Literature and newspaper accounts of the KGB using a radio-active tracing dust began to appear in the 1980’s, but as far as the 1940’s are concerned, finding any traces of tracing dust needs tracing dust.
We found the following comment on Bruce Schneier’s blog. Schneier is described as a ‘renowned’ security technologist.
“There was early research in the UK in 1940 by Prof F.G.Tryhorn, and possibly by the FBI and NYC Police also in the 1940s.”
Then we found the early research:
Scientific Aides in Criminal Investigation by Professor FG Tryhorn, D.sc. (Liv.), A.I.C. Professor of Chemistry, University College, Hull. Part I.V. Dust. First published in 1936.
Then a confirmation:
“It (spy dust) originated in England in the 1930s when forensic science originated. They were playing around, actually, with radioactive isotopes to use them as tracer[s] on paper and money and things like that.”
Kristie Macrakis. Science historian at Michigan State University who specializes in 20th century German science. She has just completed a book called Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi’s Spy-Ttech World. One chapter of the book is called “Radioactive Spy Dust.”
Byron’s comment is specific:
“First, SM’s hair contains what could be regarded as normal levels of the nuclear associated elements uranium 238, thorium 232 and lithium 7.”
Could those readings come from the use of a radio-active tracing dust .. ?