Radiation Protection FAQ

February 27, 2023 3:26 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Radiation protection is the ability to control and limit the amount of radiation that workers receive. It is done by controlling the distance between a worker and the radiation source, shielding the source, or both. It is best to develop and implement a radiation safety program, which includes designating a radiation safety committee and a qualified expert (e.g., a health physicist) to manage the program. 

1. What Is Radiation?

Radiation is the flow of energy in the form of atomic and subatomic particles or waves (like light, radio, and microwaves) across material mediums. Ionizing radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that has enough energy to remove electrons from an atom, creating electrically charged ions (electrons that are not attached to an atom). This is the kind of radiation that causes ionization and can damage cells and DNA, leading to cancer. Ionizing radiation also is the type of radiation produced by unstable atoms in materials such as radioactive isotopes, radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons explosions and natural sources such as radon in soil. This is the kind of radiation that is used in medical x-rays, CT scans and gamma rays. 

2. What Is Radiation Dose?

Ionizing radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays and alpha particles, can change the chemical bonds that hold together molecules in the body. This can cause health effects, including damage to DNA molecules that store a person’s genetic information and control their function. Dose is the energy deposited per unit mass (or unit volume) of a substance by the ionizing radiation. It is measured in international units called grays (Gy) and rads (rad), or in units such as ergs and joules. Doses can be absorbed by a wide range of substances, from the lens of the eye to a large fish. This is a problem because it makes it difficult to predict the biological effect of different types of radiation on organs and tissues. 

3. What Is Radiation Shielding?

Radiation shielding is the process of preventing radiation from penetrating through material and harming people, objects, or structures. This can be done through different techniques for a variety of types and energies of radiation. Shielding can be achieved through the use of a wide range of materials that are designed to work well together and prevent ionizing radiation from interacting with them. For example, in x-ray facilities, lead glass is used to protect people and other structures around the room. Clear leaded acrylic is also an option to make durable, shatter resistant shielding. 

4. What Is Radon Testing?

Radon testing is the only way to know if your home has high radon levels. This radioactive gas is produced when uranium breaks down in soil and rock, and it can enter your home through cracks and holes. The EPA recommends testing your home for radon to help reduce your family’s exposure to this carcinogen. A radon test is performed by placing a radon detector in your home and monitoring the concentration of the radon over a period of time. Short-term radon tests range from 2 to 90 days and can be conducted any time of year. However, the EPA recommends that you wait to test your home during colder weather when radon tends to be higher. 

5. What Is The Danger Of Radon?

Radon can build up in a home or workplace, and over time can cause serious health problems. It can enter a house through small cracks and gaps around pipes or wires that aren’t sealed. It can also get inside from areas that are close to the ground, like basements and crawl spaces. It is thought that radon causes about 12% of lung cancers in the United States. This risk is especially high for people who smoke and for non-smokers who have a history of exposure to radon or other indoor air contaminants. 

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