Radioactivity in consumer products
The use of radioactive substances in consumer products is restricted by radiation legislation. However, some products may contain small quantities of radioactive substances that may have been added for properties such as heat resistance, refractive index or colour. For example, radioactivity may be present in some watches, compasses, lamps and jewellery.
Properties can be achieved by the addition of artificial radioactive substances such as promethium-147, krypton-85 or americium-241, or natural radioactive substances such as uranium-238, uranium-235, thorium-232 and their decay products and potassium-40.
Regulation of radiating products
Depending on the radioactivity of the product, it will determine how they are regulated and whether there are requirements or restrictions on their use, import or disposal as waste. This page contains information on radioactive consumer products and some other radioactive substances that consumers may encounter
Uranium and thorium are nuclear materials subject to international safeguards and holders are generally subject to extensive accounting and reporting obligations. However, small quantities of uranium and thorium in utility items and equipment are, in principle, excluded from international safeguards. However, the import and possession of semi-finished products and raw materials containing uranium and thorium require notification to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). STUK will provide the notifier with a copy of the declaration for the customs authorities, if necessary. The copy is marked to indicate that the import does not require a license under the Nuclear Energy Act
Customs notifies STUK if radiating products or materials are detected at the Finnish borders.
Some foods can be irradiated to improve their shelf life, such as spices. Irradiated foods are safe.
Radioactive substances in consumer products
References and additional information
- IAEA Safety Standards, Radiation Safety for Consumer Products (2016) (pdf)
- Systematic radiological assessment of exemptions for source and byproduct materials (2001) Nureg-1717 U.S. Nuclear regulatory commission (pdf)
- Radiological implications of the use of uranium in vaseline glass, Watson SJ ja Hughes JS (2010) Journal of Radiological protection, 30, 535–544 (pdf)