In response to inquiries from organic food retailers, we have developed a low cost detector sensitive to the most common type of radiation: alpha particles. Alpha particle emitters are in many common household things like food grown in soil containing elements that emit alpha radiation, Radon gas, older ceramic glazes, and certain metal alloys (especially from China). Alpha radiation is of very low energy and will not even pass through skin. The danger lies in eating or inhaling alpha radiating substances where they can radiate continuously into the body’s soft tissues from the inside. With our instrument, a consumer can easily survey items for radiation. Also, natural gas and oil are natural alpha emitters, so the detector can be used to indicate the presence of some hydrocarbons.
Our product is packaged in a plastic case with a ring, small enough to go on a key chain. It can be brought out anytime to survey an item for alpha emission. It is powered with standard lithium coin cells. While it is not a Geiger counter, it chirps (like a canary) similar to one. The chirps will increase in frequency as more radiation is detected. A manual on how the device works and how to use it is included in the package.