Workplace Safety

Your health and the laws concerning radiation safety

Why Is It Important to Wear a Dosimeter?

Wearing a dosimeter on a daily basis is important to the health and safety of employees who work in radiation environments. The only way to determine an employee's real accumulated dose level is to have them wear a dosimeter every day and to check their dose reports regularly. This will ensure that they will not experience any significant health risk due to radiation. In the rare case where an x-ray machine malfunctions or there is an error during a procedure, unacceptably high levels of exposure to radiation can be detected early before any significant danger occurs.

By using a dosimeter device in your practice you can:

  • Confirm safety procedures are being followed
  • Stay in compliance with State and Federal regulations
  • Detect faulty equipment or gaps in safety practices
  • Monitor pregnant workers

Frequent, precise exposure readings with an instadose™ dosimeter can address these concerns immediately. With an instadose™ dosimeter you can measure your exposure to x-ray and gamma radiation at anytime using any internet enabled computer. This easy-to-use device is the only accredited USB-compatible dosimeter that enables you to measure your radiation dose at anytime as often as you wish.

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Why Radiation In A Dental Office Can Be Dangerous

Recent research suggests the *risk of thyroid cancer increases with multiple exposures to dental x-rays. The thyroid gland is sensitive to radiation, and radiation exposure is a known cause of thyroid cancer. Dental x-rays have long been overlooked as a source of radiation, given the low dose of the radiation used. Repeated exposure, however, now appears to be correlated to an increased risk of thyroid cancer, and according to the researchers, their findings correlate to previous research that has found an increased risk of thyroid cancer in dentists, dental assistants, and x-ray workers.

Imaging equipment used can increase exposure levels:

  • A leading researcher of dental radiation has found that depending on the model and setting, cone-beam scanners emit 4 to 30 times as much as a conventional dental X-ray
  • D-speed film for X-rays requires more radiation than faster film up to 60 percent more radiation, according to dental experts and government
  • To get clearer images, dentists compensate by increasing exposure time and radiation

*Source: http://thyroid.about.com/b/2010/06/29/dental-x-rays-thyroid-cancer-risk.htm

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For Women of Child-Bearing Age

All women should be aware of the dangers of radiation exposure and its potential effects. While exposure may be considered relatively low in dental offices, knowing your cumulative exposure levels ensures your safety. If you are of child-bearing age or pregnant and working where the potential for radiation exposure exists, you should be aware of your surrounding environment and how it could affect the health of your baby.

Although proper safety measures may be taken by wearing lead aprons, the possibility of exposure to radiation always exists. Make sure you take precautions from these potential risks by wearing a monitoring device. Women of child bearing years who work in an occupation or office where the potential for radiation exposure exists should be aware of her surrounding environment and how it could affect the health of her newborn baby.

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How Can X-rays Affect the Unborn Child?

An unborn child is more sensitive to the affects of radiation exposure due to the rapidly dividing cells that naturally occur during development. As the cells of the embryo are rapidly dividing and growing into specialized cells and tissues, radiation can cause changes in these cells, which could slightly increase the chance of birth defect or certain illnesses, like leukemia, later in life. There is scientific disagreement about whether the small amounts of radiation used in diagnostic radiology can actually harm the unborn child, but it is always better to err on the side of caution.

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