Lead-free aprons and other apparels are the new, popular choice for radiation protection. The use of lead may be the industry standard for shielding against the hazards of scatter radiation, but its greatest drawback is its toxicity. Barrier Technologies cares deeply for the environment and we understand that disposing of leaded products can be problematic. With this in mind, we strive to develop novel and innovative radiation barriers that forgo the use of lead.
Our new lead-free personal protective equipment (PPE) garments are made with non-toxic, environmentally friendly materials and are easily disposable. When it comes time to discard these items, you don’t need a special disposal program—our non-pollutant, lead-free aprons and other PPE can simply be thrown away in your routine trash removal. As a bonus, our lead-free radiation shielding options are about 30% lighter than their leaded counterparts, facilitating ease of movement and reducing fatigue
Lead vs. Lead-Free Radiation Protection
Radiation protection apparel is a must for radiologic professionals working with ionizing radiation such as x-rays. The following table highlights the characteristics of lead-free vs. lead radiation apparel options, to illustrate the clear advantages of lead-free products.
Benefits of Going Lead-Free
Since the inception of radiation shielding, lead has been the gold standard for protecting workers against the harmful effects of scatter radiation. However, with great advances being made in materials science, alternatives have been on the rise since the 1990s.
Lead-free radiation shielding offers all the advantages of leaded PPE but without drawbacks. If you’re wondering if going lead-free is worth the extra cost, consider the benefits of wearing Barrier Technologies’ lead-free aprons:
- Many radiologic professionals are required to wear protective aprons for hours at a time. Research has found that frequent use of leaded aprons is associated with an increase in musculoskeletal pain. Depending on the style, our lead-free aprons are 28–30% lighter than their lead equivalents. This makes them much easier to wear and move in, especially allowing for greater shoulder mobility, which translates into greater dexterity.
- When measured against the efficacy of lead at attenuating high-frequency electromagnetic radiation, our new lead-free composite was found to be only 1% less effective at shielding than traditional lead. This means that you don’t have to sacrifice safety for comfort, and can choose to wear the lightweight option without worrying that you may be exposed to a significantly higher dose of radiation.
- Because we don’t have to worry about containing lead in stiff, heavy material, our lead-free aprons are covered in our unique, proprietary fabric UltraFlex. It’s stretchy, stain resistant, antibacterial, and can be cleaned with disinfectant. This helps to reduce the incidence of dangerous Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs).
FAQs: Lead-Free Radiation Protective Apparel
Q: How long do lead-free aprons last?
A: As long as your aprons are not folded, properly hung, and cleaned as needed, they should last for many years. Barrier Technologies supplies a variety of different apron racks for storage and maintenance of your lead-free aprons.
Q: How often should lead-free aprons be checked for protective integrity?
A: Your aprons should be professionally inspected at least annually, depending on their usage. If they are used extensively, they should be checked every 6 months. They mustn’t have any cracks, tears, or folds that could compromise their protective ability.
Q: Do lead-free aprons stop radiation completely?
A: No radiation PPE offers 100% protection. Studies show that lead aprons may lower the dose received by over 90%, and lead-free aprons offer about 1% less protection. Therefore lead-free aprons stop at least 89% of the dose.
Q: Are lead-free aprons effective?
A: Lead-free aprons are highly effective and much lighter to wear than leaded options. Therefore they are more comfortable, easier to move in, and less likely to cause musculoskeletal problems. They are exceptional for lengthy procedures.
Q: Are lead-free aprons safe?
A: Lead-free aprons are non-toxic, recyclable, and also safe for non-hazardous disposal. They do not require a special disposal program.
Q: Which are better—lead or lead-free aprons?
A: Both types of radiation protection products are effective, but lead-free aprons to provide numerous benefits, including greater durability and increased staff productivity.
X-rays provide detailed images that enable life-saving treatments and other procedures. Although the benefits far outweigh the risks, prolonged exposure to the harmful effects of scatter radiation has been linked to an increased chance of developing various types of cancers. Radiation protective aprons and other apparel are required to reduce hazardous exposure to both patients and personnel.
Lead has been the primary material utilized in radiation protection aprons for many decades. However, these heavy garments can cause health and environmental problems. Barrier Technologies is always at the forefront of technological advancement. Therefore, we are proud to offer you lead-free lightweight, environmentally friendly, easily disposable options to complement your existing radiation protection apparel. Browse our website and catalogs, and contact us today to place your order.