Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)
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  1. #1
    Member cptwalker's Avatar
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    Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    Recently I purchased a watch containing radium on the dial (knowing it had radium paint). I was under the impression that this practice is safe as long as the watch is not opened. After first inspection the case seemed tightly sealed. For a couple days I kept it on a small table a little ways from my bed. Just today I removed the watch from the table in order to store it in a safe container. When I went over the table with a Geiger counter (with the watch removed and away from the table), I got a similar reading as if it was still sitting on the table. Is this an indication that the case/crystal may have been compromised and the paint was outside the watch? I then proceeded to wiping the surface with a dampened towel and paper towels. Despite all my cleaning efforts, the Geiger counter was giving similar readings afterwards. Will the radiation reading dissipate over time if I leave my window open some time or should I be concerned over residual paint on the table? Is there a possibility I inhaled some radium particles? Does anyone have any advice how to clean the table if it is contaminated? This may not be the right place to ask these questions but any help would be appreciated as at this point I just want to prevent any further damage I may have already caused myself.
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  2. #2
    Member yankeexpress's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    Did you have a reading of the table before the watch was there?

    Maybe the reading has nothing to do with the watch.
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  3. #3
    Member cptwalker's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    It's a plain wooden table. I'm only getting a reading right in the spot where the watch was sitting and it is well over 300 cpm. I doubt I had anything emitting 300cpm sitting there before.

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  5. #4
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    That's a very unexpected sequence of events. One would not expect any radium to be transferred from the dial/hands to the table. Perhaps there is another source of radiation on the case of the watch that is independent of the radium on the dial. If so, you should be careful handling it.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    cptwalker...sounds like you have a Mystery on your hands! As long as the watch was intact, it really is very difficult to image a mechanism by which the luminous material could 'transport' (!) itself beyond the case...cause and effect is a concept that does not always lend itself to immediate explanation.

    Oh: may I ask, how is it that you have a Geiger counter...I've been at this Site for some time, and I reckon that your's is the first Post I've read that mentions one. Michael.

  7. #6
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    A simple question: What type of Geiger counter do you have? There is a lot of trash on the market, but you might not even have a Geiger counter, simply a device that picks of magnetic fields and electrosmog (often mislabeled as Geiger counters) and the readings you have are referring to something else.

    Let us know what kind of device you have, that might solve the mystery straight away. I am doing a lot of research on radium (tritium) contained watches and are responsible for that section in our club of watch friends. The Geiger counter I have is from German military surplus (unused and sold in line with a routine change of equipment). It has an ultra large Russian probe (pan cake) and picks up alpha-, beta- and gamma radiation - separately if wanted.

    THAT'S a Geiger counter, and believe me, it doesn't pick up any radiation anymore when the watch is removed (except what's in the environment to which it is adjusted beforehand anyway):

    And bit of fun can't hurt (let's you see that thing in live action):

    https://youtu.be/tH1CreR9mGQ
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Last edited by Border-Reiver; August 10th, 2017 at 14:39.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    If your interested , there is a piece on the Radium girls online.
    I have a number of heavily radiums watches, pocket and wrist watches, so far i havent had any problems.
    If your worried about the watch, just sell it on then all your problems will be sorted.
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  9. #8
    Member cptwalker's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    I think you guys may be right and I may have freaked out a bit. The problem may be the use of a cheap device. I'm still deciding if I want to wear it or just store it away. The gamma radiation that makes it through the case to the wrist is the part that concerns me the most.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
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  10. #9
    Member Camera Bill's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    Whats the reading on background radiation in other parts of the house?
    Damasko DA46 Black
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  11. #10
    Member mharris660's Avatar
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    Re: Radium (A lesson learned the hard way, maybe?)

    Probably get more exposure from a bag of M&Ms. Wear the watch and enjoy.
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