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chris555

do replica airsoft sights use radioactive gas (tritium)

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just a thought but for those of us using replica sights like the susat anyone know if they use tritium gas (radioactive gas) in them i rember being given some very blunt safety advice about how dropping the sight would cause problems and mean possible trips to hospital. not sure its something i want in my house or made in china and bought for little money

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I doubt it. If they were they'd be much more expensive, and actually have the radioactivity warnings in their product descriptions as part of COSHH.

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I would doubt it , it tends to be expensive! If your worried the SOP for a real SUSAT breakage is pretty simple , if outdoors clear the area for 10 minutes then stick it in a plastic bag and bin it, the same goes for indoors but leave it about an hour with a window open then bin it IIRC :)

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I have a tritium bivvi marker and I don't remember it having a radiation warning on the package. Remember, just because something is radioactive doesn't make it necessarily dangerous.

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True ian but not knowing and have something happen semms like a recipie for disaster also as mum has had cancer recentpy i just dont want it around in the house irrational maybey but its good to know either way

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The cost of manufacturing the glass vial, coating it internally, inserting tritium gas and then sealing it before inserting said vial into replica sight is probably well outside the cost of the item as a whole. Items using sealed vials utilise far less tritium than the paint-on variety, and are isolated enough that there is no detectable additional radiation at the surface of the object, be it a scope or watch. Paint-on is just about detectable, apparently (so don't put your G10 in your underwear!).

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As far as I understand it, if any danger exists at all it isn't from Gamma radiation emanating from the tritium passing through the body, because there is almost certainly more coming from the average granite kitchen surface than a gunsight, and definitely more coming from a person undergoing that chemotherapy which uses radioactive substances. It is when Beta emitters are consumed that problems can start because the high energy electron or positron (beta- / beta+) can damage DNA.

 

There is still no need to panic though, because this exact same process occurs all the time, not merely from background radiation, or sources which have rightly or wrongly been deemed safe enough for our casual exposure, but also from free radicals which we get from food, drink, and our environment (ironically enough one strong source being fruit). Such DNA damage can result in cancer, but the difference between the damage done by beta radiation, free radicals, and carcinogenic substances is that it is random for the former two, whereas a carcinogen will attack some particular part/s of the DNA which are active in us as living organisms.

 

The DNA has an awful lot of 'junk', not just stuff which is not yet understood, stuff which is known to be inactive parts of other sequences tagged onto the ends of the active bits. It is believed that these junk bits have evolved there specifically because those of our distant ancestors who survived long enough to reproduce and parent successfully are those whom didn't die young from cancer... So the odds are very good that, even if you inhaled a tiny amount of tritium straight out of a broken sight, it would do you no harm distinguishable from the ageing process, much of which results from the "copy of a copy" effect constantly introducing minor changes in our DNA.

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You seem to be exceedingly well read Mr Gere. The radioactivity issue is something I have to teach and find it very hard getting it across to students.

 

The chance of any cheap sight or even the more expensive ones having any radioactive sources in them would be quite slim ( probably more likely by accident than design). I believe the RS deact susats that sometimes come up for sale have had the tritium removed.

 

Unfortunately radioactive sources have a bad reputation but they are everywhere and in most instances they don't have much of a noticeable effect on us. As Ian says the chance of an important piece of our DNA being altered or a mutation occurring is quite small, not 0 but very low. Not only is the chance of a mutation small, there are different types of mutation and the chance of a mutation in a length of DNA being harmful is also exceedingly small, its just as likely it would be advantageous, but most likely it will have no effect.

 

You simply need to assess the risk much like anything else, Pierre Curie placed a piece of Radium on his arm which did leave some burn style marks ( this was for an extended time at very close range) however he died after falling and being runover by a horse drawn cart. Marie did die as a result (probably) of radiation however this was after somewhere in the region of 35-38 years of working with radioactive substances, although some blame her work with a mobile x-ray machine during WWI.

 

If there was a radioactive source in anything I used I would only be concerned if I was physically handling it directly in most cases. Beta and Alpha radiation sources would only be a concern if I ingested them or had them on my skin for any extended time. Gamma is not very strongly ionising so again not a massive concern. Plus the amount of time I would spend near the object would be low in the case of airsoft use so again not a lot to worry about it.

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You seem to be exceedingly well read Mr Gere.

I'm a sponge for knowledge, even though my brain feels almost shut down these days due to my meds regime. Fortunately we don't have to remember more than the basics of anything anymore, just enough to power a search to check the facts before waffling on at any length about them :)

 

Not that I'd encourage any youngsters reading this to take what i've just written as justification for not bothering to learn, because before "the basics" alone will do, you need to know the ins and outs of a duck's arse about as much as possible so that your brain makes connections between information which comes to you from a variety of different sources and under various subject title headings: it's often called "lateral thinking". This, IMO, implies much more conscious volition than is often involved. It's a fact that many of the world's greatest scientists have reported that they have had their best ideas while doing something entirely unrelated and banal, like tidying up or having a bath (eureka!); personally, while I wouldn't claim to have a ticket to ride the same train of thought as the likes of Watson & Crick, I have had some spanking ideas whilst having a shit... it's just something our brains do on their own, so it's best to stuff them with plenty with which to work.

 

But what if we have no intention of becoming even mediocre scientists? Well, you never know what bit of random knowledge will combine with others in ways which may apply directly to your own life, or as also often happens, in ways which allow us to understand something personal by analogy to something else we have worked out from seemingly unconnected thoughts. Besides the practice is very good for intelligence in general, but specifically for understanding circumstances in which there is a legal requirement for people to disclose information which they would rather not, because they will do what they can to obscure the meaning of the info whilst still being able to point to the raw data in the public domain.

 

Politics is riddled with this: one famous example being when Tony Blair, after being repeatedly quizzed about what he knew about suspected weapons of mass destruction before the decision to go to war in Iraq, authorised the publication of the security services' briefing, which we were told was the basis for his decision, and then went on TV to say "read it yourself". If you do read it yourself you will quickly discover that there is no simple section which says "Saddam Hussein probably does have WMD", nor that he doesn't. To understand what the document actually means requires a good deal of note taking, cross referencing various facts from several paragraphs with each other and other sources, and a bit of pondering. The upshot is that in summary the briefing actually says that there was no credible threat except from close range weapons (iirc 100 miles or so) and that there was no way of telling whether or not these delivery systems could be launched armed with WMD at that time or not, nor could it be determined whether Iraq still had any WMD with which to arm them... like I said though, it doesn't actually say anything of the sort, instead it talks about various types of weapons, their suspected numbers and condition and interminable details about sources and dates. It's only when you consider how closely Iraq was under aerial and satellite surveillance plus the capabilities of military assets already in theatre, and compare these posibilities to what is permissable under international law without any need for UN Security Council Resolutions, that you realise that whatever theoretical threat may have existed from suspected Iraqi systems, in practice it would have been impossible for the Iraqis to deploy them anywhere at all where they could threaten any other country under any circumstances whatsoever and that, whilst the gassing of 5000 Kurds certainly is horrible, there is no international law which differentiates between military systems with which a Government may and may not kill its own citizens, nor indeed a prohibition against the mass killing of such citizens.

 

IMO there should be, but the point is that I could not even discuss such a complex subject unless I had previously crammed my skull with enough history, militaria, politics, law, etc. that when I wanted to check detailed facts I could create searches which got me the nitty gritty without having to wade through countless generalisations first and probably have lost the will to live somewhere along the line...

 

Anyway, it's good to be able to reason through layers of rumour, mischievous twaddle, and damned lies and statistics, to a great bargain for a bit of kit :)

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Most if not all airsoft / replica optics use LED's.

 

No radioactive substances or even lasers are used for creating holograms or dots etc.

 

Fibre sights used are similar to the neon pieces of plastic found in LEGO too.

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Tritium sights are available, for a price, from a number of online retailers. (http://www.fire-support.co.uk/product/nineball-tritium-sight-for-marui-p226 for example). There are some rather cool watches I have seen recently with Tritium elements on the hands and dial (http://armourlite.com/watches_isobrite.html). I used to have some tritium illuminated keyring tags on my keys (not to be confused with the far inferior Nite Stick devices) which I bought some years back. I think they were Beta Lights or similar ( http://www.betalight.nl/html/index.php?page_id=104 .)

 

The amount of Tritium in these things is miniscule. As others have said it is a Beta emitter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium) and Beta particles cannot penetrate skin. Inhalation would be an issue but I am pretty sure the volume of tritium in a glass vial 1mm in diameter and 5 to 10mm long (7.5mm3 or 0.0000075 litres for a 10mm log vial assuming the whole volume is gas) isn't likely to do any harm. If you live somewhere with granite around or radon you will be getting more radioactive exposure than any airsoft sight.

 

I don't think modern glow in the dark paints are radioactive at all. I believe they use rare earth fluorescent pigments which emit light after being exposed to light , preferably UV. (as seen in tracer BBs)

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