"that a few more people have (access to) geiger counters than back in 1986."
Err... well no not really. 1986 was not that primitive a year.
Ionizing radiation detectors have been around for over a hundred years, beginning with gold leaf electrometers and cloud chambers.
"Geiger" counters as you term them are pretty standard bits of kit in any physics lab, or health physics setup, and were certainly common in 1986.
In 1986 I was a student at university, working at a CERN experiment.
My PhD is in experimental particle physics - so I know a thing or two about radiation detection devices - and I have also worked for several years in a medical physics department.
I really don't like the term "Geiger counters" being used by the media - there are many, many types of radiation detectors, which are relevant to the type and energy of the radiation you are tyring to measure (spark tubes, scintillators, ionisation chambers, Geiger counters, filem dose badges, calorimeters, semiconductor detectors, drift chambers)
What you see on TV are dose meters - which are likely to be ionization detectors.
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