Thursday, June 16, 2011

X-ray Shield Q & A

When was the first X-ray shield used?
Just when lead shielding was first used as X-ray shield is not clearly identified in the literature of the discovery of X-rays. However, as early as the last part of the 1800's researchers knew that handling radiation, particularly different types of radiation tubes, led to conditions such as cancer and serious skin conditions. Several early researcher including pioneers in the fields of medical radiation therapy and early nuclear experiments suffered the loss of limbs, life and health due to exposure to X-rays and other forms of radiation. Since gamma and X-rays have higher energy than visible light the significance of these types of initially unidentifiable sources of radiation were most problematic. Interestingly enough some of the first pioneers in the field of radiation, including Nikola Tesla, actually exposed themselves to radiation and documented the burns and eventual healing or lack thereof that occurred.

Medical complications due to radiation sickness, which is usually the exposure to very high levels of radiation in a short time are commonly associated with industrial accidents in power plants and nuclear detonations. Slower exposure in smaller dosages through using X-ray equipment is now well documented and care is taken to protect both workers in these labs as well as patients going through the procedures. 

Is there such as thing as a glass X-ray Shield and what sizes are available?
X-ray shield glass is specialized leaded glass that is available for use in laboratories, medical facilities, power plants, military installations and research facilities. As with other types of X-ray shielding materials it has different levels of lead that provide the required amount of protection given the amount or radiation produced by the specific equipment in use. This glass is typically custom made to fit the requirements of the project but it can also come in standard sizes. Typically regularly stocked sizes include twelve by twelve, twelve by eighteen, twenty four by twenty four and twenty four by thirty six inches. The glass is designed to be scratch resistant and can included shaded tones of glass depending on the specific project requirements.

Is there X-ray protection provided in safety eyewear?
There are specialized types of X-ray shielding available in a variety of different types of eyewear. Some of the modern styles provide a wrap around glass that is comfortable, very lightweight and also very stylish. These glasses are designed to protect the eyes from X-rays as well as allow a clear field of vision. Unlike older X-ray shield glasses that tended to also cut out the light going through the glass the modern styles provide the best curve and lens material to maximize clarity and allow normal light to enter the lens, allowing much better vision. Some of the glasses also allow for custom lenses to fit an prescription, ensuring that you will won't have to always wear prescription glasses and then goggles in the lab, or try to make due with just the goggles.

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