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Radioactive materials? Answered

Hi all, i am wondering, are there any common household items that are radioactive? BESIDES SMOKE DETECTORS... Plz answer. thanx!


Guess it depends on what you count as "household" items. My household has a lot of guns, and some of them have tertium night sights.

sadly my room is pretty much radioactive :/ its full of radioactives. i have a ludlum model 2 (professional, yet old) with a home made pancake.

basically, ask me a question, even if its noobish, in a message and i can answer it... maybe too well :D pertaining to radioactivity. i study this stuff everyday and have many radioactive things! heck, i got one today!

Granite rock - Radium gas - Clocks and watches - Mostly anything is to some degree radio active.

I think you mean radon gas, not radium. I'd be very surprised to find radium naturally occurring in gas form. Radon is the gas that seeps into basements.

Re granite: One of the more amusing bits of testimony after the Three Mile Island incident was a scientist who came into their nice granite courthouse with a geiger counter, turned it on so everyone could hear it clicking, explained about granite, and pointed out that the members of the jury were receiving a higher radiation dose than anyone around TMI did. Nice way of putting that in perspective.


7 years ago

The old radium watches do not light up anymore! Apart from Radium, the paint contains Zinc Sulfide. This material fluoresces when exposed
to radiation (not just radioactivity, but also UV, and even blue light). However, it degrades while doing this. I have a Geiger counter (found while dumpster diving!!!!), and various old alarm clocks, airplane meters, watches etc. show clear signs of radioactivity! The color of the painted parts is very pale green (almost white).

A second source is Uranium glass. Uranium makes glass fluorescent (very pretty green). It was used in high end glassware before WWII. It shows up in antique shops, but can be quite expensive. But if a glass is chipped, it might be a bargain.

Another source is Thorium. Old gas lamps (the bright type) use a wick, which is soaked in a solution of ca. 99:1 Cerium/ Thorium Nitrate. These wicks are still available. If fired up, the nitrate decomposes into oxide; very heat resistant and very brittle. These wicks, when put in close contact to legacy photo paper show up in a week or 2 (after development).

Of course, you might take a trip to Chernobyl, and just take some soil, or even better, some bone from a fox, falcon, stray dog, etc.

Good gawd, and to think I ate three today (they were getting kinda ripe)

I recently learned of the potassium isotope in bananas...really kinda made me laugh.

Regarding potassium, you can actually get a few clicks off of a 40-pound bag of KCl water softener salt. But that's a more concentrated mass of natural potassium than is a banana.

Really old glow-in-the-dark watch hands, they haven't used radium in years.

Gas lantern mantles are/were coated in thorium oxide. They're working on phasing that out, but non-thorium ones are more expensive.

This just for a collection or for an Eagle Scout project?


7 years ago

funny, the only one i have is banannas.

firewood. The basement floor (technically off-gassing from beneath) They're both radon if I recall correctly.