Why Radiation Protective Wear is Important for Health Care Workers

Published: 08th June 2011
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The amazing ability to look inside the body using x-rays was first discovered in 1895. With little known about its dangers, it was inevitable that the first victim to die from radiation was Thomas Edisonís x-ray technologist, Clarence Dally. Due to repeated exposure working with this new imaging device, Clarence was burned on the hands, which later turned to cancer and spread throughout his body. Since those days, man has become very aware of the hazards of working with radiation and its effects on the human body. Because of this knowledge, every precaution possible is taken to ensure that health care workers who are working around radiation stay well protected.

Protective garments and accessories are usually made with lead, as this metal works well to shield radiation. Because exposure to this energy can cause cataracts, leaded eyewear was invented to protect the eyes. These glasses are lightweight, durable and designed for comfort and protection. Most leaded eyewear is made to shield the entire eye area and provide a close and secure fit.

Another danger of radiation exposure is skin burn. To reduce this risk, protective gloves, lead aprons and protective face shields are worn when working around radiation. Lead aprons can include full body protection for both the front and back of the body or just front protection. With advances in technology, lead aprons are now available in lightweight lead for comfort. Lightweight lead aprons are made with burlite and lead, which are 40 percent lighter than a full lead apron. Lightweight lead aprons also provide the same protection of lead aprons and are environmentally-friendly. They are, however, less durable than full lead aprons.

Radioactive exposure can also damage the thyroid gland located in the neck. This gland is responsible for producing the hormones that control metabolism. If it becomes damaged, this can result in hormone decreases or increases, causing serious metabolic problems. It also can become enlarged causing swallowing and breathing difficulties. To prevent these dangers, thyroid shields are worn over the neck area, protecting the thyroid. These also are available in many different colors and patterns or can be matched with a leaded apron. Thyroid shields usually have hook and loop fasteners to secure them behind the neck and come with a ring and tether for attaching to an apron.

Wearing proper protective gear when working around radiation is vital for reducing the possibility of radiation-related health problems. When choosing protective wear, health care workers should be sure the protective wear is comfortable and nonrestrictive.

If you are interested in finding leaded eyewear, be sure to visit http://www.burmed.com/.

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