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Topic: Danger of strong magnets
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 8, 2011 10:52AM)
I hope this is the right section...
We now use very strong magnets for our tricks, often strapped to a body part.
Many of these are SamariumCobalt magnets. I want to warn everyone about the radioactivity of such magnets.
I have personally checked them with a Geiger counter and they emit a fairly high level of ionizing radiation. I don't know why nobody has pointed this out before: I certainly will not wear these magnets next to my body. When I hear of fellow magicians wearing them for hours I do worry about the consequences. Please believe me and/or do your own research. I have two Geiger counters and they both react strongly when near these magnets.
Message: Posted by: Illusion & Beyond (Sep 8, 2011 11:13AM)
I thought people wear magnets daily for certain healing purposes. Look at magnetic wrist bands, rings, even medical pads. Not sure what to believe now. I wear a necklace with a strong magnet so that put it right next to my heart. I know you shouldn't get close to a pacemaker but that is all the bad I've heard.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 8, 2011 11:47AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 12:13, Illusion & Beyond wrote:
I thought people wear magnets daily for certain healing purposes. Look at magnetic wrist bands, rings, even medical pads. Not sure what to believe now. I wear a necklace with a strong magnet so that put it right next to my heart. I know you shouldn't get close to a pacemaker but that is all the bad I've heard.
[/quote]
It's not the magnetism that is a problem. It is the ionizing radiation from certain rare-earth magnetic materials (for those who do not know what ionizing radiation is: the same that hit Japan after the Nuclear Plant collapse!). Samarium Cobalt is one of those and some of the strongest magnets are made with this material.
Message: Posted by: Illusion & Beyond (Sep 8, 2011 11:50AM)
Thanks for the clarification. I will investigate further.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Van Van Mojo (Sep 8, 2011 03:44PM)
I'm thinking about strapping a bunch on for a week or two and see if I end up with real supernatural powers.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 8, 2011 04:05PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 16:44, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
I'm thinking about strapping a bunch on for a week or two and see if I end up with real supernatural powers.
[/quote]
If you saw how the Geiger counter reacts to the magnets, you'd be worried....
Message: Posted by: Xiqual (Sep 8, 2011 06:56PM)
I have four kids so if I strap a samarium cobalt magnet on my lower self will that keep me from having five? Please say yes!
James
ps
Check your cellphone on a geiger counter and then really freak out.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 8, 2011 07:55PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 19:56, Xiqual wrote:
I have four kids so if I strap a samarium cobalt magnet on my lower self will that keep me from having five? Please say yes!
James
ps
Check your cellphone on a geiger counter and then really freak out.
[/quote]
Actually, no. A cellphone does not generate hits on a Geiger counter. A cellphone emits RF, which is non-ionizing radiation. Its negative effects are yet to be totally verified.
Samarium Cobalt emits beta and gamma rays, which means that its radiation is ionizing: it will cause cancer (especially lymphoma) and leukemia.
Radar S,C,X,K band will cause sterility and cataracts if exposure is prolonged, even though it is non-ionizing radiation. It causes disease of the testes and eyes by causing internal heating of the wet parts, not unlike a microwave oven.
Of all these types of radiation, the one caused by radioactive materials such as radium, uranium plutonium and also many rare-earth minerals as contained in some magnets, is definitely the most damaging to a person's health.
I used to teach radar courses and did quite a bit of research on various types of radiation.
My Geiger counters go on overdrive when placed close to some of my most powerful magnets.
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 9, 2011 12:07AM)
Most magic effects I know about use Neodymium Iron Boron magnets, common;y called neodynium magnets. However I can find no good reference material that describes any such radiation dangers as what you mentioned. Other than your own "geiger counter" experiences, what can you offer in the way of reference material that indicates such radiation danger from Samarium–cobalt magnets? Your geiger counter "going into overdrive" doesn’t really offer any useful information.

Thank you.

Jim
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 9, 2011 12:21AM)
Now I am curious as to what kind of geiger counter you have. You say that it is measuring "fairly high levels of ionizing radiation"? Geiger counters are halfway decent for alpha and beta radiation, not too good at gamma, and nothing else. I think you need to have your geiger counter checked/calibrated! I doubt you could be getting any reliable readings of ionizing radiation from a samarium cobalt magnet. At least no more than you would see from the soil in your back yard. Needless scare tactics. Why?

Jim
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 06:17AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 01:21, J-Mac wrote:
Now I am curious as to what kind of geiger counter you have. You say that it is measuring "fairly high levels of ionizing radiation"? Geiger counters are halfway decent for alpha and beta radiation, not too good at gamma, and nothing else. I think you need to have your geiger counter checked/calibrated! I doubt you could be getting any reliable readings of ionizing radiation from a samarium cobalt magnet. At least no more than you would see from the soil in your back yard. Needless scare tactics. Why?

Jim
[/quote]

No scare tactics at all: I have no dog in this race.
I have two Geiger counters: one is a Yellow ex-US Government unit, very sensitive, the other a modern Russian pocket counter.
I just posted this after being surprised at the radiation emitted by many magnets. I encourage others to do their own tests. If you have access to a Geiger counter, check your magnets and let us know what you find out.
Please don't take a negative, aggressive attitude: I was just doing a service to fellow magicians. I am a member of IBM, a former associate of the Magic Circle and I have been doing magic for 40 years.
End of story.
Best magical regards,
Giovanni
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 9, 2011 06:27AM)
Interesting discussion. Why don't we turn to the world's greatest and most authoritative authority, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samarium%E2%80%93cobalt_magnet]the Wikipedia?[/url] Here's what I learned about samarium-cobalt magnets:

[quote]A samarium–cobalt magnet, a type of rare earth magnet, is a strong permanent magnet made of an alloy of samarium and cobalt. They were developed in the early 1970s. They are generally the second-strongest type of magnet made, less strong than neodymium magnets, but have higher temperature ratings and higher coercivity. They are brittle, and prone to cracking and chipping.[/quote]

Sounds like neodymium magnets would be better for our purposes, anyway.

What about radiation? No mention of it in the Wikipedia entry. So I looked up [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samarium]samarium itself.[/url] An interesting element:
[quote]Samarium has no significant biological role and is only slightly toxic.

Samarium metal has no biological role in human body. Its salts stimulate metabolism, but it is unclear whether this is the effect of samarium or other lanthanides present with it. The total amount of samarium in adults is about 50 micrograms, mostly in liver and kidneys and with about 8 micrograms per liter being dissolved in the blood. Samarium is not absorbed by plants to a measurable concentration and therefore is normally not a part of human diet. However, a few plants and vegetables may contain up to 1 part per million of samarium. Insoluble salts of samarium are non-toxic and the soluble ones are only slightly toxic.[/quote]
But:
[quote]Radioactive isotope samarium-153 is the major component of the drug samarium (153Sm) lexidronam (Quadramet) which kills cancer cells in the treatment of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and osteosarcoma. Another isotope, samarium-149, is a strong neutron absorber and is therefore added to the control rods of nuclear reactors. [/quote]

Tryphon's findings are interesting, but the only mentions of radioactivity and samarium magnets that I can find, have to do with testing samarium magnets to see if they will withstand radioactive fields in space without losing their magnetic strength.

Would love to learn more.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 06:42AM)
This on rare earth materials:

"One contaminant associated with rare earth element ores are radionuclides. Rare earth element bearing
minerals such as monazite, xenotime, and bastnasite can contain low levels of primordial thorium-232,
uranium-238, and their decay products. Uranium-235 is also present but in very low quantities. Thorium-232
and uranium-238 are rather benign, but some of the decay products can represent a danger to the environment
due to the energetic particles and gamma rays released during radioactive decay. For example in the uranium-
238 decay chain, bismuth-214 has a very energetic gamma release and produces radon-222 that can be inhaled
and decay in the lungs (Argonne National Laboratory, 2005)."
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 9, 2011 06:57AM)
Americans will careful themselves out of crossing road if they are not careful.
Message: Posted by: TomKMagic (Sep 9, 2011 07:23AM)
So what happens to the Geiger counter when you measure a neodymium magnet? Are those safe or dangerous?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 9, 2011 08:24AM)
Geiger counter. Never leave home without it!
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 08:41AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 08:23, TomKMagic wrote:
So what happens to the Geiger counter when you measure a neodymium magnet? Are those safe or dangerous?
[/quote]
I don't know. I just checked every magnet I have: some cause a reading, others don't. I ASSUMED the radioactive ones are the Samarium Cobalt ones, but they don't say on the magnet what they are! They could be neodymium, or perhaps both do radiate...I just don't know. That's why I hope someone will do some tests on their magnets or ask the manufacturers for assurances. I am no expert on magnets, I just saw the radiation and wanted to convey the information to fellow magicians who may have these things strapped to the body for hours, day after day.
That's all.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Sep 9, 2011 08:52AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 11:52, tryphon wrote:

Please believe me and/or do your own research. I have two Geiger counters and they both react strongly when near these magnets.
[/quote]
How near? Inches? How far away before the reading drops off?
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 9, 2011 08:56AM)
Aha . . . the plot thickens . . . so we may not be talking about samarium-cobalt magnets after all . . . I'm wondering if some of your magnets were not contaminated from some other source . . . are there any other radioactive items in your home or workshop? Do you do any work with radionuclides? Why do you have 2 Geiger counters at home, anyway?
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Sep 9, 2011 09:10AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 09:56, Woland wrote:
Why do you have 2 Geiger counters at home, anyway?
[/quote]

One is not enough...three is too many.

(just a little Sleepless in Seattle reference).
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 09:20AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 09:56, Woland wrote:
Aha . . . the plot thickens . . . so we may not be talking about samarium-cobalt magnets after all . . . I'm wondering if some of your magnets were not contaminated from some other source . . . are there any other radioactive items in your home or workshop? Do you do any work with radionuclides? Why do you have 2 Geiger counters at home, anyway?
[/quote]
No, I don't have any radioactive substances in my home (other than naturally occurring ones). I have two Geiger counters because I lived through Chernobyl and saw the effects of airborne radiation on food and other things, when I lived in Europe. I had to travel to Kiev and wanted to be able to measure the radiation of the food I was given. I am glad I did!
After the quake in Japan, I even saw some minute increase in radiation in things like milk, here in Florida (very small).
I have two Geiger counters because I got the large and heavy one first. Saw that it was not very portable and then bought a small pocket size counter from Russia. They both work fine, by the way.
Look, guys, I do not want to be the banner boy for radiation scare tactics... I only wanted to let you guys know what I saw.
I really could not care more about whether you ignore the post or look further into this matter.
I posted all I wanted and needed to on this matter.
Giovanni
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 09:22AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 10:20, tryphon wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 09:56, Woland wrote:
Aha . . . the plot thickens . . . so we may not be talking about samarium-cobalt magnets after all . . . I'm wondering if some of your magnets were not contaminated from some other source . . . are there any other radioactive items in your home or workshop? Do you do any work with radionuclides? Why do you have 2 Geiger counters at home, anyway?
[/quote]
No, I don't have any radioactive substances in my home (other than naturally occurring ones). I have two Geiger counters because I lived through Chernobyl and saw the effects of airborne radiation on food and other things, when I lived in Europe. I had to travel to Kiev and wanted to be able to measure the radiation of the food I was given. I am glad I did!
After the quake in Japan, I even saw some minute increase in radiation in things like milk, here in Florida (very small).
I have two Geiger counters because I got the large and heavy one first. Saw that it was not very portable and then bought a small pocket size counter from Russia. They both work fine, by the way.
Look, guys, I do not want to be the banner boy for radiation scare tactics... I only wanted to let you guys know what I saw.
I really could not care less about whether you ignore the post or look further into this matter.
I posted all I wanted and needed to on this matter.
Giovanni
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Sep 9, 2011 09:37AM)
How much does a decent portable Geiger counter cost?
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 9, 2011 09:37AM)
Other than the rare-earth magnets, whose composition is unknown, have you tested any other items at home? Smoke alarms (those often contain americium) ?
Message: Posted by: Douglas Lippert (Sep 9, 2011 09:54AM)
Perhaps..and this may seem like such a simple observation- the magnets moved the needle due to their magnetic properties and not due to radiation? In other words, the needle was magnetized.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Sep 9, 2011 09:58AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 10:54, Douglas Lippert wrote:

Perhaps..and this may seem like such a simple observation- the magnets moved the needle due to their magnetic properties and not due to radiation? In other words, the needle was magnetized.
[/quote]
Except it only reacted to certain magnets, and not others.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 9, 2011 09:58AM)
Ockham's razor at work . . . or is it the fact "that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth . . ."
Message: Posted by: Salguod Nairb (Sep 9, 2011 10:11AM)
[img]http://www.abestweb.com/smilies/bsmeter.gif[/img]
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 9, 2011 10:25AM)
That, balducci, might have to do with the strength of the magnets.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 11:18AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 10:54, Douglas Lippert wrote:
Perhaps..and this may seem like such a simple observation- the magnets moved the needle due to their magnetic properties and not due to radiation? In other words, the needle was magnetized.
[/quote]
The main indication is audible: toc toc toc toc....
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 11:19AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 10:37, Woland wrote:
Other than the rare-earth magnets, whose composition is unknown, have you tested any other items at home? Smoke alarms (those often contain americium) ?
[/quote]
Yes, I checked lots of other substances, plus one of the counters has a sample of radioactive material for testing purposes.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 11:20AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 09:52, balducci wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 11:52, tryphon wrote:

Please believe me and/or do your own research. I have two Geiger counters and they both react strongly when near these magnets.
[/quote]
How near? Inches? How far away before the reading drops off?
[/quote]
Just a few inches. I would post a video if I knew how.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 11:22AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 10:37, LobowolfXXX wrote:
How much does a decent portable Geiger counter cost?
[/quote]
From a hundred or so for a real cheapo, to one thousand for a decent one. $150-200 will buy you a usable unit.
Google and you'll find many sources.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 11:23AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 11:11, Salguod Nairb wrote:
[img]http://www.abestweb.com/smilies/bsmeter.gif[/img]
[/quote]
Very droll....
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 9, 2011 11:47AM)
Very well. I accept that some of the magnets you examined caused the Geiger counter to register, and others didn't. Without knowing the composition and the manufacturer of the magnets that caused the reaction, there isn't much we can say about rare-earth magnets in general, is there?

I will note that there have been instances of metal reprocessing plants including highly radioactive gamma-emitting substances (discarded radiotherapy sources) in runs of metal that they melted up and reprocessed as rebar. See [url=http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/publications/scrapmetal.php]here,[/url] and [url=http://www.window.state.tx.us/border/ch09/cobalto.html]here.[/url]

I doubt something like that would have happened with a purportedly high-tech precision product like a rare-earth magnet, however.
Message: Posted by: 1tepa1 (Sep 9, 2011 11:50AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 12:13, Illusion & Beyond wrote:
I thought people wear magnets daily for certain healing purposes. Look at magnetic wrist bands, rings, even medical pads. Not sure what to believe now. I wear a necklace with a strong magnet so that put it right next to my heart. I know you shouldn't get close to a pacemaker but that is all the bad I've heard.
[/quote]

Magnets have no healing powers. Its just bs like homeopathy and such.
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Sep 9, 2011 11:53AM)
Magnets are scary.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 12:19PM)
[/quote]
Just a few inches. I would post a video if I knew how.
[/quote]
OK, I posted a short video on youtube. Just recorded from my webcam, so the quality is mediocre, but you can see the reaction of the Geiger counter to a small magnet. Make your own judgement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBO2jN2k2PY

Giovanni
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 9, 2011 12:25PM)
Are your Geiger counters radioactive, dangerous or illegal?
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 12:29PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 13:25, tommy wrote:
Are your Geiger counters radioactive, dangerous or illegal?
[/quote]
Why would they? They are standard test equipment used in many labs.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 12:46PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 13:19, tryphon wrote:
[/quote]
Just a few inches. I would post a video if I knew how.
[/quote]
OK, I posted a short video on youtube. Just recorded from my webcam, so the quality is mediocre, but you can see the reaction of the Geiger counter to a small magnet. Make your own judgement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCGy2kHxaiM

Giovanni
[/quote]

Here's a better link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCGy2kHxaiM
Message: Posted by: Dr. Van Van Mojo (Sep 9, 2011 01:01PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 16:44, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
I'm thinking about strapping a bunch on for a week or two and see if I end up with real supernatural powers.
[/quote]

All set, nearing end of first day of experiment. No discernible superpowers yet. Will update as experiment progresses.
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 01:48PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 14:01, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 16:44, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
I'm thinking about strapping a bunch on for a week or two and see if I end up with real supernatural powers.
[/quote]

All set, nearing end of first day of experiment. No discernible superpowers yet. Will update as experiment progresses.
[/quote]

Actually, I can already perceive its effect on your brain.... ;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Hilly (Sep 9, 2011 02:48PM)
My sister gave me one of those bracelets with the magnetic beads. I wore it for a month and it did indeed have an effect. It ruined two wristwatches before I figured out it was the bracelet.

They were cheap watches but it caused me to ponder the Euclidean meaning of the Einsteinium conundrum of radioactive magnetospeculation. That is:

“How many geigers would a geiger counter count if a geiger counter could count geigers?”


Disclaimer misnomer disclosure: I am NOT making fun of anyone or anything said in this thread. I’ve just had too much sugar today and am feeling a wee bit goofy.

The part about the bracelet and the watches is true.
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 9, 2011 03:18PM)
The video doesn’t show anything at all. Are you detecting true ionizing radiation? If so at most some alpha, which you receive daily from common materials. I can find no reference to magnets and danger from radiation anywhere. I think that perhaps you are overreacting. You need to put that clicking thing away and enjoy yourself!

Jim
Message: Posted by: tryphon (Sep 9, 2011 03:38PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 16:18, J-Mac wrote:
The video doesn’t show anything at all. Are you detecting true ionizing radiation? If so at most some alpha, which you receive daily from common materials. I can find no reference to magnets and danger from radiation anywhere. I think that perhaps you are overreacting. You need to put that clicking thing away and enjoy yourself!

Jim
[/quote]
Thanks Jim for your advice.
I wanted to tell others about what I saw, and I have done so.
Enjoy your magic!
Giovanni
Message: Posted by: landmark (Sep 9, 2011 08:15PM)
Thanks for your observations Gio--and maintaining a sense of humor.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Van Van Mojo (Sep 9, 2011 09:05PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 14:48, tryphon wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 14:01, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 16:44, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
I'm thinking about strapping a bunch on for a week or two and see if I end up with real supernatural powers.
[/quote]

All set, nearing end of first day of experiment. No discernible superpowers yet. Will update as experiment progresses.
[/quote]

Actually, I can already perceive its effect on your brain.... ;)
[/quote]

Nice. I try to inject a little humor into your omgfreakoutaboutmagnets thread and you try to insult me. Could be you've handled that sample of radioactive material for testing purposes a bit too much.
Message: Posted by: michaangelo (Sep 12, 2011 01:47PM)
I sense the birth of an epic super hero - super villan relationship... Dr. Mojo vs. The Geiger... Remember, we were all here when it started!

[quote]
On 2011-09-09 22:05, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 14:48, tryphon wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-09 14:01, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-09-08 16:44, Dr. Van Van Mojo wrote:
I'm thinking about strapping a bunch on for a week or two and see if I end up with real supernatural powers.
[/quote]

All set, nearing end of first day of experiment. No discernible superpowers yet. Will update as experiment progresses.
[/quote]

Actually, I can already perceive its effect on your brain.... ;)
[/quote]

Nice. I try to inject a little humor into your omgfreakoutaboutmagnets thread and you try to insult me. Could be you've handled that sample of radioactive material for testing purposes a bit too much.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: critter (Sep 12, 2011 01:53PM)
The real danger of magnets is getting stuck to Russell Brand's bed. That's what happened to this poor girl:
[img]http://www.celebs101.com/wallpapers/Katy_Perry/226597/Katy_Perry_109.jpg[/img]