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  1. #1
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    Default Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern?

    Radium emits alpha and gamma radiation, I recall.
    Radium also decays into radon gas which I believe is more dangerous to humans because it can be
    moreadily absorbed.

    Has anyone taken a Gieger counter to a radium-painted clock dial?

    Thank you.
    Confucius say: "Man own clock know time. Own two, never sure."

  2. #2
    Registered user. roughbarked's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Robert Gift)

    Yes. This discussion has been had a few times. The radiation is there but not easily absorbed by human skin. If care is taken not to create dust and disposal of any particles that fall are or cleaned off the clock be done with care. Don't breathe the dust and don't lick your fingers or the tools.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Robert Gift)

    Some interesting facts about Radium - http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele088.html

    One interesting item is that the text books used by the Curies are too highly contaminated to be handled today.
    You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - The Great One

  4. #4

    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: THTanner)

    We regularly put a GM tube over a radium painted dial at work as a demonstration. We also use radon gas for decay experiments done by yr 13 students. We do have the windows open in case any of the gas escapes but that's as excited about it as we get.

    If you don't inhale or ingest the radium pain then it isn't likely to cause you much harm. I have probably mentioned before that when a radiation advisor on School safety retired a few years ago he gave his wristwatch to his employers as a leaving present because he had used it in so many demonstrations and thought they would like to continue with that. Probably the first time a retiree has given his employers a watch.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by roughbarked View Post
    ... Don't breathe the dust and don't lick your fingers or the tools.
    Fortunately I have stopped the habit of licking my tools.

    So sad about the "Radium Girls" who needlessly died horrible deaths.
    Confucius say: "Man own clock know time. Own two, never sure."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Robert Gift)

    Hype-free facts about radium can be found in post #14 in this thread:

    http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?1...Aircraft-Clock

    Glen

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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Robert Gift)

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Gift View Post
    Fortunately I have stopped the habit of licking my tools.

    So sad about the "Radium Girls" who needlessly died horrible deaths.
    They thought they were doing their job properly. They were employed for their skills with a paintbrush. Nobody told them not to lick it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: roughbarked)

    Quote Originally Posted by roughbarked View Post
    They thought they were doing their job properly. They were employed for their skills with a paintbrush. Nobody told them not to lick it.
    Worse than that, if I recall they were told to do it that way to speed up production.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: roughbarked)

    Most people didn't really understand the risk. It was just magic glowing
    stuff.
    I'm always reminded of Feyman's story of going the the place where they
    stored the uranium oxide. It was in barrels. They we told to not store more
    than some number of barrel in the same place.
    He'd gone into one room and see a pile next to one wall.
    He'd go to the next room and wouldn't you know it, they'd stored the barrels
    against the same wall. The wall was even increasing the reaction as a
    moderator. Guys in heavy lead suites had to quickly separate them.
    And, these were people that were trained?
    Tinker Dwight

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Tinker Dwight)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker Dwight View Post
    Most people didn't really understand the risk. It was just magic glowing
    stuff.....
    And, these were people that were trained?
    Tinker Dwight
    Yep. Look at Fukishima. It was trained people there as well. I know everything was against them but training should heve preceded the problem.

    It is a strange world where, people need to keep away from radiation sources that put less siverts into your lungs than cigarette smoke does.

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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: roughbarked)

    Look at places where there is lots of radiation and people go through there all the time, Grand Central Station.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/...ry?id=13146260
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Kevin W.)

    As was mentioned earlier in this thread. The risks of the radium in a watch is less than your interaction with earth's soil on a daily basis.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: roughbarked)

    Did you read the link, more than soil was mentioned. Its not something i ever lost sleep over. its all around us, radiation.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: Kevin W.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin W. View Post
    Did you read the link, more than soil was mentioned. Its not something i ever lost sleep over. its all around us, radiation.
    Yes, I read most everything that seems to have been posted sensibly.

    I was always a bit frightened about old bottles of luminous stuff that were found in old watchmaker's gear.

  15. #15
    Registered user. Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Radium-painted clock dials a radiation concern? (By: roughbarked)

    Some of the old times cleaning chemicals i think is much more hazardous.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

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