We lost some of our best minds when mankind began its journey with radiation. However, the sacrifices made by people like Marie Curie haven’t gone waste. Today, the world has a better understanding of radiation and its dangers and as a result industry has worked hard to produce radiation shielding materials that prevent loss of life due to radiation. However, our demanding work schedules and fast paced lifestyles often force us to become complacent and this leads to a slack in radiation safety, particularly when it comes to fields like healthcare. And considering that radiation can lead to all kinds of problems that range from birth defects and cataracts to cancers, it is essential to prevent exposure to radiation.
Radiation is commonly used in the field of medicine. The most famous use is in the field of radiology, which utilizes the more commonly known x-ray technology. Fields such as cardiology also require the use of radiation. Another area of medicine where radiation is commonly used is for the treatment of diseases such as cancer using a therapy known as nuclear medicine therapy. One of the most common examples of this kind of therapy is using radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer or other problems associated with thyroids.
Is Someone Keeping Tabs?
Most hospitals have technologists and radiation safety officers who keep a track of the radiation exposure of healthcare workers using dosimetry badges that need be turned in each month and must be worn at all times. The state performs an inspection once or twice a year and all protective devices such as lead shields and aprons must be offered by the respective hospitals.
But Why is It an Issue?
While this sounds great in theory, it is normal for radiation shielding practices to become a bit complacent, given the kind of stress and busy schedules healthcare workers go through. Another reason behind radiation exposure is that many people employed in the field of healthcare haven’t properly trained to work with radiation. For example, vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists receive very minimal radiation training. Moreover, their key members are likely to be nurses who have little to no radiation training.
Studies have also shown that countries like the US stress on the highest quality images, and this always means more radiation. On the other hand, Japan believes in using the least amount of radiation possible to produce an image of an acceptable quality.
What Can Be Done?
There are a number of radiation shielding materials that can be used to prevent radiation exposure. However, many of these materials use lead because of its high density properties. And since lead itself is incredibly harmful, using lead to protect against radiation feels somewhat misguided. This is where lead replacement products such as Ecomass Compounds come into the picture. These compounds offer nontoxic shielding solutions for all kinds of applications such as neutron shielding, x-ray shielding and gamma ray shielding without the use of lead or any other toxic materials.