We are planning to buy a "glow in the dark" blanket as our seven month old daughter finds it fascinating. However are there any health concerns with using "glow in dark" stuff. I understand they use radium for the glow effect. Does it cause any long term health hazard.

  • 5
    Are you sure it uses radium? Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 1:28
  • 14
    I don't know where in the world you live, but at least in the US, unless it's 50 years old, it shouldn't be using radium. If it is using radium, then it's obviously not safe at all.
    – DA01
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 7:06
  • 4
    No. They don't use radium. Most common these days is Strontium aluminate. Not good if eaten, but no other health hazards.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 22:16
  • Actually a blanket that has dye that is poisonous when chewed on is probably not a good idea for a 7 month old.
    – Ivana
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


[Note: I can't post images, please edit if you can]

I've never heard of glow in the dark bedsheets. They definitely do not contain radium, which is deadly poisonous. There was a mass poisoning of workers, the Radium Girls in 1917, if you want to read a horrible story.

Today's glow in the dark materials need to be charged with light and then glow for some time, from minutes to hours, in contrast for the radioactive ones, which glow for years.

Phosphorescent materials are typically oxides or sulfides, doped with rare earths. These materials are mostly harmless (but not made to be ingested), you can find material safety datasheets for many materials here.

Of course, that does not help you, because you don't know if the overseas manufacturer really used a safe material.

If you want to do something really cool, here are some totally safe ideas: Stars

The green stuff lasts longest, the red ones glow for only a short time. If you'd like to do a correct image of the sky, you can buy a cheap star projector to get the positions on the ceiling and then paint the stars in place.

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