Answer to Question #5705 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Consumer Products — Radioactive Ceramics and Glass

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.

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 21 August 2006. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.