We cannot eliminate radiation from our environment. We can, however, reduce our risks by controlling our exposure to it. Wearing MP Dosimeter badges is your first step in exposure protection. Further understanding of radiation and radioactivity can help you make informed decisions when evaluating and limiting your exposure to radiation.
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What is radiation?
Radiation is energy that travels in the form of waves or particles. There are many different sources of radiation, such as X-Ray machines, microwaves, electrical power lines, cellular phones, and sunshine. In medical, dental or industrial settings, many of the machines or protocols in use produce radiation that may have enough energy to break chemical bonds, and are referred to as 'ionizing radiation.' Extended exposure to ionizing radiation can be harmful.
What is radioactivity?
Radioactivity describes the property of some atoms to spontaneously give off energy as particles or rays.
Radiation Protection Basics
Wearing your MP Dosimeter is the best way to monitor your exposure to radiation and will provide the peace of mind that you are not over exposed. In addition to wearing your badge, there are three basic concepts to keep in mind when protecting yourself from ionizing radiation.
- Time - Radiation exposure is directly proportional to the time people spend near the radiation source. Extended exposure to radiation can affect the health of a person and is dependant on the type of radiation.
- Distance - The distance of the radiation source from the exposure is an important factor. The farther away people are from a radiation source, the less their exposure. This is due the amount of energy in a specific type of radiation. Distance is a prime concern when dealing with gamma rays, because they can travel long distances. Alpha and beta particles have less energy and do not travel very far. As a rule, if you double the distance, you reduce the exposure by a factor of four. Halving the distance, increases the exposure by a factor of four.
- Shielding - Shielding refers to having something that will absorb radiation between you and the source of the radiation. The greater the shielding from a radiation source, the smaller the exposure. The amount of shielding required to protect against different kinds of radiation depends on how much energy they have.
- Shielding Alpha Partials - A thin piece of light material, such as paper, or even the outer layer of human skin provides adequate shielding because alpha particles can't penetrate it.
- Shielding Beta Partials - Additional covering, for example heavy clothing, is necessary to protect against beta-emitters. Some beta particles can penetrate and burn the skin.
- Shielding Gamma Partials - Thick, dense shielding, such as lead, is necessary to protect against gamma rays. The higher the energy of the gamma ray, the thicker the lead must be. X-rays pose a similar challenge, so x-ray technicians often give patients receiving medical or dental X-rays a lead apron to cover other parts of their body.
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 10CFR part 20 - STANDARDS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST RADIATION
Department of Energy - Information on Occupational Radiation Exposure
Health Physics Society (Society for Radiation Health Professionals) - Radiation Facts
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
U.S. FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health
National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP)