The Geigerboy Website
April 11, 2011
We sold all our available merchandise, and aren't sure what we're going to do with this website next. We still have our collection of older and interesting geiger counters and radiation detectors, and we may have some educational purpose on the 'net, yet.
If you're concerned about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant failure and crisis, a good place for daily updated information is http://iaea.org
For those who wonder why we're not selling equipment in these panicky times, and raking in the big bucks, it's pretty simple. When everything is working well (like before March 7), there is almost no civilian demand for radiation detectors and dosimeters. When problems flare up, and the public gets scared, small companies can't get any product to stock.
Staffing and running a company, maintaining stock, and keeping import contracts current when dealing with former Eastern Bloc nations is a big deal. Soviet ways die hard, and sometimes not at all. The people we dealt with in Belorus and the Ukraine are wonderful, accommodating people, they produce an excellent product for the money, but they're working in difficult conditions, with occasionally-ridiculous government regulations to deal with, currency controls, a broken, corrupt mail system, and supply shortages. They're sometimes unable to acquire the parts they need to build their products.
Why didn't we deal with U.S. companies, you ask? Simple. Laboratory-grade equipment is just too expensive, and/or complicated, for casual use, and much of the "civil-defense readiness" grade of equipment is *cough*, *cough*, crap. "Thanks" to Chernobyl, a civilian need for equipment in order to live in a contaminated environment established a serious domestic industry in that region. Thanks to bureacrats, those companies needed their equipment certified in government-approved laboratories as to their accuracy and reliability. So, for the money, good stuff.
So, thanks for everything. I'm especially grateful for all I learned doing this, the conferences I attended, and the people I met at Homeland Security and the NYPD (Hey, Inspector Graham, if you're not going to return my sample, at least buy me that hat you promised! :-) Thanks especially to Yuri and everyone at Ecotest. You guys are the best. Sorry I couldn't pull a rabbit out of a hat. Would have been fun.
I'm not the biggest company to run into these problems, either. The largest Polimaster importer in the U.S. got out of the business a few years back, despite their belt-mount units being preferred by many police departments.
Here's some advice. If you live in the U.S., please try not to panic. You're likely not in any danger today from Fukushima Daiichi, or that 30 year old plant up the river from you. But, get on your elected representatives to do something about the storage of spent fuel, because some plants have accumulated thousands of tons of the stuff, and that's often the most dangerous and vulnerable part of a nuke plant, and the biggest menace to the environment should something go wrong. Long term low-level contamination of food and water is a huge concern from accidents like Fukushima Daiichi, so I understand people wanting something to enable them to test their own food. Alas, paying for, getting training for, and maintaining such equipment is a big deal. A geiger counter won't do it for anything that's not immediately grossly contaminated. It's just not sensitive enough. You need a laboratory-grade scintillometer, computer and analysis program. Talk to your local health officials. Ask them to get equipped so they can monitor the food supply and test milk. This isn't something you can easily do on your own.
More advice if things get bad: to get rid of I-131 (radio-iodine) contamination, just store the food or drink for a couple of months. After 80 days, 99.9% will have disappeared (decayed, turned to non-radioactive xenon gas). This applies to anything, cooked or raw. Bottled water, dried milk, canned goods, frozen food, cold-stored fruit. Do bear in mind that anything that has i-131 probably also has Sr-90 or Cs-137, which isn't going away, but it's not as immediately dangerous, at least to your thyroid, because it doesn't concentrate in one spot so much. Also remember, the younger the consumer, the more dangerous radioisotopes are, firstly because the child is growing faster, and because they're going to live longer. Conversely, the older you are, the less there is to worry about. In fact, middle-age adults taking iodine pills as protection is statistically more dangerous than the stuff you're trying to protect against. People have gotten quite ill or died from sensitivity reactions. Ask your doctor.
I'll try putting the gallery back up when I get around to it. In the meantime, wikipedia has loads of educational stuff on radiation, nuclear power, and geiger counters. And DO write to your Representative and Senators and ask them for some assurance that the federal government is spending money on safety and oversight of civilian nuclear plants. That's no place to trim the budget.