Radium is a radioactive element found naturally in the environment. Until the 1960s, various consumer and military products – like marine compasses and aircraft dials – were manufactured using a radium-based, glow-in-the-dark paint. Although the radium in these devices remains radioactive for thousands of years, the paint itself breaks down and may no longer glow, making it hard to identify.
Handled and stored properly, an intact radium luminous devices (RLD) is safe. Tips for safety include not opening your RLD and wearing gloves when handling it. If it’s cracked or damaged, it needs to be properly disposed of.
As part of its expanded outreach program on RLDs, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is participating at a few key military heritage shows, educating members of the public and collectors on how to identify, safely handle, and dispose of RLDs.
Visit CNSC radiation experts at the Ottawa Military Heritage Show on Saturday, April 28, 2012.
Ottawa Military Heritage Show
Nepean Sportsplex, Ottawa, ON
April 28, 2012
Not in Ottawa? Learn more about radium luminous devices: