PhysLink.com Logo

Question

How many smoke detectors would it require to pose a definite health hazard in an average 3 bedroom home of approximately 2000 sq.ft. and under what conditions? (These being equipped with Americium 241)
Asked by: Richard A. Morse

Answer

A reasonable amount of smoke detectors wouldn't pose any more of a risk from the radiation than you would get from natural sources such as radon, or solar radiation.

If you are going to pile each room to the rafters with smoke detectors you would increase the health risk.

One in each room is perfectly safe.

One reason americium 241 is used is because it's a mainly a pure alpha emitter. Alpha particles are low energy and are stopped by a piece of paper or the dead skin layer on your body. The only travel a short distance in air. In addition the source used is very small.

The only way you could increase your health risk is to eat the source.
Answered by: Scott Grasmick, B.A., Health Physicist, Bremerton, WA






Support US

Our server costs have gone up and our advertising revenue has gone down. You do the math! If you find our site useful, consider donating to keep us going. Thanks!


Science Quote

'Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.'

Carl Sagan
(1934-1996)





All rights reserved. © Copyright '1995-'2018 PhysLink.com   Privacy Statement | Cookie Policy