They're photoluminescent materials - "light stores". The material is
mostly inert, so maybe harmful if you eat a lot of it and choke...
They absorb light, then give it off later, rather than being chemically
activated like "night sticks" or radiactive...
I have a torch with a rubbery shroud that glows with this stuff, but
it needs to have been exposed to itself or daylight before it glows for
any length of time.
Strontium aluminate is the modern GID substance, completely non
radioactive and with a visible glow time typically in excess of 8
hours, zinc sulphide is the older GID material with a glow time lucky
to stretch to 30 mins again completely non radioactive.
Tritium glow rings, keyring phial of tritium in phosphor coated tube ,
are radioactive but very weakly , it dosent escape the confines of its
glass tube.Banned from sale in US because tritium is an acelerator in
a hydrogen bomb.Though US sources its tritium from UK`s Calderhall
reactor as US don`t still have facilities.
Radium was the WW1/II GID substance that leaves a toxic legacy
everywhere, girls who worked with it frequently died of mouth cancer
beacuse they licked the paint brushes to a point befor applying it to
aircraft dials etc, it turms up as a radioactive hazard in all sorts
of places from manufacture and scrap, radioactive spots were found on
Dalgety Bay shore on the Forth..
Also used as excuse for radioactive spots, Woolwich Arsenal had a
radioactive cleanup blamed on radium, reality was irrradited body
parts buried on site, that had been obtained from local teaching
hospitals for examination of radiation effects, but buried aircraft
dials sounds better than radioactive body bits.
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