Self Luminous Exit Sign Spillage

Containing a Leaky Self Luminous Exit Sign

Our self luminous exit signs are illuminated by tritium, a naturally glowing hydrogen gas. Tritium is injected into glass tubes that are stored inside a high impact and tamper-resistant housing made of hardened aluminum.


See Our 10 Year Self Luminous Exit Signs

SL signs can withstand much more abuse than thermoplastic LED exit signs, however they are not indestructible. If the sign's glow has diminished significantly before it's life expectancy or if you see the glowing tritium puddle underneath the sign, then you've got a leak.

Rules for Handling Self Luminous Exit Signs

  • Never abandon¬† or throw away SL exit signs
  • Transfer spent or damaged signs to a licensed radioactive waste broker
  • Never give away or sell SL signs to other individuals or companies
  • Spilled tritium must be reported to your state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Tritium Exit Sign Spills

The Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) require all SL signs to have a radioactive symbol on tritium exit signs. Tritium has a low level beta radiation signature that is far less penetrating than isotopes found in home smoke detectors.

However, a tritium spill must be taken very seriously:

  • Evacuate immediate area and prevent further entry
  • Ventilate affected area
  • Do not move the sign - prevent contamination in other spaces
  • Contact the manufacturer or your state's DEP for further instructions

Handling Spilt Tritium

Manufacturers will typically advise you to perform the following procedure. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection!

  1. Wipe entire surface of the sign with a paper towel
  2. Wrap the sign, paper towel and gloves in a plastic bag
  3. Wash your hands
  4. Double-bag the first bag, tape it closed and re-wash your hands
  5. Place in a sturdy box with filler material. Label box 'radioactive'
  6. Place this package in a slightly larger cardboard box. Affix the following note:
    • "This package conforms to the conditions and limitations specified in 49 CFR 173.424 for radioactive material, excepted package-instruments or articles, UN2910."
    • Do not label the outer carton 'radioactive'


Don't know the manufacturer or who you bought your exit sign from? We can still help, just call 800-379-1129.

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