Devices Containing Radium Luminous Compounds
Could your collectible be radioactive?
Do you collect antique or military items such as marine compasses or aircraft instruments? Some of these collectibles could be radioactive without you even knowing!
Radium is a radioactive element found naturally in the environment. Until the 1960s, various consumer and military products were manufactured using a radium-based, glow-in-the-dark paint.
The most common radium luminous devices (RLDs) are aircraft instruments. Although the radium in these devices remains radioactive for thousands of years, the paint itself breaks down and may no longer glow.
RLDs are generally not identified as containing radioactive materials. Only a radiation detection instrument can confirm if radium is present.
Device being tested to confirm
the presence of radium.
Handled and stored properly, an intact RLD is safe. Tips for safety include not opening your RLD and wearing gloves when handling it. If it's cracked or damaged, it needs to be properly disposed of.
In order to protect people and the environment, the possession, the use and transfer of radium is regulated by CNSC. A person may possess, transfer and use any number of radium luminous devices without a licence, provided that radium is the only nuclear substance in the device and the device is intact and not tampered with.
The CNSC will participate at a few military heritage tradeshows to educate collectors and help identify the presence of radium in their collectibles. Find out more.
For more information about devices containing radium luminous compounds, radiation hazards and licensing information, please see: