Friday, August 30, 2013

Basic information on testing food with a Geiger counter This guy does a good job of explaining some difficulties of testing food for radiation. One big point that he doesn't emphasize, is that the water in the food will block MUCH of the radiation, as our prime focus is measuring Beta radiation which is mostly blocked with 1 to 2 CM of wet material (be it fruit or flesh). Alpha is stopped by air and paper, so you won't detect much Alpha (but don't get a false sense of security, if Alpha gets inside your body it stops quickly but packs a punch about 20 time stronger than Beta or Gamma. Gamma can travel quite some distance through flesh or fruits, but is less common. The water blocking effects on Beta are therefore the most important factor in making food difficult to test. Also, no offense to the video guy, as he did an overall fine job, but he let his geiger come into contact with the food item. That could contaminate and make the Geiger useless. Long term testing (the only way to have a chance of testing food) requires a 10 minute sample time or more. So you need to McGyver up a little standoff mechanism to get close but not touch. A better way to test foods and liquids is to dehydrate the material completely. This could aerosolize some radiation, but you were going to eat the item anyway, right? Well be careful, maybe use and outdoor solar dehydrator or ventilation.

1 comment:

  1. The quality of food is an extremely important issue in today’s world. A number of regulations have been enforced by a number of international bodies controlling the quality of foods available in the market places.