Even though they aren’t directly being tested, radiographers and other medical imaging employees are still susceptible to increased levels of radiation. Because increased radiation exposure happens on a day in, day out basis for them – it’s especially important that they be properly trained for safety protocols.
How Much Radiation Is in an X-ray?
What many patients don’t realize is that radiation is a naturally-occurring process that happens in the environment, in the ground and in space. Everyone is affected by natural background radiation, every day. Most people do not experience health complications from average radiation exposure.
X-rays emit high levels of radiation all at once, and these levels can equate to days (even years) of background radiation. To get a good understanding of how much radiation an X-ray emits to a patient, here’s how X-ray radiation doses compare to naturally-occurring background radiation doses:
- Chest X-ray = about 2.5 days of natural radiation
- Skull X-ray = about 12 days of natural radiation
- Spine X-ray = about 182 days of natural radiation
- CT head scan = about 243 days of natural radiation
- G.I. exam = about 2 years of natural radiation
Keep in mind, those numbers apply to patients; radiographers are more protected. Several X-rays over a patient’s lifetime are not going to have a noticeable impact on his or her health.
Radiology Employees and Radiation
Radiation protection protocols have been in place in the radiological field for decades. As outlined in the Radiation Control Act of 1961, employers in this field must develop and implement procedures to monitor employee radiation exposure. The procedures include the use of up-to-date training materials, protective devices (i.e., lead aprons, thyroid shields, lead screens) and personal dosimeters or digital monitoring badges.
Radiographers, technicians, nurses and radiologists must wear a dosimeter at all times while working with X-ray machines. The dosimeter measures and reports radiation exposure. Most radiology professionals receive far less radiation exposure than their patients; most dosimeters come back with negligible readings each month because standard radiation protection protocols are observed.
All Star X-ray’s Commitment to Safety
When working around X-ray machines, it goes without saying that employers should enforce the procedures and that every employee should take ownership of his or her own safety.
All Star X-ray believes in maintaining the same standards for certification as required by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). With potential deregulation on the horizon from the Medical Radiology Board, primarily being pushed by the Sunset Advisory Commission, many radiologists and X-ray technicians could face a less qualified workforce in the future…which can ultimately be harmful to future patients.
Learn more about why you should choose All Star X-ray for your imaging services.