The importance of using radiation protection equipment, such as safety glasses and lead aprons, is critical. But it is equally important to properly care for and store this gear, or you could potentially weaken the level of protection provided. Taking the recommended steps to care and store equipment while not in use will protect personnel from harmful radiation through scores of procedures.
Radiation Equipment is Essential to Protect Medical Staff
To safeguard themselves from the adverse effects of repeated radiation exposure, radiographic room staff should always use protective equipment when x-rays are being conducted. Aprons and gloves must have radiation attenuation of no less than 0.5 millimeters of lead equivalency at 150 Kilovolts peak (kVp).1 Reducing radiation exposure by over 90%,2 full aprons should cover the front of the body from the throat to the knees, as well as both sides of the body. Additionally, radiation eye protection should always be worn when working near and around ionizing radiation. A recent study found that the use of leaded glasses alone decreased the lens dose rate by a factor of five to ten.3
Properly Care for Radiation Safety Glasses
Whether lead glasses have standard or anti-reflective coated lenses, they should be regularly rinsed under a stream of warm water to clear off dirt, dust, and debris to help prevent scratching. Users may also want to apply a small amount of diluted dish soap to lenses before rinsing, then wipe dry with a soft cloth. Fog-free lenses should be gently cleaned with a microfiber cloth and a combination of four parts alcohol to one part water, then dried thoroughly with a second clean microfiber cloth. When not in use, radiation safety glasses should be stored face-up in a dedicated unit that protects them from scratching and airborne contaminants. AliMed’s Safety Glasses Dispenser is constructed of durable clear PETG plastic that conveniently holds up to six pairs of safety glasses.
Properly Care for and Store Radiation Lead Aprons
Aprons should never be immersed in water or under a faucet for cleaning. Rather, use a cold damp cloth or a mild detergent when needed. A soft brush can be used to clean heavily soiled areas. Also, to avoid cracking the protective material, lead aprons should never be folded or creased when stored. Improperly storing aprons may also void the manufacturer’s warranty. Instead, they should be hung on dedicated lead apron hangers when possible, or stored flat when not. If aprons have to be transported between facilities, they may be loosely rolled up, but leaving them rolled for an extended period may decrease the usable life of the apron. No matter how they are stored, it’s a good idea to have lead aprons tested periodically to verify that the shielding integrity has not diminished. AliMed Heavy-Duty Radiation Apron Hangers are extra strong to support the heavy weight of lead radiation aprons and have lifted sides to prevent them from slipping. And the AliMed® Mobile Porta-Rak has the strength to hold up to eight aprons and six gloves, and can be easily transported between rooms on 2-inch casters.
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