Radioactive Mineral Handling & Storage Safety

Radioactive minerals pose few risks to the collector, and with a few simple safety precautions you'll greatly reduce the chances of any adverse affects from collecting these interesting pieces of geological history.



  • Handle specimens as little as possible, and always wash your hands after you do. It is a good idea, but not necessary to wear gloves when handling specimens. Just wash your hands well afterwards.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke around radioactive mineral specimens. Don’t lick the Uranium.
    • It is generally a good idea to wear safety glasses when handling radioactive mineral specimens. Do not use a hand lens like you would with other minerals as this can bring specimens into close proximity to your face and eyes. Rather, use a microscope or magnifying glass that you can hold away from your face. The macro function on many cameras and cellphones is quite useful for this purpose too.
    • Label specimens properly and keep away from children, animals & uninformed people.
    • Store your specimens in plastic bags or containers to limit contamination and prevent them from gathering dust. Acrylic containers commonly available on Amazon or AliExpress are great for this.
    • Store your specimens in well-ventilated room that is not occupied all the time. It is generally ok to store a few specimens with your other minerals, but you should have a separate storage area if you start to accumulate a large number of specimens.
    • Get yourself a Radon detector if you plan to have a large collection of specimens. Many specimens emit Radon gas, and while having a small number of pieces won’t add to the radon levels in your home, large numbers can increase that count significantly.
    • Clean up your work area using a damp paper towel.
    • There are a few radioactive minerals that react to UV light. A simple UV flashlight is a great tool for helping you find these specimens, as well as cleaning up any residual contamination after you’re done working with them.
    • Some specimens in like Torbernite, Autunite, Uranocircite, etc. may degrade over time due to loss of water in their chemical structure. Stabilizing specimens with substances such as Paraloid b72 may help mitigate this. Also storing in airtight containers.