The effects of radiation exposure are more manageable thanks to three major factors that reduce the risks: duration, distance from the source, and nuclear shielding.
The most important factor is adequate radiation shielding, as it can be difficult for people close by or exposed for a long period of time without protection. Lead shielding, like lead aprons and thyroid shields, are industry standards for protecting against scatter radiation doses due to their protective properties; heavy metals like silver deflects harmful rays away from your body’s surface area.
Effects of Radiation Exposure
Two types of biological effects occur with radiation exposure: deterministic effects and scholastic effects.
Hair loss and skin burns are deterministic effects that do not occur below a certain threshold value. As a result, lowering the dose below this amount has no adverse consequences – hair won’t fall out, or your skin won’t start burning. However, cataracts and opacity in the eyes have been attributed to these types of side effects as well. Still, it’s always important to wear the appropriate nuclear shielding even if radiation levels are low.
Scholastic effects (for example, carcinogenesis and teratogenesis) have no upper limit, so they may manifest as side effects when there is an exposure to radiation, no matter how small. As the dose of radiation increases, so does the likelihood that a person will experience adverse properties such as cancer. In fact, 2% of all cancers are caused by being exposed to too much radiation in one area or another—another reason why proper radiation shielding is important at all times.
The human body reacts differently to radiation depending on the organ it is exposed to. Some organs, such as the ovaries and testicles, are more sensitive than others, so they react in various ways when exposed to high doses of radiation. The rest of your major organs, like bone marrow, can be seriously damaged after only a small amount of exposure. This can cause them not to function properly anymore either due to damage or death from cancerous cells that form afterward.
For radiation protection, lead aprons are used. These provide about the same level of protection as a 0.25- to 1-mm thick piece of lead shielding and absorb approximately 90% or more scatter radiation. Lead glasses with at least 0.5 mm thickness can also help protect against scattered radiation, and it’s critical to wear these when the most sensitive part of your body, your eyes, are exposed. This will be where you’ll feel any harmful effects first.
Thyroid shields are an excellent way to safeguard yourself from scatter radiation. These thyroid shields reduce the risk of developing cancer due to exposure by more than half, making them worthwhile for anyone who’s had their neck or throat exposed.