Tritium in Exit Signs
                                                                                    Exit Sign
Many exit signs contain tritium' to light the sign without batteries or electricity.

      Using tritium in exit signs allows the sign to remain lit if the power goes out.

      Tritium  is most dangerous when it is inhaled or swallowed.

      Never tamper with a tritium exit sign.

      If a tritium exit sign is broken, leave the area immediately and call for help.

About Tritium in Exit Signs

Exit signs are mounted in almost every building we enter; schools, grocery stores,
movie theaters and shopping malls. Many exit signs contain tritium, the radioactive
form of hydrogen. When tritium is mixed with certain chemicals, it creates a
continuous, self-powered light source. Tritium exit signs are used when dim light is
needed, but using batteries or electricity is not possible. Tritium can be naturally
produced or man-made. Exit signs use man-made tritium.

Using tritium in exit signs allows the sign to remain lit if the  power goes out as it might
if there is a storm or a fire. If a tritium exit sign is severely damaged the tritium could
be released. Because a damaged tritium exit sign will have relatively high levels of
tritium in  it,  you should leave the area immediately and call for help.

Damage to tritium  exit signs is most likely to occur when a sign is dropped during installation or smashed in the
demolition of a building. Unwanted tritium exit signs may not be put into ordinary trash. Tritum exit signs
that are illegally put in ordinary landfills can break and  contaminate the groundwater. Tritium exit signs require
special disposal. The person who was put in charge of the tritium exit signs when they were purchased is
responsible for disposing of them. That  person must follow special rules for their disposal.
Tritium emits beta particles, which are most harmful when inhaled or
swallowed.  Internal contamination occurs when people swallow or
breathe in radioactive materials, or when radioactive materials enter
the body through an open wound or are absorbed through the skin.
Tritium must be ingested in large amounts to pose a significant
health risk.

Rules and Guidance

U.S.  ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
Under the Clean Air Act", EPA sets limits for the release of hazardous air pollutants like tritium into the air.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act'", EPA sets limits for acceptable levels of tritium in drinking water. Under the
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)iv, commonly known as
Superfund,  EPA responds directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances like tritium.
                                                                Remember: If a tritium exit sign is
                                                                broken, leave the area immediately.
  United States Environmental Protection Agency | Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (6608T) | EPA 402-F-14-007 | August 2014 | p. 1

-------
U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC)

Manufacturers and distributors of tritium exit signs must receive a radioactive materials license from NRC or an
Agreement State.  Facilities that use tritium exit signs must put one person in charge of making sure that NRC
or Agreement State regulations are followed. These regulations include such rules as ensuring that the
radioactive symbol remains on the sign, making sure signs are disposed of properly and notifying NRC or the
Agreement State when a sign is no longer in use.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (DOL), OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
(OSHA)

The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration makes rules and standards to keep
workers safe in many workplace settings including construction and demolition.

THE STATES
Each state has a radiation safety program that will respond to and investigate incidents involving tritium and
other radionuclides.
Most states have signed formal agreements with NRC, providing the states regulatory responsibility over small
quantities of special nuclear material and its source and byproducts. These states are known as Agreement
States.

What you can do

Tritium exit signs are the responsibility of building owners. However, it's important to:

       Learn to recognize tritum exit signs. Tritium exit signs use tubes that contain tritium to spell out the
       word "EXIT" in green or red glowing light when the lights are out. They should be labeled as having
       tritium inside.

       Never tamper with a tritium exit sign.

       Learn to recognize a damaged tritium EXIT sign. All four letters in "EXIT" should be lit.  If a letter or part
       of a letter is not lit,  the sign may be damaged.

       Do not touch a damaged tritium EXIT sign.

       Leave the area around a damaged tritium EXIT sign immediately.

       Report damaged tritium exit signs. At school, you should report the damaged sign to a teacher, a janitor
       or someone in the  main office. In other buildings, you can  report the problem to a security guard.


Where to learn more

You can learn more about tritium exit signs by visiting the resources available on the following webpage:
http://www.epa.gov/radtown/tritium-exit-signs.htmltflearn-more.
' http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/tritium.html
" http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/peg/
"' http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/
iv http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm
  United States Environmental Protection Agency | Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (6608T) | EPA 402-F-14-007 | August 2014 | p. 2

-------