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Medical Americium in blood stream

  1. Jan 7, 2010 #1
    Okay so I just got my new geiger counter from ebay and was taking apart an old smoke alarm to get the americium out to test it with. I was cutting away the metal housing when all of a sudden their was a snap, the cutters had bent the metal around and it had cut me. I am very scared now that the housing might have have induced radioactivity in it or that it had minute particles of americium on it that are now in my bloodstream. Does anyone know if this might be true or if I am just overeacting to a minor incident. I measured the cut with my geiger counter and it read 0. But I just cant shake the feeling that I might have americium or radioactive housing in my bloodstream right now.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2010 #2
    There is a microgram sample of Am 241 in smoke detector and is housed inside a small metal disk structure. It's very unlikely that you have it on you. If you touched the metal structure with pliers and then you cut yourself, then nothing to worry about, but if you poked the center of the disk with pliers and then cut yourself, then the worst case scenario is you have a few atoms on you and will likely urinate them out of your system. Also Am 241 is pretty much an alpha emitter which is very weak, and many Geiger counters are not deigned to pick up alpha radiation, so that's why you might not be picking anything up, except beta from other decay products.
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