Here at Barrier Technologies®, we often get asked about lead-free apron durability. This question is thought-provoking as different manufacturers each have their unique, usually secret blend of attenuating materials. Lead shielding contains only one element, but lead-free alternatives are mixtures of several substances. Comparison can be tricky, as different core materials have varying compositions, properties, and longevity.
We can’t venture a generalized statement that includes all lead-free aprons—we can only attest to the incredible durability of our proprietary products. Furthermore, our brilliant research and development team is always working on new and better ways to protect you from scattered radiation.
What Is a Lead-Free Apron?
Initiated in the 1990s, progress in developing non-lead core materials has steadily revolutionized radiation protective apparel. Although this is a relatively new branch of materials science, incremental improvements in non-lead X-ray shielding produce increasingly efficient and safer alternatives to lead. Consequently, lightweight, lead-free aprons have been growing in popularity.
Lead-free aprons have core materials containing mixtures of metals, alloys, and metal salts. Comparable radiation shielding elements include bismuth, tungsten, antimony, titanium, barium, and tin. Each component adds specific properties to the blend. Barrier Technologies’ advanced non-lead core material comprises 12 elements and compounds carefully selected for their attenuating abilities, durability, and low toxicity.
Join the growing trend of radiologic professionals opting for lead-free alternatives. Many medical, veterinary, and dental facilities and practices have ditched their lead aprons in favor of lead-free options. Lightweight, flexible, and recyclable X-ray and dental lead-free aprons offer all the protection your staff and patients need!
Lead-Free X-Ray Aprons vs. Lead Aprons
Lead-free radiation shielding has the protective power of lead without any unfavorable and noxious drawbacks. Consider these salient questions:
1. What Is Their Weight Difference?
The worst part of wearing a lead apron is its weight! Radiologic professionals suffer fatigue, discomfort, and musculoskeletal problems during lengthy medical procedures. An infrared thermography study of lead apron use in surgical operating rooms sought to quantify the impact of load-bearing on body mechanics. Thermal imaging revealed that all muscle groups, particularly those in the trunk and shoulders, take significant strain.
Barrier Technologies fabricates lead-free aprons up to 36% lighter than their leaded counterparts. This difference can be life-changing for those reporting job-related pain and well worth the slightly higher price of going lead-free.
2. How Durable Are They?
The average serviceable lifespan of a regularly worn lead apron is approximately five years. If carefully maintained, it can last a lot longer. The same is true for your lead-free apron—look after it, and it will look after you for years yet to come!
Barrier Technologies manufactures special apron hangers and racks to store your aprons safely between procedures. Also, download our convenient, cloud-based Barrier Track app for apron inventory management.
3. What About Health and the Environment?
Lead is nasty stuff. It’s a neurogenic toxin and an extreme biohazard. Every year, radiologic facilities discard more than 150,000 lead X-ray aprons! These equate to a staggering one million pounds of toxic lead metal waste that can leach into the soil and groundwater.
Barrier Technologies’ lead-free aprons are non-toxic and require no specialized disposal protocols. You can dispose of them safely in your regular waste.
Benefits of Using Lead-Free Aprons
Let’s summarize the impressive advantages of using lead-free aprons:
- They provide equivalent radiation protection to lead aprons.
- Their lighter weight reduces the risk of fatigue and musculoskeletal injuries.
- Their improved flexibility means they are easier to move around in and more comfortable.
- They are not a lead exposure hazard as they can’t shed near invisible, poisonous lead dust.
- They contain non-toxic elements and compounds that won’t threaten health or pollute the environment.
- They are highly durable and less prone to core material deterioration and cracking.
- They eliminate the need for compliance with environmental regulations governing the disposal of hazardous materials.
Try the Best Lead-Free Aprons Available
Barrier Technologies introduces its range of lightweight, lead-free aprons, lined with our revolutionary SecureShield™ core material, available in both 0.35mm Pb and 0.5mm Pb lead equivalence.
1. MagnaGuard Frontal
- Uses our innovative Velcro-free MagnaGuard™ magnetic closure system.
- Includes attached thyroid shield and shoulder pads.
- Covered in our antibacterial, stain-resistant UltraFlex™ fabric.
2. MagnaGuard Wrap
- Technologically advanced MagnaGuard closures and UltraFlex fabric covers.
- Provides full wraparound protection against scatter radiation.
- One-piece design enables easy donning and doffing.
3. Barrier Flex
- Provides excellent weight distribution during lengthy procedures.
- Two fully adjustable Velcro crossover straps ensure a comfortable, secure fit.
- Adjustable elastic inserts in the rear flaps can be cinched to suit your shape.
4. OR Quick Release
- Designed for quick release in the OR without compromising the sterile field.
- Release the Velcro straps at the hips and the apron falls off forwards.
- Adjustable elastic inserts in the rear flaps ensure a perfect fit.
5. The Basic
- Our most economically priced frontal apron.
- Crossover shoulder straps secured with a 2” buckle ensure a snug fit.
- Includes a Velcro-free thyroid collar.
6. Adjustable Flex with Wide Belt
- A wide, adjustable elastic belt shifts the apron’s weight from the shoulders to the hips.
- The belt also provides maximum support to the lower lumbar region.
- The Velcro shoulder strap helps prevent slippage.
7. Support Vest and Skirt
- Full front and back protection with even weight distribution helps reduce body fatigue.
- The adjustable, integrated belt provides maximum support to the lower lumbar region.
- An elastic insert in the skirt ensures a comfortable fit.
8. Barrier Wrap with Support
- Wraparound protection against X-ray radiation, with a double layer at the front.
- One-piece design for effortless donning and doffing.
- A fully adjustable integrated belt provides maximum lower lumbar region support.
9. Barrier Flex Vest and Skirt
- Elasticated waist at the back for extra support during lengthy procedures.
- Even weight distribution helps reduce body fatigue.
- An optional elastic insert in the skirt affords a more comfortable fit.
10. Standard Vest and Skirt
- Designed for maximum protection and freedom of movement.
- Even weight distribution reduces fatigue during lengthy procedures.
- An optional elastic insert in the skirt affords a more comfortable fit.
11. Velcro-free Dental Apron
- Flexible bib-style dental lead-free apron.
- High neck design for thyroid protection.
- With MagnaGuard closure and UltraFlex covering fabric.
Barrier Technologies: Leading Manufacturer of Durable Lead-Free Aprons
It’s no wonder lead-free aprons are rapidly gaining popularity. They have numerous advantages over their cumbersome lead predecessors, including remarkable lightness, increased staff productivity, and non-toxicity.
Furthermore, lead-free apron durability presents a cost-effective, progressivist solution for protection against dangerous ionizing radiation.
Have you joined the radiation shielding revolution? Barrier Technologies offers a variety of lead-free options so you get the perfect fit for your body shape and radiologic application. Contact us to find out more.