As they age, tritium EXIT signs become less effective and more toxic, as the tritium gas inside them is converted to the more toxic oxide form. One sign, thrown into a landfill can create significant groundwater pollution.
Various American authorities have recently posted detailed information on the internet about responsible management of tritium EXIT signs. Authorities in the United States appear to be way ahead of their Canadian counterparts in addressing the serious problems created by use and disposal of these signs, many of which are manufactured in Canada.
In the U.S., the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency all have prohibited use of tritium signs. Here are two informative web resources created recently by American authorities.
1) Responsible Management of tritium EXIT signs - excellent on-line training module from the Environmental Protection Agency that includes information on health risks, a key to identify tritium signs, recommended alternatives, and safe procedures for disposal.
2) Bureau of Radiation Protection, State of Pennsylvania - detailed webpage with much information about the problems with tritium exit signs.
TAP asks “Where is Canada’s information on responsibly dealing with tritium exit signs”?