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
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
Answered by: Scott Grasmick, B.A., Health Physicist, Bremerton, WA
'In a way science is a key to the gates of heaven, and the same key opens the gates of hell, and we do not have any instructions as to which is which gate.
Shall we throw away the key and never have a way to enter the gates of heaven? Or shall we struggle with the problem of which is the best way to use the key?'