It has been proven that high levels of radiation are bad for the human body. However, scientists are unsure whether low levels of radiation dosage are really harmful to us or not. Humans are exposed to low levels of radiation all the time, just by virtue of living on earth. We know that the human body can repair itself after damage done by low levels of radiation. Some people believe that low levels of radiation actually provide a benefits for the body. This is called radiation hormesis. The concept is that the body keeps itself in better shape by constantly cleaning out the damaged cells.
Because scientists are unsure if low radiation levels are good or bad, the general policy of the government regulations and recommendation by physicists is to treat all avoidable radiation as bad radiation. People that work with or around radiation should use the concept of ALARA (As Low As Reasonable Achievable). This means that you should only use as little radiation as possible to get the desired results. Some ways to adhere to the ALARA concept are
- Configuring x-ray equipment to use the lowest radiation dose possible to get effective images.
- Avoiding repeat x-rays by getting effective images the first time. Digital x-ray systems can help prevent the need for repeats.
- Using radiation shielding (like an apron) on sensitive parts of patients’ bodies that are not being x-rayed. Radiation protection does not have to be lead!
- Having proper shielding in place in an x-ray room to prevent staff from excessive scatter radiation. We can help determine if your x-ray room has proper shielding in place.