Radiation Protection

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    While new technology abounds in radiology, safety is overlooked and dismissed. The RT Health Study 1983-1998 concluded there is increased risk of breast cancer among female x-ray techs due to occupational exposure, yet we still wear lead aprons patterned after those worn 80 years ago! The old 'open-sleeve' x-ray aprons do not protect the lateral breast area. One case of breast cancer per 1,000 is ok, as long as its not ME. Rad nurses should insist on better protection. Some Rad Nurses soak-up more radiation than x-ray techs. Where's the innovation in safety? The only place I've found that offers better breast protection in x-ray aprons is called Shielding International but they only sell to distributors, not to individuals!!!
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    Good topic!!!!!!! Our department does all angio except heart. We also do nephro tubes, AV shunts and stents. Recently, we got a new CT scanner that can fluoro.
    Since there are only 2 of us, my badge readings went thru the roof when the other girl took a vacation!! We usually hit ALARA I over 3 months, but I hit it in 1 month!!! I always use time, distance and shielding, but with sedation, one can only go so far. I think Rad RN's need better shielding AND hazzard pay!!!! When I voiced my concerns I was told "Well, you better make sure you use your thyroid shield"!!!!!!!
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    I've bought aprons from Rad-Mart, and remember seeing aprons offering better lateral breast protection. Do the Radiologists and Rad Techs share your concerns? Seems your Radiation Safety Officer should be involved in this, as well, and perhaps OSHA, if you get no positive responses/action from the former. Put your concerns in writing, back them up with literature and send them to all possible involved persons, up the ladder to the top.
    No one will advocate for your safety except YOU.
    If you still get no action, perhaps a call to your local newspaper would get some attention to the problem-- and it IS a PROBLEM.

    Good Luck.


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