Answer to Question #5705 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I have a large collection of glassware, particulary Vaseline® glass from pre-WWII, thus containing uranium oxide. For enjoyment and company eye openers, I keep five fluorescent shop lights on it almost 24/7. My questions are (1) is this too much human exposure? and (2) is it possible to "burn out" if exposed to fluorescent lighting all of the time?
You don't need to worry. The glow produced by the fluorescent lights is not ionizing radiation, but ordinary light. And it is not possible to "burn out" the uranium fluorescence even if kept under fluorescent lights 24/7. But just how big is your collection? If you have dozens of items containing uranium oxide, you may wish to get a professional evaluation of the associated radiation field. Your state health department can help with this.Ron Kathren, CHP
Editor's Note: Ask the Experts Question 11320 gives more information on Vaseline® glass.