Ball micro gas tubes are borosilicate glass coated with phosphors, then filled with tritium gas. The tubes are unaffected by water, oil, and most corrosive materials. Additionally, they are shock resistant and unaffected by climatic extremes.
Tritium gas (GTLS) has several benefits over traditional tritium paints:
1. Radiation. Simply put, Ball gas tubes do not create radiation when intact. The weak beta rays given off by the decaying tritium gas cannot even penetrate a sheet of paper. Were you to break a gas tube, the minute amount of 3H gas, which is lighter than air, would quickly dissipate with no ill effects.
2. Decay. The tritium paints off the past not only gave off radiation but that radiation also caused the paint to decay along with the tritium itself. The crystal structure of the phosphors in the paints often broke down more quickly than the radioactive source, resulting in a shorter effective life.
3. Efficiency. Gases react more efficiently than solids; this is a basic chemical fact. The minute quantities of 3H gas needed to activate the phosphors in Ball micro gas tubes react more efficiently than many times the same quantity of luminous paint.
And finally, the info you've probably been waiting for:
Conservative estimates by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and others suggest that the amount of tritium in 40,000 Ball Watches would not even cause the first level of radiation sickness measurable by scientific standards. The prescribed treatment for this "level 1" exposure: drink 4 glasses of water. The tritium is then expelled naturally with no ill effects.
Truly, the only parties who could be at risk of any type of exposure are the technicians who work in assembling the tubes. But a quick examination of the labs shows they are well equipped with the relevant clean room technologies.
Thus, it is clear that it is unnecessary to speak of health risk when it comes to Ball Watches or micro gas tubes.