Given that the world currently sits on the edge of its seat waiting patiently(?) for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to figure out how best to clean up a radioactive mess at the Fukushima site damaged by a massive tsunami in March 2011, it comes as no surprise to us that we have recently received a number of inquiries regarding radioactivity testing and water samples.

At this point the notion of radioactivity reaching US shores seems implausible given the distance between Japan and the United States but… stranger things have happened, right?

The most recent inquiry about radiation testing came from ‘Uriah’ who asked, “The news won’t stop about the nuclear meltdown in Japan and quite frankly my wife and me live on the West Coast where [censored] from that earthquake tsunami thing a few years ago has already showed up. Shouldn’t we be testing the water and all the [censored] that washes up for radioactivity? Can we do that on a budget or do we need to call someone?”

From what we have read, on the topic of radioactive debris washing ashore here in the United States nothing has shown up — yet. Could it happen? We imagine so, but for the most part the debris ripped out to see came from non-radioactive locations so the bulk of what has washed up and may still wash up ought not contain radioactive material.

DX-1 & DX-2 Personal Radiation Monitor
DX-1 & DX-2 Personal Radiation Monitor

Testing for radiation on one’s own?

Years ago only high end laboratories and specialized crews possessed radiation detectors due to the devices’ ridiculously high pricing… but those days have long since departed.

Nowadays folks interested rock collecting as a hobby (or as a profession) use radiation detectors to help identify specific rock samples and ‘Doomsday Preppers’ stash Geiger counters in personal emergency preparedness and survival packs.

As a general rule the average person can pick up a decent radiation detector for around $280 to $300 that will do the job effectively. At this time we carry the DX-1 radiation monitors and DX-2 radiation monitors made by Industrial Test Systems, Inc.

Obviously you will not want to submerge the electronic DX-1 or DX-2 radiation monitors in water, as that would ruin them, but if a water sample emits radioactive particles getting the meter close to the sample (w/in a few inches) will cause the meter to react.