Do the Radiation Alert@ instruments detect all types of radiation?

None of the instruments listed in this website detect neutron, and don’t detect non-ionizing radiation, like microwave, RF (radio frequency), laser, infrared, or ultraviolet radiation. All of the instruments are most accurate for Cesium 137 and isotopes of similar energies. Some isotopes detected relatively well are Cobalt 60, Technetium 99M, Phosphorus 32, Strontium 90, and many forms of Radium, Plutonium, Uranium, and Thorium.

Some forms of radiation are very difficult or impossible for a Geiger tube to detect. Tritium is a byproduct of a nuclear reactor and is used in research. The beta emissions from Tritium are so weak that there are very few instruments that are capable of detecting it. More sophisticated equipment is needed for the measurement of environmental samples, such as radioactivity in milk, produce, soil, etc., unless you are looking for gross contamination.

The radiation from some isotopes can cause a Geiger tube to overexcite and indicate a higher level of radiation than is actually present. Americium 241 is an example of this phenomenon. Americium 241 is used in some smoke detectors and many different types of industrial density and flow meters.

Unless you know exactly what you are measuring and understand the limitations of detection instruments, it is possible to draw misleading conclusions from your readings. We design our instruments to detect the broadest range of ionizing radiation possible and still be affordable. The full spectrum of ionizing radiation cannot be measured by one single instrument. Everyone agrees that radioactive materials can be dangerous. We encourage you to seek out other sources of information.

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