When tritium exit signs have reached the end of their 10, 15, or 20 year lifespans, they must be properly disposed of. The tritium contained within these exit signs is relatively safe, but it is still a radioactive material that can be hazardous under some circumstances.
The National Research Council (NRC) mandates that tritium exit signs cannot be disposed of as normal trash. This means that they can't simply be tossed in a dumpster or treated like a common electric appliance. The general licensee (the person who purchases the exit sign) must transfer the sign to a specific licensee (tritium exit sign manufacturer) for code compliant disposal. Specific licensees are licensed by the NRC or an Agreement State and include manufacturers, distributors, or licensed radioactive waste brokers. General licensees, or purchasers, do not need clearance from the NRC but are subject to regulatory requirements and inspections. Fines may occur if the purchaser has been found to violate any of these regulations. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to inform purchasers of the tritium exit sign of the regulatory requirements.
Tritium exit sign disposal is quick and easy. Simply purchase one tritium recycling product per exit sign that needs to be disposed of. Two-sided signs are considered two separate tritium exit signs, so two recycling products will need to be selected. When the paperwork arrives, fill it out with the information regarding your specific tritium exit sign and email it back to us. We then produce a Disposal Control Number (DCN), which is unique to your exit sign, and needs to be included on the label when the tritium exit sign is shipped back to us. This identifies the fixture and allows the NRC to monitor activity. Once we receive the exit signs in the mail, we take care of the rest and the process is complete. It is always cheaper to recycle a tritium exit sign if a new one is being purchased at the same time.
For help with the tritium recycling process or to ask us a question about these exit signs, please email us or call at 800-480-0707. Our service staff is ready to answer questions at any time of the day.