Is it worth buying a geiger counter?

I am from Canada and I am about 13 hours from the west coast in Alberta. Since the government is not testing for radiation and are not informing the public I am worried about the safety of my children. That said, geiger counters are crazy expensive right now and really hard to find. I do spend a lot of time outdoors digging in my garden and I worry about my children playing in the sandbox at school.

These are the two models I am looking at. Both measure alpha, beta and gamma. The Monitor 4 is probably less sensitive than the Digilert 100 and the Digilert 100 has a digital readout. I am just not sure it is worth it to spend almost $300 more dollars to purchase the Digilert over the Monitor 4. There is a big difference in price.

Monitor 4 Geiger Counter
Cost in Canada $680.00

Digilert 100 Geiger Counter
Cost in Canada $950.00

Have any of you purchased geiger counters since the price has gone up and do you have any regrets? My hubby thinks I am crazy to spend that much money on something I will probably never use. His words!

Do you think it would be valuable to have a geiger counter at this time? It is a lot of money to spend but for some peice of mind maybe it is worth it.

I would appreciate your thoughts.


Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb:

Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb:

A nuclear bomb "compresses" pure or nearly pure fissile material into a small space. The fissile material is either the uranium235 or plutonium239. They are the reduced bright shiny metals, not metal oxide. If it is uranium, it is at least 20% and preferably 90% uranium235 and 10% or less uranium238.

These fissile materials are metals and very difficult to compress. Because they are difficult to compress, a high explosive is required to compress them. Pieces of the fissile material have to slam into each other hard for the nuclear reactions to take place.

A nuclear reactor, such as the ones used for power generation, does not have any pure fissile material. The fuel may be 0.7% to 8% uranium235 oxide mixed with uranium238 oxide [uranium rust]. A mixture of 0.7% to 8% uranium235 rust mixed with uranium238 rust cannot be made to explode no matter how hard you try. A small amount of plutonium oxide mixed in with the uranium oxide can not change this. 

The fuel is further diluted by being divided and sealed into many steel capsules. The capsules are contained in steel tubes. The fuel is further diluted by the need for coolant to flow around the capsules and through the core so that heat can be transported to a place where heat energy can be converted to electrical energy. 

There has never been a NUCLEAR explosion inside a reactor and there never will be. There was no NUCLEAR explosion at Chernobyl.


Coal contains: URANIUM and all of the decay products of uranium, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, THORIUM, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. There is so much of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually valuable ores. We should be able to get ALL THE URANIUM AND THORIUM WE NEED TO FUEL NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS FOR CENTURIES BY USING COAL CINDERS AND SMOKE AS ORE. Unburned Coal and crude oil also contain BENZENE, THE CANCER CAUSER. We could get all of our uranium and thorium from coal ashes and cinders. The carbon content of coal ranges from 96% down to 25%, the remainder being rock of various kinds.
The uranium decay chain includes the radioactive gas RADON, which you are breathing. Radon decays in about a day into polonium, the super-poison.

If you have cancer, check for benzene in your past.
in case the ORNL site does not work.

Make coal fired power plants meet the same requirements for radiation release that nuclear power plants have to meet.

Chernobyl released as much radiation as a coal fired power plant releases EVERY 7 years and 5 months. You get 100 to 400 times as much radiation from coal as from nuclear. Natural gas can contain radon.

Please read this book: "Radiation and Reason, The impact of Sci

Please read this book: "Radiation and Reason, The impact of Science on a culture of fear" by Wade Allison.
Professor Allison says we can take up to 10 rems per month, a little more than 1000 times the present "legal" limit. The old limit was 5 rems/lifetime. A single dose of 800 rems could kill you, but if you have time to recover between doses of 10 rems, no problem. It is like donating blood: You see "4 gallon donor" stickers on cars. You know they didn't give 4 gallons all at once. There is a threshold just over 10 rems/month. You are getting .35 rems/year NATURAL background radiation right where you are right now if you are where I am.

Radiation workers have a career limit of 5 rems/lifetime. Divide 5 rems by your present Natural Background Radiation. For Americans, Natural Background Radiation is at least .35 rems/year. Our Natural Background Radiation uses up our 5 rems/lifetime by the time we are 14 years old.

Natural Background Radiation is radiation that was always there, 1000 years ago, a million years ago, etc. Natural Background Radiation comes from the rocks in the ground and from exploding stars thousands of light years away. All rocks contain uranium. Radon gas is a decay product of uranium.

At Fukushima, ZERO deaths were caused by radiation.

573 certified deaths were due to evacuation-related stress at Fukushima. Zero due to radiation. February 4, 2012

"Japanese authorities recognize 573 deaths related to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Catastrophe
As reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun:
"A total of 573 deaths have been certified as "disaster-related" by 13 municipalities affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant....
A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster. ....""

ZERO deaths were caused by radiation. 573 deaths were caused by the evacuation that was forced by officials. Fukushima's natural background radiation is still higher than the radiation from the reactor leak. Fukushima's natural background radiation plus the radiation from the reactor leak is still less than the natural background radiation here. Natural background radiation varies greatly from place to place. Our background radiation is above 350 milli rem/year.
"milli" means ".001"
350 milli rem/year means 0.350 rem/year
People living in Ramsar, Iran have a background radiation of 10 to 20 rems/year and report no ill effects.


The visible universe [ignoring dark matter and dark energy] started out with only 3 elements: hydrogen, helium and lithium. All other elements were made in stars or by supernova explosions. Our star is a seventh generation star. The previous 6 generations were necessary for the elements heavier than lithium to be built up. Since heavier elements were built by radiation processes, they were very radioactive when first made.

Our planet was made of the debris of a supernova explosion that happened about 5 billion years ago. The Earth has been decreasing in radioactivity ever since. All elements heavier than iron were necessarily made by accretion of mostly neutrons but sometimes protons onto lighter nuclei. Radioactive decays were necessary to bring these new nuclei into the realm of nuclear stability. That is why all rocks are still radioactive. The supernova made all radioactive elements including plutonium, cesium 137, etcetera.

Radiation also comes from outer space in the form of cosmic rays. Cosmic rays come from supernovas that are very far away. There will always be cosmic rays.

Again: 4 Billion years ago, the Earth was a lot more radioactive than it is today. There is no place in or on Earth or in space where there is no radiation. There never was.

you can get an excellent one very cheap on amazon

this is the best you can get for most purposes and this is the lowest price around.

radiation readings

I am thinking of buying a giger counter but then the thought.....what do I do with the information, move? to where? this beautiful planet and its inhabitants are contaminated. just viewed and watched movie on Netflix, K19 Widowmaker, true story of Russian sub....

Half of your radiation dose

Half of your radiation dose comes from radon gas decay products.

According to this map: radon level are near zero in the middle of the ocean so you just need to build your floating civilization in the middle of the pacific and you'll cut your radiation dose in half.

Glad I could help.

Elevated alpha and Beta in Toronto rain

Here is an interesting video which spurred me to purchase my own "pancake" Eberline detector.

I am not sure what to think

I am not sure what to think of this guys readings. He claims he is going across Canada and taking readings of the rain.

I don't know if his geiger counter Soeks is an accurate model. How can he be getting 1 microsievert per hour here?

Geiger counter sensitivity

The short answer is that a Geiger counter in North America will not be able to detect radiation above background levels from Fukushima. In addition, it is also not trivial to calibrate and keep a Geiger counter calibrated so it may be difficult to extract useful information from it. Finally, while we cannot predict the future it is highly unlikely that there will be any more significant releases from Fukushima. In the very unlikely event that there was a significant release it would still not be measurable on a Geiger counter on this side of the Pacific ocean.

Cameron [BRAWM Team Member]

future radiation unlikely?

What I heard at the time, is that it will take 10-70 (70!) years to bring the reactor under control. As far as we know, radiation is still leaking into the ocean... :(

Yeah Right?!

That plant has been steaming and smoking since the day it exploded like a nuclear bomb. The waste has been flowing consistently into the ocean for the past two years, and most people in Japan and along the coast of California are burning the debri (and touching it)! So, I am so over the BS of "Japan is soooo far away, nothing is going to happen to ussssss," like there is no wind, and these particles don't have half lives that are longer than most of us will live. I came here to look into a Geiger counter mainly so I can stand up for what I already know and to ignorant people in my family! Thanks for reminding me!

Geiger counter is useless

The problem with a Geiger counter is that you can't do spectroscopy, and thus you can't differentiate between Fukushima radiation and natural radiation.

Cameron of BRAWM is correct. Geiger counters are useless at measuring Fukushima fallout. When a Geiger-Muller tube detects radiation, there is a total "breakdown" of the tube gas. The electronics senses that, turns off the voltage, allows the gas to settle down, and then resets the voltage for the next detection.

That total breakdown means the Geiger counter can't detect the energy of the radiation, and therefore you can't identify the radioisotope that gave you the radiation. The radioactivity from Fukushima is down in the noise, and is overwhelmed by natural radioactivity. The only way to pick the Fukushima "needle" out of the natural radioactivity "haystack" is to be able to identify the energy, and hence the radioisotope responsible. Alas, Geiger counters can't detect the energy. They just know that there is radiation, but not the energy.

I am also looking into

I am also looking into buying one. Integrity Design seemed a bit cheaper, $395 to $495, google them. The problem is: how do we interpret the data we collect? This forum has already indicated how difficult it is to take into account background radiation and what steps food and water measuring require.

And it should really not be up to individual citizens to carry out these measurements, it's the government's responsibility to protect public health and safety. Therefore, I am stepping up my efforts of systematically contacting all responsible govt agencies (Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and here in BC, BC Centre for Disease Control) to request systematic, ongoing monitoring of rain and drinking water, milk, soil and food items, especially leafy greens and seafood, which are particularly bio-accummulating. I have also been contacting media, but there seemed a general disinterest in picking up this topic.

We need more concerned citizens asking these questions, requesting this data be collected and made publicly available. It may need an organized approach.

As I mentioned previously, Health Canada posts air monitoring data at
but they have recently rolled back to weekly reporting. The strange thing is that on May 12, they already had posted the value for the week of May 8-14! I am still waiting for a response from them why it appears that they base their data on extrapolations rather than real measurements. (It would be a convenient way to hide spikes)
There is also data on some milk samples from BC and seafood from Japan. But it is not clear (and highly doubtful) that this reflects systematic measuring.

vehicle parts

according to the book by edmonston - car parts from japan have arrived highly irradiated

since our government don't check ports for radiation

chile sent many japanese boats away because their radiation levels were too high

so yea you could be far away using a japanese part and glow in the dark

The NUKE industry should be

The NUKE industry should be buying us all geiger counters.

Geiger Counts for food !

Dear OP,

I do not want to discourage you from buying a geiger counter, if it will make you feel more at ease. I myself am very concerned about the exposures we are getting and I live in California on the coast one block from the beach. My boyfriend and I have not been eating veggies and fruit from the US. It has been a hard toss up of choices for our meals. And frankly I am really pissed at the people that let this accident run away like a train. I wish it was as easy as buying a geiger counter, and taking some KI but really these are false ways of comforting people and can be very harmful by giving false readings and KI must be taken in very large amounts. I am taking KI in low doses, (spreading iodine on my skin every other day) but not flooding my thyroid. Just taking it modestly. I bring this up because of the video I am posting here for you talks about geiger counters and KI.

I do want to point out that if you want to measure food with your geiger counter you may get a reading that says the food is okay to eat. But the reading may be very wrong. Please watch this video on you tube where an experiment is done using a geiger counter. The video shows how the counter measures a piece of very hot material taken from the Nevada nuclear test sight, a fall out sample. Then you will see the comparative readings. A scintillating crystal and geiger counter costing about $3,000 reads the material at 3,000 counts per minute. The regular geiger counter shows the a nearly normal background reading. Foods measured with a geiger counter and very large crystal, can be measured with a very sensitive instrument that costs about $10,000. Only using a very sensitive instrument like this with the extra large scintillating crystal will show a true food reading. Our foods may be very hot and too hot to safely eat, but the foods still do not have enough radioactivity for even a $500 geiger counter to measure. I stress our foods are most likely very very hot.

A Berkley team member said the readings are far to low for a geiger counter to pick up on. This is true, but it is not because we do not have significant fall out in our foods, ect. It is merely because the "instruments / geiger counters" are not sensitive enough to get a proper reading. In other words it is important to note even a very hot piece of material will not show significant readings using a geiger counter. But if you buy a geiger counter you may find it useful for other purposes. I am not sure what other measures you can take with this instrument and get a reading that is accurate. I would be very cautious if you are going to rely on your own readings. Yet I understand you want the information, as I do. And you want "unbiased" information that is not skewed to fit a certain criteria/hysteria/mass panic/political/financial influence.

Good luck with your purchase but take the readings with a grain of salt, and do not ignore other sources of information for your judgement on food, water, air, and fall out situations. I have found safecasters is a good sight for information as is Berkeley.

WRONG!!! WRONG!!! WRONG!!! little anti-nuke...

The previous poster claimed:

It is merely because the "instruments / geiger counters" are not sensitive enough to get a proper reading.

The problem with Geiger counters is not sensitivity, but discrimination.

Evidently you misunderstand what the members of BRAWM told you.

I find an analogy helps. The problem with Geiger counters detecting Fukushima fallout in food is analogous to the problem of seeing fireflies on the edge of a searchlight.

Suppose we have a powerful searchlight, and some fireflies that are buzzing around its perimeter. Suppose the searchlight is off. In such a case, you certainly can see the fireflies. The problem is not with the sensitivity of your eyes; you can see the fireflies when the searchlight is off.

However, when the searchlight is on, the light from the searchlight drowns out the light from the fireflies and you no longer "see" them. The searchlight is too bright to see the fireflies.

That's the problem with Fukushima fallout. If a chemist took the food and extracted all the chemicals that were Fukushima fallout, so that we were left with ONLY Fukushima fallout; the Geiger counters could detect that.

The problem is, like the searchlight; food has plenty of naturally radioactive materials in it. Those naturally radioactive materials, like the searchlight; drown out the radioactivity seen from Fukushima.

It's only when you have detectors like BRAWM has; Germanium detectors; which are sensitive to the energy of the radiation ( the Geiger counter signal is not ), that you can do spectroscopy and detect the Fukushima fallout.

If you don't understand that, consider an analogy of a symphony. Suppose you go to the symphony with your RadioShack audio level meter. If only the piccolo player is playing; the needle on the meter moves, and you've detected the piccolo. However, if the whole symphony is playing; can you use your RadioShack meter to tell whether the piccolo is playing?

NOPE. While the whole symphony is playing, the needle is waving back and forth in response to the rest of the symphony, and that variation in volume is bigger than the level of sound produced by the piccolo. The meter has no way to distinguish the piccolo based only on sound level.

However, your ears certainly can tell the difference. Your ears do spectroscopy. They know the high pitched sound of the piccolo, and can tell whether it is present or not. That's what BRAWM can do with its detectors. They know what the energy signature of the Fukushima fallout looks like and they can look for that in a food sample.

You Geiger counter is like the RadioShack audio level meter.

The problem with detecting Fukushima fallout is that the natural radioactivity is so much stronger and more powerful than the Fukushima fallout.

Very true!

Very true!

geiger counter usefulness

We purchased a digilert 100 and have been taking readings. We wanted it to check the food. There are several factors that have to be accounted for. A background reading must be obtained. We've designated areas to take repeated readings. We take 2 hour readings twice a day here in Florida. We now know the readings we get near the brick siding, in the house, in the garden and several places in the yard.

We have not detected higher readings in the food from the grocery store. We have, however, been diligent (pun intended) in purchasing food packaged before 3-11. It is unlikely that we will experience higher readings from the food we purchase due to the reasons mentioned in the previous posts and the fact that small amounts need to be detected because consumption of even very low levels of radioisotopes can cause cancer. (ICRP model is flawed, see and the airplane model is inappropiate use of ICRP model, see

What is interesting is that the 'background' reading has been coming down since the end of March (150 pCi Iodine-131; 1.4 pCi Cesium-134 in rainwater EPA March 31, except in the garden and near the brick siding. The brick siding is understandably constant. The garden has a thick, tall crop of 'wild spinach'. It has stayed at the higher level. We are not eating from it but will let it go to seed so that we can collect the seed for next year. We have dry, sandy soil so much of the fallout will pass on down. Hated to have to let it go, but it seems safer. The rest of the yard's readings have come down. We bag the cut grass and it goes with the garbage. No composting of it this year. Please note the reading differences are very small. The yard was 15cpm, and came down slowly to 10cpm over 60 days and has remained at 10cpm. The garden, in the midst of the wild spinach is still at 15cpm. Perhaps the cesium has been concentrated in the spinach.

We have a nuclear plant less than 50 miles from here and so the geiger counter might be useful for an early warning. Governments have all been too slow in alerting the public when one of the nuclear plants goes up. A 3 day lag is too long, so perhaps the geiger counter will give us early warning when it's time to run for the hills. We also carry it with us while driving for an early warning in case of an accident ahead as they are now transporting high level radioactive waste on the highways. Also, we move on when the geiger counter signals elevated levels which are legal in the trucks (see

People who have darkrooms might be able to check food samples by placing the sample on photographic film. If it is contaminated it should expose the film and leave the imprint of it's shape, as has been done in Japan . It may also show any 'hot particles' (see Autoradiographs from Japan).

Won't work

People who have darkrooms might be able to check food samples by placing the sample on photographic film. If it is contaminated it should expose the film and leave the imprint of it's shape, as has been done in Japan . It may also show any 'hot particles' (see Autoradiographs from Japan).

Like the problem with Geiger counters; photographic film is not selective.

Photographic film can't tell the difference between Fukushima fallout and natural radiation.

You have to get out of this mindset that you are looking for any radiation in food that should be completely radiation "sterile".

NO - you are looking for radiation that is a small fraction of the radiation that food has normally due to Mother Nature. You need something that can tell the difference between Mother Nature's radiation, and Fukushima radiation.

Without that ability; anything you try is a "fool's errand" - it won't work.

Higher levels allowable in food

EU Secretly Authorizes Emergency Order Allowing Large Increase Of Radiation In Food:
Don't know if this is true yet, but if it is maybe we WILL need to check the food in the grocery store with our geiger counters


Yikes, pls don't rely on a geiger counter to check your food !
Plse read my post or at the very least view the video in this thread.

You may get readings that are safe, geiger counters are not sensitive enough instruments to check your food contamination.

*****pls see the video******judge for yourself***********************