Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Presenting the new radiation warning symbol

The International Atomic Energy Agency spent $200,000 to develop a new radiation warning symbol because they found that people do not know what the yellow trefoil stands for anymore. The development of the symbol took five years and was tested on 1650 people in 11 countries. It seems like a good design, everyone knows that a skull and crossbones means death or pirates and if something is emitting squiggly beams that cause death or pirates you should run away.

The symbol is intended to supplement the current symbol and is "to be placed on the device housing the source, as a warning not to dismantle the device or to get any closer. It will not be visible under normal use, only if someone attempts to disassemble the device. The symbol will not be located on building access doors, transportation packages or containers." The new symbol is also intended to highlight the dangers of large sources of ionizing radiation especially.

Think of the symbols this way. The yellow one goes on your smelly sock drawer to warn people of the danger inside. The red symbol goes inside the smelly sock drawer on top of the socks to warn someone of the immanent danger of coming in contact with radioactive (smelly) socks and to get away. This yields two levels of warning. Now that there are two, I wonder which one will become the new symbol of evil after the Apocalypse.

(Get your symbol in .pdf format here)

(via Science and the IAEA)


NotPhil said...


Are they saying that the people who had access to radioactive areas and were dismantling radioactive devices didn't know what the radioactive symbol meant?

Now, I'm really worried.

Richard Koehler said...

I think it was more people from the street didn't know what the symbol meant. The article mentioned testing woman and men, and different age groups.

I remain as worried as when I found the story