All the safety books tell us that alpha radiation is 20 times more damaging than gamma and x radiation. Radiation detectors that don’t have an alpha capability are much less expensive. Is it worth taking a risk to save money? Honestly in many cases an instrument without alpha/beta sensitivity can be adequate for specific tasks such as for x-ray and gamma protection in radiography etc. The instrument will be relatively boring to use, but can afford the needed protection. Sometimes there are surprises, and if you don’t have the capability it can be a serious problem. In this case an alpha emitting radionuclide was not detected by geiger counters without alpha capability. What happened may never be known but the serious effects of alpha radiation taken internally is clearly illustrated. Geiger counters equipped with alpha sensitive mica windows can make a big difference for health and safety in many situations, and are worth the extra cost. All IMI – International Medcom Inc. – hand held geiger counters are so equipped and available from reputable distributors across the globe. The “two inch pancake” sensors are the most sensitive, and built into the IMI Inspector V2 and Onyx NX10 instruments. The less expensive but robust Radalert100X and RAD100 instruments have smaller mica windows, but still detect alpha and beta radiation.