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Radiation Badge: Everything You Need to Know

Radiation is the transmission of energy in a particle or waveform. If your body absorbs too much radiation, the radiation particles can break down your DNA strands and destroy surrounding cells. This mutation can eventually lead to cancer and even death. 

In fact, radiation is the main contribution to the death of Marie Curie, the famous female scientist known for developing x-rays. Because many labs and facilities have scatter radiation along with direct exposure in labs, it can be challenging to understand how much radiation your body has absorbed. Luckily, a radiation badge can tell you the exact dosage that you’re exposed to.

A radiation badge ensures that professionals working near any radioactive material will be monitored so that they do not absorb too much of the radiation based on exposure. This device has become a major lifesaver, helping scientists and other workers to conduct operations safely.

Med-pro creates radiation badges to ensure your safety. Read more about the functions of a radiation badge so you know how to put your protection first.

Related: Late Radiation Detection Badges?

Dangers Of Radiation

Being exposed to low-levels of radiation, like some healthcare workers do in the lab, doesn’t result in any immediate health problems, can raise the risk of developing health issues such as cancer over long periods of time. There are studies out there that highlight long-term records of groups of people who have been exposed to radiation, such as radiation industry workers and atomic bomb survivors. Many studies illustrate that radiation exposure significantly raises the likelihood of getting cancer, and the risk goes up as the dose increases; essentially, the higher the dose, the higher the risk. On the other hand, cancer risk from radiation exposure falls with the dose. 

Risks that are relatively minimal for an individual could still cause significant rises in the numbers of cancer in a larger population as time goes on. In a population of one million people, for example, an average one-percent increase in lifetime cancer risk for individuals could end up resulting in 10,000 additional cancers! Regulatory limits set by the EPA recommend emergency response guidelines well below 100 millisieverts (10 rem) for the U.S. population, especially sensitive groups like children and pregnant women, from accumulated radiation dose over a lifetime.

What is a Radiation Badge?

A radiation badge, also called a film badge dosimeter or film badge, is a device that stores dosage information for ionizing radiation. Employees wear these devices outside their clothes in front of their chest in order to get information about the amount of radiation that each vital organ is absorbing.

For this reason, anyone who receives a dosage of over 0.5 rems on an annual basis must wear a radiation badge. In order to get one, you can simply fill out the dosimeter request form. Then, your company will provide you with the device that they choose.


What is the Purpose of a Radiation Dosimetry Badge?

Wrist x-ray

If you are near any material or facility that has a large amounts of ionizing radiation, then you should strongly consider purchasing a film badge dosimeter. A film badge dosimeter monitors your radiation exposure to prevent you from exposure to over 10% of the allowable radiation limit (ALARA).

The radiation badge measures the amount of radiation your body is exposed to so that you do not absorb large amounts of ionized radiation. When you are in a radioactive facility, you should always carry your film badge dosimeter with you. Otherwise, you will be unable to tell if you are near hazardous material or if there is radiation in anything you are working with on a daily basis. This is because radiation is invisible and scentless.

Luckily, the radiation badge can provide us with accurate and detailed analysis of exactly how much radiation our body absorbs. A radiation badge utilizes the information pertaining to the depth of body tissue of interest, including the liver layer of the skin (around 0.7 cm), the length of the eyes (0.3 cm), and the depth of the dosage to the entire body (1.0 cm). If the radiation badge shows you are absorbing too much radiation, it is then critical to find your current rates of exposure and your lifetime exposure. Remember, monitoring your radiation exposure can help prevent potential DNA breakage, cell damage, cancer or even death.


History of the Radiation Badge

The radiation badge was developed by physicist Ernest O Wollen, who was working on the Manhattan project. At that time, he and a team of scientists were working with photographic films. They noticed that the images they developed were filled with radioactive material. During his time working on the Manhattan project, Ernest O Wollen focused his attention to measuring radiation exposure by developing the film badge dosimeter. This proved an important discovery to the rest of his research, including radioactive materials, radium sources, cosmic rays, and nuclear chain reactions.


How Radiation Badge Monitoring Works

Testing vial

The radiation badge monitoring contains a lithium fluoride crystal. This crystal is radiation-sensitive and is able to indicate if there is too much of it in your body. When the atoms from the crystal absorb the radiation, the electrons get trapped in the excited state. This elevates the temperature levels in the crystal, which causes energy to be released. When that happens, it reflects visible light to measure the radiation dose. The minimum amount of dosage that the body can absorb is ten millirem for x-rays and gamma ray. 

Do I need a dosimeter if I am pregnant?

There are currently occupational radiation control rules stipulating a specific dose limit protecting the unborn child (known as an embryo/fetus) of a radiation worker who establishes her pregnancy formally. The dose limit for a radiation worker who is officially pregnant is 500mR throughout the entire pregnancy. Generally, the dose limit for radiation workers who are not pregnant is around 5000 mrem per year. If a radiation worker becomes pregnant, they are not required to officially declare their pregnancy. However, the pregnancy must be declared officially and in writing to the Radiation Safety Program in order for the Radiation Safety Program to implement any control measures or dosimetry for monitoring. A pregnant radiation worker may  not necessarily require dosimetry.

Related: How Many Years to Keep Radiation Monitoring Reports?

Guidelines on What is a Radiation Dosimeter Badge

The most important guideline for the radiation dosimeter badge is to wear it properly. You typically want to make sure that the badge is between your neck and your waist unless you are wearing a fetal monitor. For specific guidelines, please connect with your lab.  Generally, it is best to wear the radiation dosimeter badge outside of your shirt and in front of your chest. The whole body badge contains can measure the radiation that is being absorbed from your vital organs. Make sure that the badge is facing the radiation source. 

Another essential guideline is that you should never share your badge with another person or wear a badge that somebody else has used. If you noticed that your radiation dosimeter badge is missing, then you should notify your radiation safety officer and immediately get it replaced. Additionally, it is important to never intentionally put your badge near any radioactive sources. 

Your badge should only be used for occupational purposes. If you are going to see the doctor for medical reasons like an x-ray or radiation treatment, then you should never wear your badge. It is essential to follow the guidelines to ensure that you do not break any laws and that you receive accurate data on exactly how much radiation exposure you get from work.


Take Home Message

If you work in a power plant, lab, facility, hospital, or near radioactive materials and exposure, then it is essential to get yourself a radiation badge. This device is able to record how much scatter radiation you get from the facility or the material that you are using for work. If you are exposed to over a certain amount of radiation, then it is best to take yourself further away from that location, so that you do not subject your body to DNA and cell damage. 

The film badge dosimeter has saved many lives by preventing individuals from receiving overexposure of radiation. Because of its critical usage, many facilities are making it a requirement for their workers and contractors to wear their badge during working hours. Through the advancement of technology, the evolution of the radiation badge has become even more advanced and useful. Eventually, scientists might be able to create a device that not only records data, but is also able to protect the individual. Browse our selection of radiation badges to see which product is right for your facility.


Related: Dosimetry Badge Use and Disuse

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