Sophont
Friday, July 30, 2004
 
Cat Litter
Radioactive Consumer Products: "For fun, I measured the radionuclide activities in one sample of cat litter. The results were as follows: 4 picocuries per gram (pCi/g) for members of the uranium series, 3 pCi/g for members of the thorium series, and 8 pCi/g of potassium-40.

At these concentrations the exposure rate at six inches above a box of cat litter would be approximately 0.1 micro roentgen per hour (uR/hr) above background. Since cats don't spend a lot of time in the litter box (you never see them taking along something to read when they are heading that way), the radiation exposure is probably minimal.

I've seen varying estimates of the amount of cat litter sold in the US, but for the sake of the calculation, lets assume 4 billion pounds per year. If true, this means that approximately 50,000 pounds of uranium and 120,000 pounds of thorium are purchased in the form of cat litter each year by the American consumer."

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