View Full Version : Tritium radiation

August 16, 2008, 07:25 PM
Hello All, As my first post here, I am wondering about tritium radiation from said gunsights. I am no expert on any related fields and am wondering if there are any studies on any possible ill effects of long term, inside waistband carry.
As 'appendix carry' keeps the goods next to the goods, as it were, I am concerned about it and don't know how to go about finding any intel on the matter. Thought I'd ask you all. Thanks for any help you can provide.

August 16, 2008, 08:02 PM
I've been using both tritium watches and night sights for around 15+ years now, and other than this weird twitch, I havent seen any ill effects.

Dont sweat the small stuff. By the time it matters (or maybe sooner, you are carrying a gun) you'll be dead. :)

August 16, 2008, 08:08 PM
The type of radiation emitted by Tritium is easily stopped by the outer layer of dead cells on your skin. If you broke open the tritium capsule and inhaled the contents that probably wouldn't be good for you--but the amount you'd be inhaling is ridiculously small. As long as you don't TRY to hurt yourself with it it's perfectly safe.


Double Naught Spy
August 16, 2008, 09:59 PM
Right, the only way tritium is going to harm you is via inhalation of the gas.

August 16, 2008, 11:55 PM
As mentioned, the amount of gas is minute and it would take quite a lot to be harmful. Radium in small amounts on the other hand can be harmful because it is not a gas but tiny particulate. So when it gets into the lung, it stays there and burns, for life.
The tritium is contained in tiny glass capsules, each containing a small amount of gas.

August 17, 2008, 01:15 AM
Radium also emits beta and gamma radiation in addition to alpha particles.

August 17, 2008, 11:44 AM
Thanks Guys. And thank you John for the link. Thats what I was after.
lol AK; I too have a twitch. Or maybe it's just an itch -to pull the trigger a few hundred times at the range on Fridays.

August 17, 2008, 12:22 PM
The references I can find on the web indicate that tritium emits beta particles, not alpha. For instance, go here (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/dirtybomb/sour-nf.html) and scroll down to the section on "Water".

Health effects of beta radiation can be found here (http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/beta.html#healtheffects).

August 17, 2008, 12:58 PM


You are correct. However it's a low energy beta particle and all the sources agree that the radiation from Tritium won't penetrate the skin and is therefore only a danger if it is inhaled or ingested.

Capt. Charlie
August 17, 2008, 02:02 PM
...test it yourself, and I did. I wondered about this too a while back, and I used a Gieger counter to test for radiation output from two recently manufactured tritium sights (both Trijicon). The sensor was placed in direct contact with the sights, and I measured nothing, not even a single "click", above normal background radiation. They are very well shielded.

On the other hand, I had a nuclear stress test done last year, and I had fun showing people how my body would literally peg the meter for a couple of days ;) :D.