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Thread: US source for Tritium markers..

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default US source for Tritium markers..

    I have a bunch of Traser glowrings and love them, but ordering them from overseas can be a little bit stress inducing though merkava has made it as painless as possible (Thanks!) This post is not meant to compete with his glowring(or newer "glow discs") business, but I thought I would post it as it may interest some. These appear to have holes drilled in the housing so you can screw them to walls, etc. I found these tritium markers at the following store:

    https://www.labsafety.com/store/prod...cat_prefix=3WA

    The price for the smallest one is only $12.80

    Here is the text from the site:

    Safety Markers
    Revolutionary Self-Illuminating Markers Save Money

    Amazing new markers are waterproof, explosion-proof, vandal resistant, require no batteries, no electricity, no maintenance and last up to 15 years. Put them wherever providing safe passage and protecting architectural integrity is a priority. Ideal for directional lighting in harsh environments.
    Specifications: Sleek design. Easy installation. Light is powered by tritium gas enclosed in a high-impact polycarbonate housing. When markers reach their expiration date, return to manufacturer for recycling.

    You'll have to click the link to see a picture, their site doesnt allow you to download or directly link to the pics.


    Edited to add that I have no financial stake in this company, I just wanted to pass on the info....

  2. #2

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Interesting...that's a pretty huge thing of tritium compared to a glowring. I wonder if it's all tritium.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..


    Here's the pic from the site ...

  4. #4
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Thanks! I couldn't get the URL to display to copy....

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Guys, proceed with caution here...

    I ordered a pair of markers, and was called within three days demanding an explanation for their use before they would authorize the purchase. I also had to have them sent to work, under the auspices they would be used to illuminate the doors to two lockboxes on the property for security purposes.

    Just so you know, and have your story ready...

  6. #6
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Well crap. I apologize folks, I wasn't aware of there being ordering restrictions, it sure doesn't say anything on the website. I'm sorry if my post has caused problems for anyone.

    Merkava, you've got my continued business.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Quickbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Already tried this route through another US vendor - you have to use them in an industrial complex for permanent installation only and their location has to be registered with the NRC via the selling company.... Sales to individual consumers is prohibited.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* NightStorm's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    ....as tritium is used in making thermonuclear weapons.

    Dan

  9. #9

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Bummer

    I saw the markers in the Lab Safety catalog myself last week and was considering ordering them for my personal use.

    Here is the problem, the government tightly regulates all radioactive "sources". when you see a magazine article saying how there are 10,000 missing radioactive sources in the US that the government cannot account for, terrorist misuse etc these markers and ones like them make up a significant percentage of that figure. Government does not want any radioactive source that exceeds a certain number of microcuries floating around.

    Those of us that collect radioactive minerals, have seen some specimins stopped from being imported.

    GregR

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    The vials are super easy to remove from those pieces as well. Ive got the medium vial in a plastic tube with a lanyard hole, for use as a reading light, it's that bright (after your eyes dark-adapt)...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Well I feel like an idiot now for even posting this, I should have checked it out further first....

  12. #12

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    [ QUOTE ]
    mrorange said:
    Well I feel like an idiot now for even posting this, I should have checked it out further first....

    [/ QUOTE ]

    No actually, any contribution to the forums is appreciated!

    Dan

  13. #13
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    I would imagine that many of us who receive flashlights at work addresses can come up with plausible justifications to buy these.

    Heck, back in 1974 when I was a Division Controller of a Gould Electronics Instrument division in Oxnard, California I was granted a permit to carry concealed weapons. My accepted justification was that my job responsibilities included "protecting the company's assets". The fact that I was a bean counter, not a security person, didn't matter. The magic works in quotes did.

  14. #14

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    The issue isn't that you can make h-bombs with tritium but rather that it's a radioactive source and has to be disposed of properly etc. It's pretty safe in the sealed tubes but you don't want to break one and breathe the stuff. I'm not sure I'd want to mess with those things, especially the larger ones.

  15. #15

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    A previous employer had one building with emergency Exit signs made from self illuminating tritium markers. Each segment of the letters in the word "EXIT" were made with 2 to 4" tritium tubes. We pulled them down and returned them. They were replaced with signs using strings of green leds, the hassle was just too much with tritium ones. I believe part of the issue was if you inhale gases tritium one of the disintigration daughter products is solid particulate and can lodge in the lungs, continuing to give off radiation from INSIDE the body till it decays! Just perfect condition for creating a cancerous growth in the lungs. Radioactive fallout outside the body is simply washed/scrubbed away in the shower, but what to you do when it's inside the body?

    GregR

  16. #16
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    We get radiated every day specially with that huge H-bomb going off over there (pointing at the sun).

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Not seeing the details of this thread I ordered a couple of markers from Lab Safety.

    I as well, got a call from Lab Safety. The didn't say anything about sales being prohibited to anyone, but did indicate they needed to track where they were going to the end of insuring proper disposal. I guess it wasn't clear where they were going to be used since I shipped them to my work address instead of my billing address. I get the impression they register the address and phone# with the nuclear regulatory commission.

    I went ahead with the order, but I think I might not have if I had really read this thread. Oh well.

    The interesting thing is they got someone from technical support involved. I say interesting since she was very knowledgable about Tritium and knew about it's use in watches, etc. Thumbs up for Lab Saftey.

    -john

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    [ QUOTE ]
    Double_A said:
    I believe part of the issue was if you inhale gases tritium one of the disintigration daughter products is solid particulate and can lodge in the lungs, continuing to give off radiation from INSIDE the body till it decays! Just perfect condition for creating a cancerous growth in the lungs.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think this is the heart of the matter.

    -john

  19. #19
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    I wish someone could post an authorative source for just what the regulations actually are. The statement "Tritium is illegal in the US" doesn't really provide any information.

    Is it prohibited and/or regulated to buy, sell, resell, manufacture, transport, distribute, store, dispose of, package, covet or fondle? If so, in what means and in what quanties?

    This is one area where details are important.

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Here is an authorative response from all the reading of the regulations that I've done.

    tritium light sources containing below a certain amount of tritium in them are legal. These include watch face dots and gun sites. Larger tritium sources are legal for "non-frivilous" use, like airport runway markers and exit signs that must run without power forever. However, they must be registered with the government and they may come to inspect them and you have to be responsible for their proper disposal. You can't just throw them out. So you have to register them. A glow ring falls under the frivilous category and contains too much tritium to be legal under the gun site amendment.

    You can only have the bigger ones if you have a real use for them and are willing to pay for their disposal as dangerous waste.

    Discuss the logic or lack of logic of that all you want, but thats whats on the books right now. If you try to order from a source that imports them or sells them in the US they will have to verify your storage and disposal facilities and you'll have to do a lot of paperwork and may be denied the license to have them. certainly if you say on the form that you're putting one on your keychain they will not OK it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    EDIT: more info, The reason nobody has posted a single link to a government page that describes the whole thing is that there isn't just one. There are literally a hundred different regulations that may or may not come into play and they have been updated and amended and some have been superceeded and so it's hard to find the exact specifics anyway summed up as it is all legal at this particular moment. If you want to read all those pages try and hit the http://www.nrc.gov/ site, here is a Starting Link about watch face dots.


  21. #21
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..


    Well, I thought about it a bit, and while I am not concerned about safety from a personal perspective, I started wondering about risks in this litigious society.

    In the end I decided I didn't need the hassle and cancelled the order.

    -john

  22. #22
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    James: thanks for the link on watch dots. The CFR cites are exactly the sort of thing I'm interested in. I realize it takes a high boredom threshold to read, but I'm not a stranger to the CFR.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    [ QUOTE ]
    James S said:
    If you try to order from a source that imports them or sells them in the US they will have to verify your storage and disposal facilities and you'll have to do a lot of paperwork and may be denied the license to have them. certainly if you say on the form that you're putting one on your keychain they will not OK it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]



    [/ QUOTE ]

    So have anyone ever got into trouble from buying/importing the glowrings? According to these articles, seems like the customs are not supposed to let them thru

  24. #24

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    [ QUOTE ]
    mrorange said:
    Well I feel like an idiot now for even posting this, I should have checked it out further first....

    [/ QUOTE ]

    i'm glad you did post. it's been quite informative. thanks!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    So... did anyone buy the large 5 inch model? And is it bright enough to read a map with dark adapted eyes?

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    I'm not aware of anyone that has gotten into any trouble over the keychain models. I'm sure it would have been posted here if anyone had had any trouble [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I do not believe however that anyone who is not purchasing it to mark a runway will be able to buy the 5" model. So don't expect to get much in the way of a review.

  27. #27

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    [ QUOTE ]

    I believe part of the issue was if you inhale gases tritium one of the disintigration daughter products is solid particulate and can lodge in the lungs, continuing to give off radiation from INSIDE the body till it decays! Just perfect condition for creating a cancerous growth in the lungs. Radioactive fallout outside the body is simply washed/scrubbed away in the shower, but what to you do when it's inside the body?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Tritium contamination is indeed no joke, however it decays into a stable isotope of helium. Tritium has a halflife of 11 days in the human body and tends to be flushed out relatively quickly.

    It's not nearly as dangeorus as other radioisotopes, but still needs to be handled safely.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    My understanding is that tritium has a 'half life' of 12.3 years, and that's not changed by being ingested or inhaled - the 11 days is how long before 50% is flushed out of the body 22 days for 75%, etc.


  29. #29

    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Here are three excerpts from a DOD manual available via Google search. If I had thought about it a little harder I would have realized such a simple element/isotope cannot have any physically solid daughter products.


    "Metals react with tritium in two ways by plating (the
    process by which a thin film of tritium is deposited on
    the surface of the metal) and by hydriding (the chemical
    combination of tritium with the metal). In either
    reaction, the surface of the metal will become contam-inated
    with radioactive material."

    "With the proper catalyst i.e., fire, tritium combines
    spontaneously with oxygen in the air and will also replace
    ordinary hydrogen in water or other hydrogenous
    material (grease or oil), causing these materials to
    become radioactive."

    "The hazardous nature of tritium
    is due to its ability to combine with other materials.
    Tritium water vapor (TO or HTO) is readily absorbed
    by the body, both through inhalation and absorption
    through the skin. The radioactive water that enters the
    body is chemically identical to ordinary water and is
    distributed throughout the body tissue. Although it takes
    a relatively large amount of tritium to be a significant
    radiation hazard, caution should be taken. Tritium which
    has plated out on a surface or combined chemically with
    solid materials is a contact hazard. The human body
    normally eliminates and renews 50 percent of its water
    in about 8-12 days. This turnover time or biological
    half-life varies with the fluid intake. Since tritium oxide
    is water, its residence time in the body may be
    significantly reduced by increasing the fluid intake."


    GregR

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
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    Default Re: New, US source for Tritium markers..

    Tritium emits a beta ray that is about the same as the electrons that hit the screen on your CRT. Penetrating power is essentially zero.

    The forming a surface film is called adsorption, and some metals, such as Palladium, are exceptionally good at it.

    The big binds with substantial tritum sources is what happens to the tritium. It is a diatomic gas, or it may be part of polymer. When it decays you get Helium 3, which is an inert gas, so tritium sources always evolve helium 3, and if you are not careful, the sealed source will literally explode. Many such source actually have a vent plug so you can vent the Helium 3 periodically.

    This isn't much of an issue with the tritium sources in places like Luminox watches, which are encapsulated in borosilicate glass. The glass walls are thin, and He3 diffuses through the spaces between the atoms fairly easily (Helium 3 is about the smallest gas molecule there is, and you'd be amazed at what it can diffuse through). Also if it was a gas to begin with, the pressure in the container can only double. The problem comes from sealed solid sources, such as polymers and hydrides.

    As long as you don't drink it or inhale it, it is pretty hard to do much damage.

    Interesting enough, neither tritium oxide or Dueterium oxide behaves exactly like water chemically. The difference in mass is enough to alter physics of the chemical reactions. I.E. both are less likely to become involved in chemical reactions then 'regular' water.

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