Radium is a radioactive element found naturally in the environment. Until the 1960s, various consumer and military products were manufactured using a radium-based, glow-in-the-dark paint.
The most common radium luminous devices (RLDs) are aircraft instruments. Although the radium in these devices remains radioactive for thousands of years, the paint itself breaks down and may no longer glow.
RLDs are generally not identified as containing radioactive materials. Only a radiation detection instrument can confirm if radium is present.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will participate at a few military heritage tradeshows to educate collectors and help identify the presence of radium in their collectibles. Find out more.
Visit nuclearsafety.gc.ca/radium for more information on radium luminous devices.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment; and to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.