Health physics

Radioactivity released from burning gas lantern mantles.

PMID 6706595


Gas lantern mantles contain thorium to produce incandescence when lantern fuel is burned on the mantle. Although only thorium is initially present on the mantle, the thorium daughters build up, some over a period of weeks and some over a period of years, and significant quantities of these daughters are present when the mantle is used. Some of these daughters are released when the lantern fuel is burned on the mantle. The amounts of radioactivity released during burning is studied by measuring the gamma radiation emitted by the daughters. Results of this study show that some of the radium (224Ra and 228Ra) and more than half the 212Pb and 212Bi is released during the first hour of a burn. The actual amounts release depend on the age of the mantle.