In the Classroom

Radiation Sources for Teachers


Copyright 2015

  1. Uranium ore Sale of uranium ore is in compliance with all U.S. Federal regulations (Part 40) and NY State Regulations (10 NYCRR Part 16 and 12 NYCRR Part 38) as defined under Appendix A exemptions.
  2. Sealed radioactive sources (alpha, beta, gamma) from scientific supply companies – Radioactive isotopes are legal to purchase & own by the general public. A few common sources are:
    • Sodium-22, Gamma
    • Cobalt-57, Gamma
    • Barium-133, Gamma
    • Manganese-54, Gamma
    • Cesium-137, Gamma or Beta
    • Cobalt-60, Gamma
    • Cadmium-109, Gamma
    • Zinc-65, Gamma
    • Strontium-90, Beta
    • Thallium-204, Beta
    • Tin-113, Beta
    • Polonium-210, Alpha
  3. Fiestaware or Riviera brand dishes – “Vintage” red/orange glazed dishes which contain uranium in the glaze; the new version of Fiestaware being sold recently is not a radioactive source.
  4. Glow in the dark watch or clock with radium dial
  5. Some “Vaseline glass” – glass that looks as though it was smeared with a petroleum jelly; sometimes found in antique shops.
  6. A few “acid green” colored pieces of depression glass are radioactive – be aware that MOST green depression glass is not radioactive.
  7. Static-Master brushes – for removing dust from photographic negatives; a small radioactive source (polonium) in each brush – try a photo shop.
  8. A camping lantern mantle which is treated with thorium (many new mantels are not treated w/thorium); read labels on “new” mantles and test older mantles to see if they are radioactive (older mantles may not have been labeled as containing thorium).  Try (877-409-1618).  Be sure to tell them you’re a teacher. Some retailers sell radioactive lantern mantles labeled as appropriate for Boy Scout Nuclear Science Badge
  9. Smoke detector contains a small amount of Americium-241.
  10. Thoriated welding rods.
  11. Radioactive spark plugs containing polonium.
  12. Salt substitute (Potassium Chloride).
  13. Banana chips. Depending on how sensitive your detector is, you may be able to measure radioactivity of banana chips.
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