Radioactive Devices

The Problem

Radioactive materials are present in various medical, commercial, and industrial-use devices, including smoke detectors, exit signs, nuclear gauges, and x-ray machines. Because the radioactivity is encased during use, these products represent minimal risk to public health. However, if the device is damaged or disassembled, these radioactive sources can potentially contaminate the environment and endanger human safety. 


A Solution


The Product Stewardship Institute has explored product stewardship solutions for two types of devices containing radioactive materials: tritium exit signs and industrial fixed nuclear gauges. Fixed nuclear gauges are used to monitor and measure parameters such as density, thickness, and moisture content for industrial applications. Through extensive interviews and stakeholder outreach, PSI identified low-level awareness of problems associated with sealed source devices and the availability of alternatives. We also recognized a lack of pressure from the public or policymakers on companies to make alternative technologies a priority. 

PSI's Role in Delivering Solutions

Provides Project Implementation and Evaluation Support


On an ongoing basis, PSI provides technical support for stakeholders to launch a new radioactive device initiative or to modify an existing program, For example, PSI evaluated the management and disposal of self-luminous or tritium exit signs and considered the potential to reduce or eliminate the use of radioactive materials such as fixed nuclear gauges at industrial manufacturing facilities.


Advocates for EPR Legislation

PSI monitors, informs and advocates for product stewardship legislation for radioactive devices. We offer expert testimony supporting EPR legislation for hearings. Though there are no current EPR laws focusing on radioactive devices, PSI tracks the progress of bills regarding smoke detectors and other similar devices.


We provide exclusive legislative resources for PSI Members and Partners – login or learn more.


Brings Stakeholders Together

PSI facilitates conversations between stakeholders so that state and local governments, and even federal agencies, can create programs and develop solutions that address the need for convenient, safe disposal of radioactive devices.


In 2003, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) collaborated to evaluate the management and disposal of self-luminous or tritium exit signs. This work includes a Background Research Report and Stakeholder Discussions.


Conducts Research

PSI offers research and analytical services to inform and shape product stewardship policy. In 2003, PSI conducted research and compiled a background report on the national dialogue related to radioactive devices for US EPA. The report covered alternative technologies that can perform equivalent functions to tritium exit signs and fixed nuclear gauges, advances in industry’s use of alternative devices, stakeholder attitudes regarding alternatives, and the potential for expanded adoption of alternative technologies.


To view existing product stewardship laws in the U.S., visit our State EPR Laws page. To view pending and active legislation in the U.S.privileged content available exclusively to PSI Members and Partnerslogin here.

For more information, please contact Scott Cassel at (617) 236-4822. 

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