The detection of ionizing radiation is important both for industrial enterprises and home use by people who take care about their health. Living near electro power stations or other industries that deal with radiation emitting materials is risky, and with the help of powerful Radiation Alert Monitor 4 detector you can discover the source of radiation before it becomes too dangerous. New Alert Monitor model features improved ergonomic design for more comfortable use. This compact radiation detector can be used for detecting various types of radiation of alpha, beta, gamma and x-ray range. When the ionizing radiation is detected, there device signalizes detection by red light flashes and sound beeping. There are M4 and M4EC packages available. Monitor M4EC features more linear reading for x-rays and gamma radiation.
Both modifications feature halogen-quenched GM tube with 1.5- 2.0 mg/cm2 thick mica window. Monitor 4EC additionally has energy compensated sidewall filter, 2 mm thick. The default scales include CPM/mR/hr, while additionally you can order SI Meter Scale option.
The current version of the detector is Monitor 4.
Radiation Alert Monitor4 reviews
Sensitivity to alpha radiation: Monitor 4 is able to detect alpha radiation starting from 2.5 MeV; the standard detection efficiency is >80% at 3.6 MeV;
Sensitivity to beta radiation: 35% efficiency at 50 keV; the efficiency at 150 keV is more than 75%;
Sensitivity to gamma and X-ray radiation: sensitive starting from 10 keV through the window or 40 keW through the sidewall. Normal level is about 10 – 20 CPM
The device operates at ranges: 0-.5, 0-5, 0-50 mR/hr,0-500, 0-5,000, 0-50,000 CPM or 0-500 µSv/hr,0-50 mR/hr
Range switch: X1, X10, X100, Battery Check
Accuracy: ±15% of reading (referenced to Cs-137)
1 year warranty is provided by manufacturer
I was looking for such a multipurpose radiation detector. While other offer detecting only one or two types or radiation, Monitor4 is able to detect alpha, beta, gamma and X-ray radiation for the same price. I have been using it for a month or so being completely satisfied with its work. I recommend the version with USB, it will be easier to transfer data to PC and analyze it there. A good solution for those who deal with regular radiation checks. (Nick Presley)
Wow! I’ve saved lots of dollars, when purchased this modern radiation detecting device. I highly recommend it instead of ‘old-fashioned’ CD 700 detector that often needs calibration. With Radiation Alert Monitor 4 there is no need in any refreshment, it is always ready to work and showing precise information about surrounding radiation background. Perfect for long run! (Karin Steward)
We’ve purchased twenty Monitor 4 items for industrial use for detecting the level of alpha, beta and gamma radiation in the air. Fast detecting, precise, wear-resistant detectors! We checked their precision by alternative proven detectors – the measurements coincide. (Matthey Newman)
Invisible to the human senses, radiation was only discovered in the end the 19th century. Within the process of investigation of this phenomenon, the scientists invented the device able to detect radiation – Geiger counter.
Hans Geiger (1882-1945)
Hans Geiger was a German scientist specializing in radiation. He carried out his studies in the early 19th century, trying to detect the alpha particles released by radioactive materials with the help of gold foil and a screen. Since alpha particles are able to permeate thin solid objects, they were supposed to penetrate the foil and consequently hit the screen. The scientist counted the flashes of light that the impact of particle created to the screen. Later, Hans Geiger invented a device based on that principle, which could more accurately count the alpha particles.
The ordinary Geiger counter is able to measure radioactivity, but cannot detect laser energy, radon gas, and radiation from microwaves and neutrons. Nevertheless, radiation detection still found practical application in lots of capacities. For example, the devices are used in locations where potential radiation leaks can possibly happen, like a nuclear power plant or an X-ray laboratory. Besides, Geiger counters are used in a number of emergency situations, where firefighters, police and hazardous materials specialists are able to assess the area for radiation. In addition, the device is useful for application in such disciplines as anthropology or archeology, since the scientists are able to check found objects for radioactivity. Moreover, you can even use a Geiger counter at home in order to make sure your metal household objects are made without radioactive material.
The main part of the device is the Geiger tube, which is filled with inert gas and surrounded by such a thin material that the radiation is able to penetrate it. In addition, the Geiger tube features a positive electrode in form of the wire tied to the tube, as well as a negative electrode, which is a wall of the tube itself. When the radiation enters the tube, it would ionize the gas, thus creating charged particles going to the electrode. This increased ionization causes an electric pulse, which the device detects with a click. Once the radiation increases, the rate of clicks would increase respectively.
Despite the fact that the original Geiger counter was only able to detect alpha particles, the scientist later developed a new version in cooperation with Walther Müller, which was able to detect some other types of radiation. The new model of the device is currently known as the Geiger-Müeller counter. After them, there were further advances made by other scientists, which even resulted in creation of the model able to detect neutrons.
The interesting fact is that the Geiger counter is not the only scientific contribution of Hans Geiger. He also used his discovery to make further studies, like observing the dissemination and energetic decrease of X-rays and cosmic rays.
Since there are too many people misbelieving that we are dying from any radiation exposure, there is a need to belie the most common radiation myths.
Two-headed cow radiation
The real story was that a 2-month-old infant was put on the conveyer at the airport and was screened by the x-ray unit, normally used for looking at carry-on luggage. Once the operator noticed the outline of the baby, he immediately turned the x-rays off. So, the amount of radiation exposure the baby could have received was at the worst case the same as people receive every day from natural background radiation. The norm of daily radiation exposure is 0.001 rem, which is 100,000 times less than the dose that might cause the baby to get sick. In fact, there was more harm done to the baby by the ambulance travel and the needle sticks for obtaining blood and other samples to find out whether the radiation caused any effects.
Airport x-ray machines
Many people believe that the metal detectors they had been walking through at the airports are exposing them to radiation. This is not true. However, nowadays there are screening detectors of a next generation out there, which do expose people walking through them to radiation. Still, the rate of radiation it exposes people to is again 5 to 100 times lower than what we receive every day from natural background.
Two-headed cow is believed to be a result of radiation released by the local nuclear power plant. In fact, this is the type of myth which can never be formally proved right or wrong, since there’s no scientific evidence to claim that it was radiation exposure which caused the abnormality. All people can point at when trying to prove them right is television and comics, like Spiderman and the Hulk. In most cases, people just connect two facts together: the existence of the two-headed cow and the location of a nuclear power plant, and make groundless conclusions.
The rumors are that potassium iodide pills are usually given to people living 25 miles far from the nuclear power plant in order to protect them from radiation in case of a release. In fact, taking potassium iodide can only help your thyroid not to take up much of the radioactive iodide as without taking the pills. The pills work by filling up your thyroid gland with potassium iodide, thus leaving less or no room at all for radioactive iodide which can be breathed in or taken in through your mouth. That’s it, so the pills don’t really protect you from any other types of radiation, as well as they don’t protect from the radioiodine outside your body. Finally, the pills are only effective if taken within a few hours before an incident or right after the release of radioactive iodide.
Some people think they get too many x-rays done at the hospital. However, there’s no limit on prescribed medical radiation exposure. Besides, it’s up to you to refuse to have x-rays done, or ask your physician about the advantages of having one or more x-rays done.
Human-made radiation is for some reason considered worse than natural radiation. This is just another myth, because radiation is the same regardless of its source – nature or humans. So, there’s no difference between radiation resulted from exposure to nature and human-made radiation.
No harmful radiation
When people claim that there’s no harmful radiation at site, it causes question about whether radioactive material was found at the location at all, and if it was, what made the radiation not harmful. Usually such claims are made when the radioactive material was found at the location, but its amount wasn’t enough to cause harm to people. Instead of claiming the radiation is not harmful, people should focus their attention at the question of why it was found at site.
Many people misbelieve that their food becomes radioactive if it is irradiated, and oppose to the process. However, the truth is that the food doesn’t become radioactive because of irradiation and there’s no scientific evidence that it forms any harmful chemicals. Instead, food irradiation is good for our food because of many food-borne illnesses and deaths that can be prevented by irradiation. The matter is that irradiation kills the bacteria residing in food which causes people to get sick. Statistics show that if half of the food was irradiated, around 1,000,000 cases of bacterial infections could be avoided, which would save 350 lives annually.
Whole-body CT scan
Some people even recommend the others to go to their doctors and ask for a whole-body CT scan in order to make sure they have no cancer. However, this procedure alone won’t confirm the presence of cancer, but will only expose you to radioactivity. Nevertheless, lots of free-standing medical clinics with CT units were built with a purpose of satisfying the increased demand for the scans. Meanwhile, the scan is only needed if there are signs of sickness and after conversation with a doctor.
Of course, it would have been great if one simple test was able to find out what is wrong. Unfortunately, current technology can’t do that yet, so any tests involving radiation exposure can only be performed with a valid medical reason.
Dental x-rays cause headaches
While large doses of radiation do cause such effects as nausea and vomiting, small doses do not. So, the dose from such diagnostic medical exams as dental x-rays cannot cause a headache or otherwise make people sick.
Radiation detectors prevent terrorist attack
Indeed, radiation detectors at ports of entry like airports and stations are able to detect different threats like explosives and radioactive materials if they are located in incoming containers or on incoming people. However, terrorists can harm people and cause panic in many other ways, which radiation detectors at a port of entry can’t prevent.
As you know, people cannot see or hear radioactivity, so in order to detect it you should use such tool as a Geiger Counter. It is a handheld device able to detect lots of forms of radiation.
Digital Geiger Counter
Geiger counter consists of a sealed tube which is filled with a noble gas like argon or neon, and a halogen like chlorine. Electric plates located in this tube are charged with a 400 volts potential. So, if any radioactive particle passed through the Geiger counter’s tube, it would conduct for a brief moment, thus sending a small current pulse through a cable connected to the tube. In its turn, it is amplified and sent to an integrator able to give a small current when the pulses are infrequent, or a larger current if the pulses are rapid. Finally, a calibrated meter would display the result to the operator.
A control switch of the counter allows to select the sensitivity scale of the meter, enabling you to properly read the areas of both lower and higher levels of radioactivity. In addition, the device has a speaker clicking for every received pulse. In some variations, the device also has a digital display indicating how many events have been detected.
Geiger counter is able to detect radiation in different forms: alpha and beta particles, x-rays and a number of gamma rays. However, the device is unable to detect ultraviolet light, since this type of radiation is too weak. Besides, it fails to detect neutrons, because they have no charge.
The scale on device can be calibrated in either counts p/sec, millirems p/h, or millisieverts p/h. While the counts p/sec unit is very straightforward, it is still indirect for detecting a potential dose of radiation. Then, the millirem is actually an out-of-date unit, which was used on old equipment. Millirem was replaced by the millisievert a while ago, because the latter is closely connected to the SI system of units.
The device can also be used for prospecting for radioactive minerals. For example, a Geiger counter will be set off by naturally-occurring thorium and uranium in the moderate ranges. Such minerals are normally quite safe if you consider a minimum of precautions, such as washing your hands.
Finally, technicians also use such devices for a purpose of inspecting equipment in nuclear or x-ray facilities, because it is able to find radioactive leaks, flaws in radiation shielding, and a number of other hazards. Moreover, if a device is well-calibrated, it is able to check the potency of nuclear medicines: if you didn’t know, a number of radioactive materials are very short-lived and therefore should be discarded when they become old.
Portable handheld Geiger counters are the most common, but sometimes stationary models are used as well. The stationary meter can be mounted by a storeroom doorway, for example, in order to trigger an alarm if the radioactive material is removed. It can also be used to detect contamination on workers who are entering or leaving their nuclear processing plant.
Kalium iodide or potassium iodide, is a medication used for the treatment of disorders connected with iodine deficit. It has a few different dosage forms (tablets, mixtures, solutions). It fills in the lack of iodine in the body, also used as an anti-theroid agent, mucolytic, expectorant, antifungal, resorbing and radiation-protective remedy. With its help the body gets iodine that normalizes the synthesis of thyroid hormones that is deranged by the lack of this important chemical element.
Radiation in Focushima Japan
If the body experiences the lack of iodine during the radiation accident, this deficit will be filled in by radioactive iodine isotopes from the environment. To prevent this process it is very important to minimize the lack of iodine if there is a high probability of radioactive pollution or the accident with radiation leakage has happened. The more iodine the body has, the less radioactive isotopes will be taken from the environment that means minimum negative consequences for the organism.
Kalium iodide just blocks the adsorption of radioactive iodine isotopes by thyroid gland. When taking it during the influence of radiation the protective effect is about 97%. The protective effect of its intake 12 and 24 hours before radiation influence is 90% and 70% respectively, 1 and 3 hours after radiation influence – 85% and 50% respectively. The effect is insignificant in case of taking potassium iodide 6 hours after the radiation influence.
Kalium iodide is useful not for all kinds of radiation poisoning, that is why using it as a treatment therapy during or after nuclear accidents should be medically approved. This medicine is used for neutralizing the action of Iodine-131 that is beta- and gamma-ray radiator. It leads to numerous thyroid disorders, its dysfunction and even thyroid cancer. By supplying stable iodide to the organism before exposure to radiation, it is possible to reduce the absorption of Iodine-131 and lessen its affect on thyroid. Potassium iodide is very effective as a protective agent for this kind of radiation, while it is not useful for any other kind of radioactive pollution.
Thyroid is unable to differ radioactive iodine forms from stable, and absorbs both identically. Normally thyroid gland absorbs a half of all iodine got into the body. Children much more actively absorb radioactive iodine. Moreover, Iodine-131 easily breaks placenta barrier and can accumulate in glands of embryo. The risk of goitrous tumous in women is four times bigger than in men, the risk in children is three-four times more than in adults. That is why providing enough stable iodine is so important for minimizing the influence of Iodine-131 radiation on the organism.
Kalium Iodide is one of the most effective medications for providing such kind of protection. Its protection effect lasts about 24 hours. The most effective therapy implies daily dosing during the whole period of radioiodine exposure until the risk of inhaling or digesting it comes to zero.
The original Geiger counter was invented by Ernest Rutherford and Hans Geiger in 1908 for detecting alpha particles. Later, in 1928, it was revised by Geiger and Walther Mueller for being able to also detect other forms of radiation. The sensor of Geiger counter is a central metal wire anode that is surrounded by a thin neon-filled metal cathode tube, also containing argon and a halogen gas. The sensor can detect radiation by assessing how much the gas inside the tube is ionized.
In order to start using the Geiger counter, turn it on to apply an electrical charge to the anode wire. After this the counter will click or flash about 10-20 times a minute by detecting background radiation. Then pass the sensor called a Geiger-Mueller tube over the prepared material with the thin mica window in such a way that it faces the material for evaluation. If there is radiation in the material, it will pass through the window and ionize the gas inside the tube.
All you need to do now is to study the readout, which can be a needled meter, flashing LED or audible clicking. In case that one is higher than the level of the background radiation, it means that the material is radioactive. In order to determine the degree of radiation, read the attached meter or count the number of clicks or flashes.
If you replace the gas in the sensor with boron trifluoride and add a plastic moderator, the device can be used to detect neutrons. When you use the Geiger counter, make sure you wear appropriate radiation protection. You should know that alpha particles (helium nuclei) are low-energy radiation, which can be stopped by a few inches of air, layers of clothing or sheets of paper. Then, beta particles (high-energy electrons) are more powerful and can even penetrate aluminum sheeting 3 mm thick. Finally, gamma particles, or high-energy photons, are able to penetrate a few centimeters of lead and therefore you need thick lead shielding to stop it.
You should also take into account that all Geiger counters have a small amount of “dead time” between particles ionizing the gas in its sensor. This time is normally measured in microseconds, and there’s a special mathematical formula to compensate for dead time. However, usually dead time can be ignored, unless you deal with high-energy radiation.
In addition, Geiger counters are only able to detect the presence and intensity of radiation, but if you need to determine particle energy levels, you should use a proportional counter. Finally, Geiger counter can’t properly measure the presence of radon gas in a home, so you are recommended to buy a radon detector with an activated charcoal filter for this purpose.
KI, or potassium iodide, is normally used for radiological emergencies, since it’s a thyroidal blocking agent. KI is often used by emergency workers, people who are institutionalized, and those who reside within a 10-mile radius of a nuclear power plant. Moreover, back in 2001, the Food and Drug Administration even developed guidance over the use of potassium iodide in radiation emergencies. In addition, KI is used as a preparation for thyroid surgery, as well as a treatment for high thyroid levels in health care. It may also be used as an expectorant.
KI or Potassium Iodide pills use
KI is recommended to be used in radiation emergencies due to the fact that it can protect the thyroid gland from radio-iodine. If you inhale or ingest food contaminated by radio-iodine, it may cause injury to the thyroid, as iodine will accumulate in the thyroid gland. Meanwhile, the amount of radio-iodine up-taken by the thyroid can be reduced by infusing the thyroid gland with KI.
KI is recommended to be taken before you are exposed to radio-iodine, or right after you are exposed. Although potassium iodide can be taken up to 3 or 4 hours after exposure, it won’t be that effective. KI should be taken once every day until the end of radiation emergency. If it is prescribed as a medical treatment, it needs to be taken 3 or 4 times a day after meal with water. By the way, it is important to consume large quantities of fluids, especially water, while using this medication.
The proper dosage is based on your age and weight, and KI can be taken in pill or liquid forms that are both available over the counter. Legal marketing of the brand names Iosat, ThyroSafe, and ThyroShield are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but they may not be easily located in shops. Meanwhile, they can be easily obtained online and stored away, as KI has a shelf life of 5 to 7 years.
There are some side effects of KI, including loss of appetite and stomach distress, but these effects may disappear after several days. In case you experience other side effects like fever, sores in your mouth, vomiting, rash, nausea, swelling in your neck and throat, tingling and numbness in hands and feet, stomach pains, irregular heartbeat, or a metallic taste in the mouth, you are recommended to consult your doctor.
Your doctor should be also informed of any medications you are currently taking, especially potassium supplements, thyroid medication, lithium or diuretics, as well as over-the-counter medications. Finally, if you show sensitivity to iodine, it is recommended that you inform your doctor or avoid taking KI.
One of the main medications for preventing the influence of radioactive iodine on thyroid gland is potassium iodide. It is a salt that contains stable iodine. When it gets to the body, it serves as a blocker of radioactive iodine isotopes absorption by thyroid gland, preventing the organ from harmful radiation injury. It is available in two forms – potassium iodide tablets and potassium iodide liquid. 1 ml of liquid contains 65 mg of potassium iodide that is also known as kalium iodide or KI. The medication is taken orally.
Potassium Iodide Liquid
In order to maximize the effect of KI therapy it is important to know a few facts. KI is maximally effective when taken right before or right after the internal contamination. The internal contamination is ingress of radioactive iodine isotopes (I-131) to the organism by breathing, eating or drinking. Starting the therapy in 24 hours after contamination is almost non-effective. Potassium iodide prevents only thyroid glands from absorption of radioactive iodine, while the other organs stay unprotected.
The effect of I-131 on thyroid may cause different disorders, up to the gland dysfunction, hormonal disbalance and even cancer. The severity of these effects depends on how much I-131 was absorbed by the gland. The important action of potassium iodide liquid is its ability to block the absorption of I-131 by filling the thyroid up with stable iodine. The gland cannot absorb iodine more than it needs for functioning, so when it is already full of this element, the rest of it in the body stays unabsorbed. This is the main mechanism of protecting thyroid from I-131 radiation.
Potassium iodide can be taken by patients of all ages, including breast-fed newborns, children, women who are breastfeeding. The dosage required for neutralizing the action of I-131 is defined by emergency officials if some nuclear accident took place. Self-therapy is strongly not recommended, as potassium iodide is effective only for I-131, while there can be a various number of other radiation sources released into the environment. If there is no I-131 released, potassium iodide is not effective and may even cause serious negative side effects.
Potassium iodide liquid is taken diluted in a glass of water of juice. It can be taken with or without food. Taking it with food helps to relieve stomach irritation. Never overdose the medication, this may lead to iodine poisoning.
How to use Potassium Iodide Liquid:
Use Potassium Iodide Liquid as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
Potassium Iodide Liquid may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
Dilute each dose in a glass (8 oz/240 mL) of water or fruit juice before taking. Follow each dose with another glass of water.
Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
If you miss a dose of Potassium Iodide Liquid, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Potassium Iodide Liquid.
Usual Adult Dose for Radiation Emergency
Pregnant or lactating women with exposure >= 5 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
>18 and <=40 years with exposure >= 10 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
>40 years with exposure >= 500 centigrays (cGy): 130 mg orally per day.
In case when there is a danger of injuring by radiation it is entirely important to provide maximum protection to minimize the influence of radiation on health. One of such measures is timely blockade of absorbing the radioactive isotopes by the organism. There is a medication used for this, it is known as Anti-Radiation Pill. This pill has one active ingredient – potassium iodide. It is an iodic salt that contains stable iodine. When the thyroid gland has a deficit of iodine, it absorbs it from blood. Iodine comes to blood by inhaling the air, from food and drinks. Thyroid gland doesn’t take more iodine than it needs. When radioactive iodine isotopes are got into the body, and thyroid is filled up with iodine, it won’t absorb harmful Iodine-131 and it will be excreted in the urine. In this way the thyroid can be protected from 97% of this harmful element that cause disorders of different severity up to cancer. The Anti-Radiation Pill provides stable iodine that fills up thyroid and prevent it from absorbing radioactive one. Such medications are also called thyroid blockers.
Mention that it is not the universal radiation-protective medication. It is effective for neutralizing the influence of Iodine-131 only. Moreover, it doesn’t protect any other organ except thyroid. This gland collects maximum of radioactive iodine, so its protection is entirely important in case of nuclear accident or the using of nuclear weapon. Its use is approved by FDA, fully legal and usually used as a massive therapy for the population located in the affected areas.
Potassium iodide is used also for treating various thyroid disorders, some skin conditions and other diseases, it can be bought without prescription in different forms. The medication in the form of Anti-Radiation Pill also can be bought freely, but using it is strongly recommended only by prescription or the instructions of health officials. The therapy can take place only when it is a real danger to be affected with radiation, in other cases it is useless at least, and can lead to different unwanted side effects.
Take the pills as the instructions state, don’t overdose, follow the schedule and don’t miss doses. It is important as one Anti-Radiation Pill protects the thyroid only for 24 hours. It blocks only the absorption of incoming Iodine-131, so the quicker you start taking it, the better protection you will provide.
The most popular form of potassium iodide is pills that contain 130 mg or 65 mg of this chemical. It is widely used in medicine for treating various thyroid disorders caused by the deficit of iodine. Over the last few decades it is actively used as a barrier for the effect of Iodine-131 radiation. This radioactive isotope is easily absorbed by thyroid and causes irreversible dysfunction, cells mutation and numerous kinds of tumours including thyroid cancer. Potassium iodide pills are able to provide up to 97% protection from Iodine-131 for thyroid if taken timely and in correct dosing. There are some special peculiarities of potassium iodide therapy that is useful to know before starting it.
Potassium iodide pills
Usually this medication is prescribed by a doctor. Self-therapy is not recommended, as taking it for no reason or doing this incorrectly may lead to nothing but negative consequences to the health. In the case of nuclear accident the decision of mass potassium iodide therapy is made by emergency control authorities. In this case all the population located on the affected territory gets appropriate treatment. Being a universal medication, potassium iodide pills can be taken by the patients of all ages.
Two pill forms are available – 130 mg and 65 mg pills. The 130 mg is a daily dose for an adult that is able to block the intake of radioactive iodine by thyroid for 24 hours. The daily dose for children at the age of 3 – 18 years is 65 mg. Women who are breastfeeding should take 130 mg dose daily. Pregnant women are allowed to take potassium iodide to protect the fetus from radioactive I-131. It is not recommended to take the medication by adults over 40, except the cases of emergency need.
Mention that potassium iodide doesn’t protect the body from radiation intake, it just blocks thyroid from absorbing the radioactive iodine, not providing protection to other organs. It is recommended to take potassium iodide pills as soon as possible after the release of radioactive Iodine-131 for maximal effect. Taking it in 6 hours after the internal contamination is almost useless.
One-time daily intake is enough for protecting thyroid for 24 hours. The treatment may last more than one day, if I-131 is present in the environment longer. In case of skin or thyroid diseases the drug should be taken under the care of physician. Don’t take it if you are allergic to iodine, this can lead to fatal outcome.