Tritium nuke exit signs have been a longstanding choice for meeting building safety standards without suffering the operational expenses of electrically powered implementations. They are said to be a harmless choice for supporting evacuation measures; however, one question remains as building owners take the leap into self-luminous technology. Are Tritium nuke exit signs the best available option on the market for meeting compliance requirements? The answer to this question is simply “NO” because any item containing a radioactive material is not completely harmless. It is true that the radioactive materials used in the glass tubes of a Tritium identifier are not harmful as long as the gas and beta decay particles remain contained, but the danger of having a nuclear material throughout a structure lies in the busting or improper disposal of each tube housing the gas.
What Are The Health and Environmental Risks?
A Tritium identifier contains a series of phosphor coated glass tubes filled with a radioactive gas. The gas reacts with phosphor during beta decay to create a green or red glowing effect, which can be seen as a building becomes dark. While Tritium is fairly harmless on its own, it is the risk of mixture with additional molecules in the atmosphere that causes concern. For example, the combination of Tritium and oxygen results in tritiated water, which is capable of entering the human body or the environment. While released in low energy form, it becomes dangerous if allowed to enter the atmosphere or a person’s body in a large quantity. The radioactive molecules do not stay in the body for an extended period of time unless they are organically bound. Increased or prolonged exposure heightens the risk of cancer development in individuals. Continued release of the radioactive gas into the environment causes tritiated water to form and be absorbed into water sources, soil, and rocks. Tritium identifiers are safe when disposed of properly: however, the disposal costs per sign are quite extensive. There have been many instances of broken tubes, improper removal, and missing signs.
Why Make the Switch to Photoluminescent Exit Signs?
An alternative is available for avoiding the high electrical costs of incandescent signing and the disposal expenses of Tritium nuke exit signs. Photoluminescent products do not contain toxic materials or require energy to be seen in a dark environment. They are a cost efficient alternative to electrically powered safety products and promote environmental friendliness. A photoluminescent identifier is essentially a metal visual aid coated with a pigmented film layer capable of storing energy put off by ambient light sources. The energy is released at any time lighting becomes dim or fails to provide a visual resource for hours as occupants evacuate the building. Each identifier can be recycled rather than added to a landfill and does not have the special handling requirements of Tritium nuke exit signs. This eliminates the concern of disposal or breakages during maintenance and prevents the onset of fines for mishandling. Photoluminescent exit signs have a minimum usage life of twenty-five years with no possible hazards. They are the longest lasting and most non-toxic compliance choice on the market today.