Radiation Protection Sheetrock Protects Xray Technicians

Published: 24th May 2011
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Radiation safeguarding is the practice aimed at guarding people and the natural environment from damaging effects of particle radioactivity and radio waves. Ionizing radiation, even though used in industry and medicine, is a serious hazard to health. It brings about microscopic injury to cells and can increase potential risks to cancers, tumors, and genetic damage.

There are 4 major methods to minimize the amount of radiation exposures. The powerful amount of radiation is diminished proportionately when the amount of time of exposure is reduced. Escalating space from the radioactive materials can decrease the level of radiation. Reduction of the presence of radioactive material additionally reduces degree of radiation exposures.

Shielding is among the methods to control radiation. It pertains to covering up the reactor using a mass of dissipating material so that the radiation can reduced to a level safe for human beings. In x-ray rooms, the techs stay behind leaded glass screens. The wall structure the location where the x-ray generator is located are lined with barium sulfate and technicians also wear lead aprons.

Three materials are used in radiation shielding: concrete, lead and tungsten. For buildings, concrete is used but this can’t be used within the medical field. Tungsten is a good material for shielding however it is too costly. The most affordable choice is lead which is a dense material and thus ideal for shielding as well.

Lead-lined drywalls are laminated with sheet leads to cover the surface areas on the rooms which need radiation shielding. The sheet leads fulfill the Federal Standards QQ-L-201f which was approved on November 29, 1965. These are 99.9% pure un-pierced untouched lead, free from sediments, oxide inclusions, scale, coatings, blisters, cracks, and plastered to the drywall inside the factory. The drywall is non-fire coded and ½" to 5/8" in thickness. The lead is between 1/32" to 1/8" thick. Standard lead sheets drywall varies in length but is 4 feet wide. Lengths are from 8 to 16 feet.

Two people are required to install the drywalls but for ceiling installations it requires three people, two people will hold either side and the third one will do the attaching both by nails or screws. The use of screws is very much favored in the drywall installation since nails are likely to somewhat pull out due to the weight of the drywall and gravity also. For ease of use, a drywall gun is used. A screw is positioned every 6 inches along the sides of the sheet and every 8 inches on the sheet’s body. A tape is used to seal the sheetrock joints. Around 3 coats of Spackle are used for an even finish.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), a commission which aids in the protection of human beings and the environment against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation, has suggested that use of radiation must be validated, that is the advantages far outweighs the disadvantages. Also, radiation exposure of an individual must be limited through the individual dose limits. And, radiation amounts must be kept below the limit.

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