Radioactive materials around the home
Many items around the home are slightly ratioactive. As an experiment, examine various
items to see if they are radioactive, and measure and record the readings obtained.
Some suggested items to check:
- Salt substitute - contains potassium chloride. A slight amount of naturally occuring
potassium is radioactive.
- Old pottery - certain colors of old pottery, in particular the orange/red made by
Fiestaware, used uranium oxide in the pigment.
- Smoke detectors - most contain a small amount of Americium 241, an alpha emitter. The
alphas won't make it outside the case, but there are also several gamma energies emitted,
particularly 59 keV, which can be detected.
- Dust - naturally ocurring radon in the air decays into radioisotopes of lead and
bismuth, both of which are beta emitters with half lives of around half an hour. Recently
deposited dust, such as that sticking to a TV or monitor screen, can be wiped and checked.
- Vaseline glass - also called depression glass, it has a slight greenish tint given to it
by the uranium oxide mixed into the glass. It is also fluorescent under UV light.
- Ceramic mugs - various radioisotopes are found in the ceramic material, and sometimes the
coatings themselves are slightly radioactive.
Thinking of buying a surplus CDV-700 or 715 detector? Be sure to read our