[ RadSafe ] Low level TRITIUM Exposure from Gaseous Tritium Light Devices

Chuck Cooper cooperc at teleport.com
Sun May 20 06:38:20 CDT 2007

FWD from the Occupational and Environmental Medicine list: occ-env- 

 > Dear OEM List,
 > Does anyone have any experience of responding to low level  
radiation incidents where Gaseous Tritium Light Devices (GTLD) are  
damaged – or serviced -- releasing tritium gas and tritium  
contaminated phosphor into the environment ?
 > Devices such as illuminated emergency signs and some types of  
military compasses and weapons sights may contain a low level beta  
radiation emitter such as tritium  to stimulate a phosphor and thus  
produce low level light in environments where batteries or other  
sources of power are not available or practical.
 > In spite of tritium’s very short half life and although the real  
risk of radiation health effects from such inadvertent exposure is  
very low, some workers are worried about possible long term health  
effects due to absorption of any radionuclide. We have had an  
incident some years ago in Brisbane, Australia where tritium- 
contaminated phosphor was found inside a workshop servicing military  
equipment. Although the incident was well handled at the time, it has  
become “newsworthy” only recently.
 > Advice, comments, suggestions are most welcome.
 > Best wishes
 > Dr Ian R Gardner
 > Dr Ian R Gardner Pty Ltd   ABN  52 088 889 507
 > Consultant Occupational & Environmental Physician
 > 123 Tryon Road
 > Lindfield  NSW  2070
 > Phone:  +61-2-9416 3285
 > Fax:  +61-2-9416 6982
 > MOBILE: +61-419 236 228 (LOCAL: 0419 236 228)
 > Email:  iangard at bigpond.net.au

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