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Tritium encased in plastic: a few questions Answered

My main question is, the Key fob being sold at  Deal Extreme, is it safe?   I seem to remember from one article that stated it is fairly safe as long as it remains exterior to the body (in other words, do grind it up and breath / snort it, and don't swallow it).

Is that a fair (generally) statement? I am started to question some of the things I find and read at wiki-im-pedia 


I've known people who were "tritiated", they weren't concerned. Radio-iodine much, much more hazardous.


I remember when they finally discovered that the Glow in the dark numerals that were painted onto the Hamilton Watches (locally) were Radium infused paints and the workers started getting bouts of cancer (not that they were overly dangerous to the wearer, but the workers were totally unprotected).

That they were radium-based was known from the start, in an age where e.g. Bela Lugosi was speaking of Atomic-super-beings, the poisonous nature of radium hadn't been fully assessed / appreciated. I believe that the Curie's laboratory is still off-limits.


Yeah, sorry, I worded that very poorly: I meant that they discovered that the radium based paints they used, were hazardous to the workers.  I knew a few that had worked for the local Hamilton Watch factory.  That building is now, 1/3 apts. 1/3 kindergarten, and the remaining 1/3 is split between where I work, and another company that occupies the lower floors. 

And it's "clean" these days?


I doubt there are any workers (at least, not in the USA) painting Radium numerals on watch or clock faces.  At least not without some form of protection. If anything, a machine or machines does (do)  this in a class 7 clean room.

If it is still done, servicing those machines would be hazardous I would suppose....

I meant the building in which you work?


As far as I know :-)    Hmm, maybe I should invest in a Geiger counter, eh?   Just to be sure (or rent one maybe).

It would be interesting to approach the Kindergarten and ask if they'd allow you to perform a quick survey with "you know the history of this building?"...


In the era, and area, that would be looked on with great suspicion without so academic  backing of some sort, sadly.
Well, around here, they would question why I wanted to "talk to the kids" if i wasn't a professional poll taker, or statistician.....paranoia runs deep....

Radiological survey - with the counter.
However, asking kids if they've acquired any extra fingers / super-human abilities....?


Well, I could certainly do that (if I could find a counter on the cheap) in the part of the building I work at.  :-) 

As far as the children, they haven't to my knowledge, unless you want to include the odd prehensile tail  ;-)

Tritium is a weak beta-emitter.

As long as you have a few centimetres of air between you and it (or a sheet of paper, or a thin plastic case), you are safe.

The only real risk is if the gas is breathed in, or if "tritiated" water is swallowed, and even then the risk is minimal as the radionucleotide is dispersed pretty evenly around the body.

EPA entry on tritium.

Thank you (not that I was planning on a purchase here :-) but I was curious) .  I suppose that is why there was so much dissatisfaction with the product, concerning the weak glow and all.

.  It looks to be the right size to be recycled from old gun sights (they "wear out" after a while), so it may not be as bright as when first manufactured. And tritium sights aren't very bright to start with (don't want to blot out the target).

They claim to have a 10 year lifetime on these.