LEAD SHIELDING FOR X-RAY

ROOMS
REQUIREMENTS A ND C ONSIDERATIONS W HEN BUILDING A F ACILITY F OR A N X-RAY M ACHINE O R O THER RADIATION MACHINE T HAT REQUIRES A S HIELDED ROOM All medical diagnostic devices that use radiation require that the device be placed in a shielded room or similar area to protect the machine operator and others who may be nearby. In this article we describe the various considerations, expertise and experience needed to build a safe and regulation compliant X-ray room or other radiation shielded facility. We discuss the various lead products that are used in a typical radiation room as well as the factors that determine how they are implemented. Nuclead Inc. has significant experience in supplying all the lead products discussed below as well as providing full construction services for X-Ray rooms. Types of radiation machine and applications for which lead shielding rooms should be built include: Medical or veterinary use of x-ray equipment CT scanner Mammography machine

Mobile x-ray machine used routinely in one location Linear accelerator or other therapy x-ray machine Dental use of x-ray equipment Industrial/educational/governmental use of x-ray equipment Industrial x-ray equipment that is not totally shielded by the equipment design Typically, the rooms are shielded with sheets of lead. The lead shielding is usually laminatedto sheetrock or plywood by pressure sensitive adhesive, the lead sheets overlap to prevent radiation leaks. In doorways the lead shielding is sandwiched between 2 layers of wood or other material, windows are manufactured of lead glass. Additionally, lead strip is used at the seams and behind outlet boxes, and lead plugs are installed over screws to prevent radiation leakage. Lead shielding is not usually required between floors as solid concrete in the floors provides adequate shielding, though in some older buildings shielding the floors or ceilings may be a necessity. RADIATION SHIELDING ROOM DESIGN - FACTORS THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED When building the x-ray installation, the actual layout of the room will significantly affect the design of the radiation shielding. These are some of the factors that must be assessed for lead shielding requirements:• The dimensions of the room – larger rooms will generally require less lead shielding • The positions of the x-ray control, patient and

technician. • X-ray machine manufacturer’s instructions • How the areas adjacent to x-ray room are used, what is their current occupancyand future potential use? • What is the x-ray workload – how many patients per day will be seen? Structural protection plans will need to be provided to all local and national authorities prior to use of the x-ray equipment in the room. GENERAL SHIELDING REQUIREMENTS FOR X-RAYDIAGNOSTIC FACILITIES LEAD WALL MATERIALS The walls of the X-ray room will be built using lead sheetrock or lead plywood. Lead plywood will be used for higher radiation applications as a thicker lead sheet can be attached. Lead sheetrock or lead plywood are used because lead sheet is incapable of supporting itself and may tear and fall under gravity if notbonded to a suitable substrate. A rigid glue thatdoes not permit creep under gravity is required. Rubber based contact cements aregenerally unsuitable. The best method of attaching sheet lead to supportive substrate is to glue it under pressure in a press similar to a door press. Lead sheet may also be glued to plastic laminate, galvanized steel sheet or aluminum sheet. Lead sheet can be incorporated into a metal stud wall clad with sheetrock wall board by gluing it to thin galvanized steel sheet, fastening to the metal studs and then covering with

another sheetrock sheet. Fastening holes such as those produced by screws through the sheet lead should be covered with lead screw shields and seems should be covered with lead strip seam filler.

PROTECTIVE LEAD SHIELDS Within the X-ray room or suite of rooms there will be an area where the X-ray technician retreats to while the X-ray tube is active. This area will be protected by a lead radiation shield. Sheet lead of least 1.3mm in thickness is usually required for lead shieldingof X-rays machines, dental and mammography facilities require less shielding as lower energy x-rays are used and typically use 0.5mm and 0.3mm of lead sheet respectively. In the case of a lead shield which is within 2 meters of the patient or the x-ray tube then a higher thickness may be required. Lead shielding must extend from the floor to a height of more than 2 meters and bewide enough to protect the operator from leakage radiation fromthe tube housing and scattered radiation from the patient. Side protectiveshields may also be required. Any window in the lead shield needs to contain the same lead equivalence, and be made of lead glass, so that the radiographer can observe the patient without being exposed. Lead screens are usually fastened to the floor or wall so that it does not move in day to day operationand only moved during maintenance as needed. LEAD DOORS AND LEAD WINDOWS

Any doors or windows into the X-ray room must provide the same radiation barrier as the walls in which they are located. Doors must have a single sheet of lead covering full height and width of door. Despite looking similar to regular doors, any door containing lead shielding will of course be much heavier than a conventional door and therefore there special hardware, hinges and frames will be required. In addition, the door frames must also be lead lined will be to ensure a complete protective barrier. Lead oxide is mixed in with the other components when lead glass is manufactured so that the lead glass is effective for x-ray shielding, in the X-ray room any viewing windows will be manufactured from lead glass. D EVELOPING ROOM PASS HATCH If the room contains an X-ray film pass hatch between the x-ray room and a dark room, it must be lined leadsheet, suitably supported and overlapped. The shielding must be on the x-ray room side ofthe pass hatch. NUCLEAD’S X-RAY ROOM BUILDING CAPABILITIES Nuclead can offer lead-based general contractor services in Massachusetts and are licensed for x-ray room construction, radiation rooms and general lead construction projects. Nuclead will quote your entire project start to finish, to your drawings or prints, including any lead construction materials

and lead building supplies. Nuclead can servicehospitals, doctor’s offices and dental offices – anywhere x-ray, gamma ray or radiation containment is required. CONCLUSION Building regulation compliant x-ray rooms requires several levels of knowledge and expertise. This is includes lead shielding knowledge, construction experience with lead materials as well as general contractor experience. Nuclead has all of the experience required for this demanding application.

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