

At least four Indian firms were involved in the manufacture of the components, an official said, but it was still unclear where the contaminated scrap originated.

"We are tracking back the whole chain," Satya Pal Agarwal, head of the radiological safety division of India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, told AFP.

"We are taking steps in each place. Exporters have been advised to buy monitors to check their materials before exporting."

France's Mafelec firm delivered thousands of lift buttons to Otis, a subsidiary of the US elevator company, which installed them in at least 500 lifts in the country over the summer.

Otis has said it is now in the process of removing the buttons, after France's Nuclear Safety Authority announced Tuesday that 20 workers who handled the lift buttons had been exposed to excessive levels of radiation.

The French nuclear safety agency has said the lift buttons contained traces of radioactive Cobalt 60.

AFP article

Steel items imported {into Sweden} from India showing faint traces of radioactivity were found in Sweden, before the same substance was traced on Indian-made lift buttons in France, officials said Wednesday.
The levels of Cobalt 60, a radioactive form of the metal, were considered harmless and the steel components have not been recalled, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) told AFP.
"Dutch customs discovered that a shipment of industrial flanges from India to Sweden showed traces of Cobalt 60," SSM spokesman Mattias Skoeld said.

Focus Agency feed

French elevator maker Otis said it would remove the buttons from hundreds of lifts it has installed after a radioactivity scare over Indian-supplied materials.

The company made the announcement after France's Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said 20 French workers who had handled buttons used in lifts had been exposed to to excessive levels of radiation.

An Otis spokesman said the firm's plan to remove the buttons "concerned 500 to 600 lifts out of the 2,500 that Otis has installed, modernised or repaired between August 21 and October 9 even if there is no danger for users."

The ASN classed the incident at factory of the Mafelec firm in the east-central French town of Chimilin at "Level Two" on a scale of seven because of the exposure of more than 10 people to doses exceeding the reglementary limit.

SA Times article

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DJ Radio8 years ago
I shall pwn all..... This would have made more sense before I changed my username....
Yup :P Radioactive was cooler, or do like what ure faker did, DJ Radioactive, that would be cool
No seriously, I think DJ Radioactive would be a cool name.
DJ Radio is a shortened name of DJ Radioactive. Like Chris is to Christopher.
Yah but it sounds like radio as in broadcasting music radio.
radiation is radiation, whether it be radio signals or light from a light bulb (or heat from a stove) :-)
110100101108 years ago
many years ago here was a batch of ordinary light switches with kinda clusters of transparent dots visible in the white cover plastic. in the dark those dots glowed faintly in green. (not visible unless room is in complete darkness or stimulated with uv)

probably not radioactive and just phosphorescent - but i can imagine some of the reactions to the glowing dots

the batch was made by citor and contained mostly dual switches. they can still be found in some 1983 buildings in israel

i have a 36 W fluorescent fixture with one of the sockets containing similar transparent dots on one half of it. it glows very noticable (way more than the switches). it was made around 1983 too but by ip and not citor

in both the affected parts are made of that white ceramic plastic that stands high temperatures and is hard and easily breakable
If it was made of the same material that was used in the old days to make analog watch face characters and numbers glow then it WAS radioactive. Most of the radiation in this case could not exit through the watch crystal, but the workers that painted them on......many got cancer etc. I remember hearing about it since Hamilton Watch factory is very local.
here are a switch and socket of the same model (but not same batch) and the glowing fluorescent lamp socket (the onwe that actually glows)

none of them is meant to glow. they glow very dim and can be spotted only in complete darkness. there are some push buttons that are made to glow but are made of very greenish plastic and not white and glow brightly (with som uv stimulation they can light an entire room)

they are made of kinda ceramic plastic. its a hard plastic that does not bend (it breaks - see the corners on the fluorescent lamp socket). it stands high temperatures. at very high temperatures it turns into kinda orange ash and smells awfull but does not melt. the glare on its surface resembles glare from handmade frost glass

in the affected batch of switches the glowing dots are grouped in clusters of varying size and are scattered on the entire cover (but not on the buttons) on the surface and into the depth

in the light socket the entire surface of 2 (of the 3) parts glows. some dots glow more intense. they are scattered evenly thru he surface and into the depth but evenly and not in clusters

the front half and the bit that spins glow and the back does not. in the dark photo i helped it with a blue led to make it visible in the camera. actually it glows in deep green and not blueish and it really looks as if the light comes from its surface (some of the dots glow from within the depth of the material) and not from the ambience
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