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October 16, 2021

Radioactive Tape Dispenser

[This 3M tape dispenser (1970s/1980s vintage) is weighted with a solid ballast of sand and resin. However, they inadvertently used monazite sand, which contains elevated amounts of thorium. The result is a radioactive tape dispenser.]

My Crack Gotham Correspondent©® sent me this link the evening of October 3 following my post that morning featuring my favorite tape dispenser, which appears in a radioactive iteration in the video up top.

From the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Museum of Radiation and Radioactivity:

This is a 3M Model C-15 Decor Scotch tape dispenser.

Screen Shot 2021-10-10 at 10.42.43 AM

It is slightly radioactive due to the thorium-containing monazite sand that was used as ballast.

The brown sand, mixed with an epoxy resin, can be seen in the photograph below

Screen Shot 2021-10-10 at 10.42.42 AM

where the rubber on the bottom of the dispenser has been pulled back.

This particular example came from a 55-gallon drum of tape dispensers that the U.S. Army was about to dispose of as radioactive waste.

My understanding of the story is that a technician at a hospital in Alabama was performing a radiological survey in his office when he discovered that his tape dispenser, I believe it was green, was radioactive.

This was sometime in the late 1970s, or perhaps, early 1980s.

The dispenser was then sent to Oak Ridge Associated Universities where they identified the cause of the radioactivity.

October 16, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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