For people who work around radiation such as nurses, doctors, some types of engineers and even pilots, adequate levels of anti-radiation protection are key. While there is generally always some type of radiation around most places, from everyday items like cell phones and microwaves, most of it is the harmless non-ionizing variant. For the classes of professionals mentioned above, however, radiation exposure may be more serious.
There are a few methods of radiation protection, but the most effective is lead shielding. Lead naturally, due to its uniquely dense composition, possesses the ability to block every type of radiation wave, including Gamma rays and X-rays. It is therefore widely used in protective clothing and in other forms of anti-radiation shields and barriers, in a practice called lead shielding.
What’s the Issue with Ionizing Radiation?
As noted already, there are different types of radiation, and not all of them are a cause for concern. Ionizing radiation is the more powerful variant and poses a danger to health, given its tendency to interact with and alter the molecular structure of matter it comes into contact with. When it does this to living tissue, over time, it significantly increases the risk of cancer.
Non-ionizing radiation, conversely, is much less powerful, and will not pose any serious danger to the health. That is not to say that this type of radiation is completely danger-free, however, as it does tend to produce heat effectively, which explains why it is used in devices such as microwaves and heat lamps.
For professionals such as doctors and nurses, the powerful equipment they use such as X-Rays generally emits ionizing radiation. Patients too may get exposed to this radiation, but single-instance exposure is not generally harmful, whereas extended exposure to ionizing radiation may cause a build-up of negative effects. To mitigate this, these professionals (and others like them) must be provided with effective barriers to ionizing radiation.
The Lead Shielding Solution
Depending on the level of exposure, lead shielding for radiation may be necessary or even required by law. In some other cases, less sophisticated means of protection such as merely wearing additional layers of clothing, for example, a lab coat, may do. For the highest level of protection, however, lead enabled protective clothing, or physical barriers are necessary. With proper lead shields in place, whether in the form of clothing or physical shields, doctors, for example, are enabled to remain with their patients. At the same time, they undergo radiation-emitting procedures such as X-Rays.
Non-Medical Applications of Lead Shields
As already stated, the use of lead shields is necessary for every setting where professionals and other people will be exposed to sustained amounts of ionizing radiation. This could even include the transportation of certain substances that have the potential to emit ionizing radiation. If you work in or around a high radiation-emitting site, you must ensure that you are provided with only the highest grade of lead shields. If you are ever in doubt over whether you need extra protection or not, you should seek some expert guidance.