Everyone is exposed to some levels of radiation on a daily basis. The atmosphere of the earth is very effective at asking as a highly efficient radiation shield, protect life on earth on an ongoing basis.
At the same time, many of the devices and systems people use today to create or generate radiation. This includes many types of industrial process, in some types of food production as well as in nuclear reactions as well as in x-ray and imaging technologies.
There are many different types of radiation including alpha, beta, gamma, neutron as well as that produced by x-rays. Radiation is cumulative in its damage, which is why a typical use of x-rays is considered safe for the patient, but the exposure on a daily basis to the same levels is dangerous for the x-ray technician.
The ability of the different types of radiation to impact and affect tissue is the key reason that lead shields for radiation are required for those with ongoing exposure.
The most important factors in lead shields for radiation is to choose the level of protection that matches the exposure risks for the given application. Knowing the level of radiation present or emitted in an application allows for the specific type of shielding to provide the necessary blocking of the radiation created during the use of x-ray equipment.
Of course, depending on the application of the lead shields for radiation, other factors such as weight and design will also be important to consider. A lead apron uses a thinner lead sheet that is possible to wear continually, while a radiation pad or blanket draped over a patient is heavier. The difference is not in the ability to provide protection, but the proximity of the person to the source of the radiation. The patient is immediately in the pathway of the radiation while the technician is no close to the emission when the x-ray is taken, so in the same room, the radiation protection needs are different.
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