14 January 2012

This is a radioactive tissue holder

The incident is all over the news today, so it's not a "TYWK," but I found several aspects interesting.  As reported by the Washington Post:
Metal tissue holders contaminated with low levels of radioactive material may have been distributed to Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in more than 20 states including New York, federal regulators said Thursday...
The problem is described as a rather minor one -
“If someone has one of these, they could receive a small radiation dose from it,” he said. For example, he said someone keeping one of the boxes on a vanity in the bathroom and spending about 30 minutes a day near it for a year would receive the equivalent of a couple of chest x-rays..."
The curmudgeon in us wants to point out that if you kept it next to your bed rather than in your bathroom, you would be exposed for 8 hours a day and thus get the equivalent of perhaps 32 xrays per year.  But it's not really that much radiation.  Only enough to do this -
The contamination was first discovered in California when two packages bound for Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in Santa Clara and San Jose containing four tissue holders triggered radiation alarms at truck scales, according to a Jan. 6 report posted on the NRC website.
I wouldn't worry about it.


  1. Doctors get worried about order far fewer xrays than 32 per year. I would worry about it if one of these was near my bed.

  2. You're naturally exposed to around 20 x-rays worth of radiation per year. A single CT scan is worth 100+ x-rays.

    The lowest dose found to increase your chance of getting cancer is about 10,000 x-rays worth-- ANNUALLY.

    It's not going to make you grow a third eye or anything.

    That said, I'd be worried if one of these things were next to my newborn's crib.

  3. Or if your wife was in the first tri-mester

  4. There was a case a few years ago where a hospital in Texas donated an obsolete radiation therapy machine to a hospital in Mexico. The Mexican hospital didn't have a use for it
    so they stuck it in a closet. Someone stole it from the closet and sold it for scrap (including the radiation source). It came back to the US as table legs.

    It appears to happen a lot


  5. I do worry about it. Chernobyl had and no doubt Japan has their looters who will be scavenging scrap for quick cash...
    So they caught my tissue holder. What if my waste bins, sink, faucet's, pots and pans, eyeglass frames, etc. all have similar low doses that individually are 'harmless'.
    Top that off with states like Texas whose revisions to the EPA hid their radioactive tap water and you'll have clusters that noone will be able to explain because everything, tested on its own, was measured as 'acceptable'.
    The same logic is applied to 'non-toxic' because almost nothing is tested with its related products.
    How long did it take for us to figure out alcohol and aspirin was a bad idea?

  6. http://nukefree.org/news/Thousandsofconsumerproductsfoundtocontainlowlevelsofradiation

    This has been a problem for some time. I remember reading about the brand name cheese grater that was giving off enough radiation that it was the equivalent to a chest x-ray every 36 hours (although our cheese graters do not see that much use).

    There was also the incident with the "hot" metal frames for a popular brand of recliners.

    I think of all the metal gadgets I have and I would love to test them out of curiosity.

  7. So, was it made in China? Sounds like their style.

    This story goes a long way in convincing me that you've got to carry a radiation detector everywhere, including restauarants, btw.

    So, what was the source of this radioactive additive.

  8. In reading these comments about other instances, I recall an x-President wanting to add radioactive waste to tools, such as hammers as a way of getting rid of it. I thought that concept was killed. Maybe it was just a hope.

    Disturbing, at the least. Nuclear power should be killed, imo. The waste problem isn't going away and Japan proves the danger. Those poor people are eating and exporting radiated food and drink. There is really no need for nuclear,, there are plenty of alternatives, including gas for electric.

  9. LindaK, if you would read the links you could find out the reported source (though that may not be the original source since materials get transshipped).


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