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Although it’s rarely harmful, everyone has exposure to radiation daily. In fact, we get it from the air we breathe and the food we eat. Often, even the building materials of the buildings we work and live in, as well as the appliances that surround us, emit radiation. These things are enduring fixtures in our everyday lives.
Radiation waves are not visible to human beings. They pass through objects and charge them electrically. We can detect them only with the help of special instruments designed for this purpose. Usually, these waves that pass through and around our bodies cause no harm.
However, radiation from more energetic sources can damage cells and tissues. It can even cause cancer.
If you run a business that uses radiation its day-to-day functioning, you already know these things. What you might not be fully aware of is how best to protect yourself and your employees from the dangers of radiation.
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Types of Businesses That Rely on Radiation
Medical facilities frequently use radiation to treat certain diseases, including some cancers. Some scientific and academic laboratories use it in their research.
Radiation also has some industrial uses. These include evaluating the density of certain materials, eliminating static, generating electricity, and sterilizing some products.
Health Risks of Radiation Exposure
You can be exposed to radiation either externally or by somehow ingesting it. There are three types of radiation. These are alpha rays, beta rays, and gamma rays. Of these three, gamma rays are the most harmful.
Long-term exposure to high levels of radiation can cause skin burns and radiation sickness. Eventually, it can also lead to cancer, lung failure, brain dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease. Minor problems include dehydration, nose bleeds, hair loss, and sore and bruising skin.
You could have extreme exposure by being close to an atomic blast or by working in a radiology department without using protective gear. Alternatively, you could choose to submit to radiation technology to treat a disease such as cancer.
Equipment for Protecting Workers from Gamma Rays
Do frequent operations in your business require workers to be exposed to harmful gamma rays? Then you must provide them with protective equipment. Gamma rays are the most penetrating type of radiation.
A full-body suit that would protect workers from a gamma blast would need to be extremely heavy. In fact, it might even be as heavy as two thousand pounds. Such a suit would be impossible to wear.
However, StemRad has developed partial-body vests that provide a good solution for radiation protection. These shields cover the body’s stem-cell-rich areas, which include the pelvic region, the colon, the ovaries, and the bladder.
This is important, because the leading cause of death for individuals exposed to high doses of radiation is damage to the body’s bone marrow. But if the body still has access to its own unharmed stem cells, some of the acute effects of exposure can be avoided or even reversed.
While StemRad’s shields cover only 11% of the total body, they do go around the pelvic area, which contains 50% of body’s bone marrow. According to cancer and radiation expert Dr. Nelson Chao of Duke University, the StemRad vest saves bone marrow. This prevents the most acute health effects of a gamma blast or long-term exposure.
General Protection Guidelines
A radiation emergency involves the release of a significant amount of harmful radiation. People who work in radiology centers, nuclear power plants, and laboratories that rely on radiation must remain vigilant about such emergencies at all times. Additionally, government regulations require them to wear protective gear while they’re working.
However, any one of us could be exposed to an accident involving radiation. Should this ever happen to you, take these precautions:
- As quickly as you can, go into the nearest building. Also, close all the doors and windows. Stay there until you know it’s safe, at least for 24 hours
- Stay well-informed through social media, TV, or radio
Additionally, it can be a good idea to keep well-stocked emergency kits in your office and in your home at all times.
About the Author
Rafia is a digital marketing guru at Eyesonsolution.Com. She is adept at IT and enjoys writing about various topics. In her free time, she likes to travel and explore different parts of the world. You can read more of her blogs at eyesonsolution.