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Old March 26, 2000, 03:36 PM   #1
Chipperman
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Just curious...
Was looking at the warning on my friend's laser sights and began to wonder.
Do Tritium sights come with a warning about radiation? We all know the levels are very low, but in this age of warnings about "point gun this way" and "do not bathe while blow-drying hair" I would not be surprised.

There's probably some clown out there who will try to blame his cancer on the sights any day now.
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Old March 26, 2000, 04:34 PM   #2
Desert Dog
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You get more radiation from standing out in the bright sun, in my opinion.



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Old March 26, 2000, 05:05 PM   #3
riddleofsteel
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the radiation that makes it past the "screen" (the luminous coating on the surface of the vial) is stopped by a sheet of paper. even if worn next to the skin it will only penetrate the first few layers of skin. the decay of tritium a very light element in gas form produces very small nuclear particles that are very low energy. unlike uranium and other heavy elements that produce very large atomic particles with high energy. these heavy particles can penetrate deeply (like little bullets) and impact cell structures like DNA that produces mutations like cancer. if you have an old watch with a radium dial numbers, you get more dosage from it on your wrist. you absolutely get more exposure in a 3 to 4 hour airline flight above 10 to 20 thousand feet.

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Old March 26, 2000, 06:04 PM   #4
Randall Shaw
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Have you ever noticed the " Exit " signs on a
DC-9,MD-80 or older 727's nice green color
It's the same stuff just a lot more in the sign's and the FAA deems them sorta safe .
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Old March 26, 2000, 10:17 PM   #5
Chipperman
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I know the levels are negligible, but nobody has answered the question yet. Do they come with a warning?

If so it certainly wouldn't be the first useless warning out there. Make something idiot-proof and only an idiot will want to use it.
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Old March 26, 2000, 10:38 PM   #6
Jeff OTMG
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The sights do not come with a warning to the end user, but you should see what a company has to provide the govt with to get a license to make the sights. There are many warnings in that information.
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Old March 26, 2000, 10:51 PM   #7
Ben
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You can call a gun store and find out for yourself. It wouldn't surprise me one bit... hell, there's even a warning on the bottom of my keyboard.

Beware of ANYTHING ending in "ium"

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Old March 26, 2000, 11:17 PM   #8
sigarms229
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The rear of the packaging on Meprolight brand night sights contains a warning that says "This sight system contains a small amount of radioactive tritium in gaseous form (54 millicuries or less, depending on model). No attempt should be made to disassemble the sights. If the sight is defective, or is no longer wanted, it must be returned to HESCO for corrective measures or disposal".



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Old March 27, 2000, 01:33 AM   #9
jcoyoung
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Looking at the instruction manual for my Trijicon Reflex II, the very first page has the following:

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>WARNING
[radioactivity symbol]
RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS
RADIATION HAZARD
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS


The Reflex Sight contains radioactive material for nighttime illumination. The radiation source is Hydrogen-3, commonly known as tritium. Tritium is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that reacts to the human body in the same manner as natural hydrogen. If the Reflex Sight breaks, follow the procedures listed under Safety on page 3. The Reflex sight is regulated under an EXCEMPT LICENCE from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held by Trijicon, Inc. Disassambly of the sight is prohibited, except by Trijicon, Inc.[/quote]

And on page 3:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Tritium is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that reacts to the human body in the same manner as natural hydrogen. The body does not easily retain hydrogen or tritium as a gas. However, the oxide, HTO, which is formed by the burning of tritium is 10,000 times more hazerdous. For this reason great care should be taken to avoid flame in the presence of the Reflex Sight with a tritium lamp which is broken or is suspected of leaking.[/quote]

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>After contact with a unit with a broken lamp, a person should wash their hands carefully with soap and water. Do not handle a defective Reflex Sight if you have open cuts or abrasions. Work with a defective unit only in a well ventilated area and avoid inhaling air near the unit.[/quote]
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Old March 27, 2000, 01:53 AM   #10
Espresso
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About eight years ago I installed Trijicon sights on all of my Colt rifles. They came with a little sticker which said that I am supposed to placard this on the weapon. The sticker reads," Trijicon contains tritium. The purchaser is exempt from any regulatory responsibility. Made in U.S.A. Trijicon Inc. Farmington Hills, MI 48333-2130."

I don't know what the NRC rules are now.
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Old March 27, 2000, 03:10 AM   #11
twoblink
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I have stats on the tritium, I'll find them and post them online tomorrow.

One thing to take note of is this:

The tritium is not the light you see.

Tritium itself is not what you see lit. It's sodium you see lit. Tritium paint is applied to a thin layer of Sodium, which is the same stuff as your glow in the dark stickers, etc.. but instead of depending on the sun or a lightbulb to energize the sodium and having it emit light as it is excited and then jumps back down a quantum level, it depends on the beta particles that are emitted from the tritium's move towards it's half-life, which is 12.26 years.

Here's a quote from a science journal about it, "Any gaseous tritium escaping into the air is very rapidly and heavily diluted. Therefore inhalation is not a problem."

Standing in the sun is 2500x more radiation than that which is emitted from tritium. Direct contact (applied to wet skin, the tongue, or more specifically, ingestion etc.. ) will increase the tritium count in your body, but the levels are VERY small, and the additional tritium is out of your system in about 30 days.

nothing to really worry about, living in LA for a day is more hazardous... I'll get you radiation count stats tomorrow though... Hope that helps.

(Yes, I am a nerd, I have done tritium research)
Albert
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Old March 27, 2000, 10:28 AM   #12
mcshot
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Radiation from tritium sites carried next to my aged nuggets is not a concern. Their life is over but I would hope having the gun might extend the life of the rest of me.

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Old March 27, 2000, 12:40 PM   #13
Chipperman
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I knew the feds would not disappoint me in letting that one slip by. Imagine how much gov't paperwork and bullpucky went into making those warnings and labels.

I'm sure there will be a warning on targets someday saying not to wear them as clothing at a pistol range.


Don't they realize that these warnings are just defeating the Darwin effect?
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Old March 27, 2000, 09:26 PM   #14
twoblink
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Here you go guys, the info I promised earlier.

Effective Dose (microsieverts)
Typical annual dose from wearing a plastic watch containing tritium 4

Radiation dose from cosmic rays in air travel, Melbourne to Perth 13

Average chest x-ray dose 20

Average annual dose from natural background radiation 2100

So it's about the same as stepping outside for about 2 hours. It's nothing.

Albert

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Old March 28, 2000, 12:46 PM   #15
FUD
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twoblink, so even if I carry a pistol with nightsights in an inside the waist belly band with the nightsights right next to (or even touching) me all day long, I don't need to worry about? Please advise.
Share what you know, learn what you don't
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Old March 29, 2000, 09:09 PM   #16
Keystone
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I have a Luminox watch that uses tritium gaslights on the hour markers and watch hands. LL Bean sells this watch under their brand name and it came with no warnings whatsoever. I live with the thing and its 15 vials (12 hour markers and 3 hand markers), so I think 3 dot sights are no threat. It's a great watch, you can darn near read a newspaper by it in the dark.
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Old March 29, 2000, 09:58 PM   #17
Mal H
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FUD, to answer your question - there is nothing to worry about it.
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Old March 31, 2000, 02:11 AM   #18
twoblink
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FUD,

Standing outside in the sun for about 20 minutes is equivalent to direct exposure to the tritium for 12 years.

Keep in mind that eating a Twinkie will deteriorate your life more than the tritium, unless you eat it.

You have nothing to worry about. What you should worry about is the legislators who are trying to take your gun away.

Albert
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Old March 31, 2000, 01:45 PM   #19
Chipperman
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Hot lead poisoning is much more hazardous than Tritium.
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