Last updated on June 19th, 2020.
Although radiation protection aprons serve only one key function as their name implies, they come in different varieties. Here, we have listed below the different factors you should consider when choosing this type of apron for your use:
- Shielding material
- Protection capacity
To further assist you, allow me to discuss each factor in detail.
- The shielding material will depend on the strength and the type of the radiation to which a subject is exposed. Lead is the most common element used for shielding, but lead alloys and non-lead options may also be used depending on the application and circumstances.
- The protection capacity of the material depends on its composition, its condition, and its thickness. Lead is a top choice for a shielding component because it is very dense and can scatter radioactive waves more effectively than other materials can. Shields that are not made of lead may also be used for as long as they can prevent the radiation from penetrating through them.
The required thickness of the protective material depends on the strength of the radiation. The minimum thickness for lead is at .25 mm. However, this thickness is prescribed only for X-rays, Gamma rays, and other types of radiation that have the same intensity as these rays. Radiation that is not as powerful as these do not require usage of a lead apron.
The condition of the apron matters a lot in determining whether or not it keeps the body safe. The slightest tears and cracks will result in some of the energy seeping through the material. Be advised that this may cause cancer and other radiation-induced ailments. Because of this, it’s crucial that you buy top quality radiation protection aprons from reliable suppliers and check their condition regularly.
Take note that aprons can cover only a portion of the body, though they can be paired with vests, skirts, or collars for additional protection. The radiologist will determine the body parts that will come into contact with the radiation and recommend the proper apparel for the procedure.
- There are several styles of aprons depending on how they will be used:
- Adjustable – Protective aprons need to fit a person securely. Because of this, adjustable aprons are useful for adequately covering people of various sizes and shapes.
- Quick drop – Quick drop aprons allow rapid removal. These are often used during surgical applications where the sterility of the environment is of utmost importance. The apron is removed at only a few points, thus minimizing contact with unsterile areas.
- Weight relieving – These aprons distribute the weight evenly. They are recommended for those who are uncomfortable with the heavy weight of the more “conventional” aprons. As someone who suffers from back pain quite regularly, I find weight relieving aprons to be very effective.
- Aprons with flexible areas – Radiation protection aprons, especially ones made of lead, are not supposed to be bended or pulled out of shape. This has the effect of greatly limiting its wearer’s movements. Fortunately, some aprons are designed to have flexible spots to ensure greater comfort.
- Fast wrap – A fast wrap apron greatly helps those who have trouble attaching the apron to their bodies. It also guarantees rapid removal of the apron.
- Belts – A wide belt provides support and secures the apron.
- Ties – This is the cheapest style of aprons. Tie straps and shoulder straps keep the protective gear securely in position.
- Coat – An apron can have a coat-like design that protects both the front and the back of the wearer’s body.
- Vest and Kilt Apron – An alternative to the one-piece apron is the vest and kilt. This distributes the weight of the garments between the person’s hips and shoulders.
- ¾ wrap – This is a compromise between the full apron and the two-piece version.
- Cooling technology – Those who are sensitive to radiation heat will benefit from apron cooling devices.
- X-back – People who have back problems may choose X-backed aprons to feel more comfortable while wearing them.
- The weight of radiation protection aprons largely depends on the kind, amount, and thickness of the shielding material. Regular lead (the most common variety) is the heaviest of all but it is also the most reliable. Lead mixed with other substances is lighter but the result may not be enough to protect against heavy duty radiation. Aprons without lead can be ultra-light but again, they are only useful in instances of light radiation.
- The price of the apron will depend on the quality, the shielding material used, the style, and the brand. If you are interested in finding aprons that fit your needs and budget, I suggest you try Kemper Medical. It is one of the leading providers of radiation protection aprons worldwide, and they have plenty of options available for customers.