Share This

Consumer Products

Many consumer products—from smoke detectors to photocopiers, and watches to cosmetics—use small amounts of radiation.

From Smoke Detectors to Sterile Bandages

Many consumer products—from smoke detectors to photocopiers, and watches to cosmetics—use small amounts of radiation. Myriad products that people use in daily life contains some radioactive material:

  • Many smoke detectors—installed in nearly 90 percent of U.S. homes—rely on a tiny radioactive source to sound an alarm when smoke is present.
  • Watches and clocks that "glow in the dark" use a small quantity of a radioisotope as a source of light.
  • Computer disks "remember" data better when treated with radioisotopes.
  • Treating nonstick pans with radiation ensures that the coating will stick to the surface.
  • Photocopiers use small amounts of radiation to eliminate static and prevent paper from sticking together and jamming the machine.
  • Radiation sterilizes cosmetics, hair products and contact lens solutions, removing irritants and allergens.
  • Radiation sterilizes medical bandages and a variety of personal health and hygiene products.