The term radiation often pulls up scary thoughts. Some people conjure up the image of massive reptilian monsters attacking cities. Others find tears in their eyes and their hearts missing loved ones. Yet, for some people, this is their daily job. Understanding radiation badges are an essential part of dealing with this complex energy.
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.
Radiation is the main contributing factor to Marie Curie’s death, the famous female scientist known for developing x-rays. Because many labs and facilities often have scatter radiation in the surrounding environment 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 who work near any radioactive material can monitor their individual exposure levels throughout their shifts. Being able to measure radiation levels helps to protect them from absorbing an excessive amount of radiation, despite being exposed.
This device has become a significant lifesaver, helping scientists, doctors, and other workers while providing the best service they can within potentially dangerous conditions.
Med-pro creates radiation badges that put your protection first. The information provided in this in-depth guide provides the functions of a radiation badge and can help save lives through the proper use of your radiation badge.
DANGERS OF RADIATION
Being exposed to low-levels of radiation, like some healthcare workers who work within the laboratory settings, doesn’t result in any immediate health problems. However, working within these conditions over extended amounts of time can raise the risk of developing health issues such as cancer.
Many studies illustrate that radiation exposure significantly raises the likelihood of getting cancer. The risk goes up as the dose and intensity of radiation increases. Essentially, the higher the amount, the higher the risk. On the other hand, the risk of cancer from radiation exposure falls when exposed to less radiation.
Even some relatively minimal risks for an individual could potentially cause significant rises in the number of cancer cases. The results would be reflected in a larger population and become more apparent as time goes on. For example, in a population of one million people, an average one-percent increase in cancer risk for individuals could result in 10,000 additional cancer cases within that population!
Employers are responsible for complying with OSHA requirements, including dose limits when it comes to radiation. Even in emergency situations, companies are still accountable for following all OSHA standards to protect employees and civilians.
Radiation standards overall cover the limit for the entire body. Those limits are set at a dose of 1.25 rem per quarter, which means that professionals should not be exposed to more than five rem of radiation to their body per year. Rem refers to a unit of dosing that is one of the two standard units that measure radiation.
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WHAT IS A RADIATION BADGE?
These I.D-sized devices contain a radiation-sensitive crystal that monitors the radiation levels an individual is exposed to. Sometimes these do look like standard I.D. style badges, but they are also commonly shaped like rings that professionals can just slip onto their finger.
Also called a film badge dosimeter, or even simply film badge, these devices are worn outside of employees’ clothes. A radiation badge helps gather information about the amount of radiation that each vital organ is exposed to.
How does a Radiation Badge work?
Radiation badges track if and when an employee receives a dosage of over 0.5 rems annually. Employees that work within these hazardous conditions should always be wearing some form of radiation badge.
Radiation badges work because of the radiation-sensitive lithium fluoride crystal. Electrons get trapped within the crystal when they are exposed to radiation. The crystal will hold that energy until it is heated at extremely high temperatures. Released energy during extraction gives off a visible light and measures how much radiation it has been exposed to.
The process is often referred to as thermoluminescent dosimeters. These badge-style devices report a minimum of 10 millirems for x-rays and gamma rays, whereas the ring begins detecting at 20 millirems.
If you believe that you may be exposed to radiation, most employers have a dosimeter request form. Fill one out, and the company will provide you with the device they believe best suits your position.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A RADIATION DOSIMETRY BADGE?
If you are near any material or facility that has significant 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 ionizing radiation. When you are in a radioactive facility, you should always have your film badge dosimeter with you and be sure to wear it. Otherwise, you will be unable to tell if you are near hazardous material or radiation in anything you are working with daily.
Utilizing a radiation badge even when you believe yourself to be safe can give you an accurate reading of your daily exposure. Because radiation isn’t visible and has no smell, we cannot detect it without specialized equipment. Wearing your radiation badge is the only way to ensure you are working in a safe environment.
Luckily, the radiation badge can provide us with an 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 critical to find your current exposure rates and lifetime exposure. Remember, monitoring your radiation exposure can help prevent potential DNA breakage, cell damage, cancer, or even death.
HISTORY OF THE RADIATION BADGE
After America dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, the American government signed a contract with du Pont that launched a new explosives division. The new explosive division would serve as the foundation for the Manhattan Project and what would later turn into radiation badges.
In the early days of the Manhattan Project, Dr. Arthur H. Compton assembled a team of radiologists to study with him at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory. Dr. Robert S. Stone was one of those people, and he further recruited Dr. S.T. Cantril, a radiation therapist, and H.M. Parker. This assemblage was the beginning of a large-scale radiation program. At that time, no one knew the impact of radiation or the effect of what their studies would lead to.
The radiation badge was developed by a physicist, Ernest O Wollen, who was one of the 160 employees working on the Manhattan Project under the supervision of Dr. Arthur Compton. The team initially worked with photographic films and noticed that the developed images were filled with radioactive material.
That discovery leads to Ernest to focus his attention on measuring radiation exposure by developing the film badge dosimeter. That style is also still used today. The noticing of the existence of radiation proved to be an important discovery to the rest of his research, including radioactive materials, radium sources, cosmic rays, and nuclear chain reactions.
Related: How to detect radiation
HOW RADIATION BADGE MONITORING WORKS
The radiation badge monitoring contains a lithium fluoride crystal. This crystal is radiation-sensitive and can 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. The trapped electrons elevate the temperature levels in the crystal, which causes energy to be released. When that happens, it reflects visible light to measure the radiation dose.
These badges that detect radiation levels are exchanged and processed. Exchanging radiation badges occurs typically quarterly. Individual employees are responsible for their own badges at all times. However, they do not need to pay a fee to have a badge processed. If a badge is misplaced, a company may incur a cost that the irresponsible employee will pay.
After a badge has been returned and processed, it will be returned to a workplace to redistribute. If the results show that safe levels of radiation have been exceeded, an employee will be contacted by personnel, and they will investigate.
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 (referred to medically as an embryo or fetus) of a radiation worker who formally establishes her pregnancy. The dose limit for a radiation worker who is pregnant is 500mR throughout the entire nine-month 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 declare their pregnancy officially. However, the pregnancy must be formally stated 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.
GUIDELINES ON WHAT IS A RADIATION DOSIMETER BADGE
The most crucial 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. Your lab should have specific guidelines for those types of cases or other medical anomalies that might interfere with the dosimeter.
For the most precise test results, it is best to wear the radiation dosimeter badge outside your shirt and in front of your chest. The whole body badge can measure the radiation that is being absorbed from your vital organs. Make sure that the badge is facing the radiation source so that it reflects accurately.
It is also essential that you never share a radiation dosimeter badge. You should also never wear another employee’s badge. While you both may be in similar conditions, it can skew test results, and minor differences in radiation amounts can add up and have costly effects.
If you noticed that your radiation dosimeter badge is missing, you should notify your radiation safety officer and immediately replace it. Additionally, it is vital never to intentionally put your badge near any radioactive sources.
Related: Get your badge replaced
You should only use your badge for occupational purposes. If you see the doctor for medical reasons like an x-ray or radiation treatment, you should never wear your badge. Medical staff will be reporting your exposure separately. 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. More importantly, wear your radiation badge properly.
This device is able to record how much scatter radiation you get from being in the facility or from the material that you are using while completing your tasks at work.
If you believe that you have been exposed to a certain amount of radiation over the restrictions. It is best to take yourself further away from that location so that you do not subject your body to the effects of over-saturation of radiation.
The film badge dosimeter has saved many lives by stopping individuals from receiving too high of an amount of radiation. Because of its critical usage, many facilities require their workers and contractors to wear their badges during working hours.
The evolution of the radiation badge has become even more advanced and practical through the advancement of technology. Eventually, scientists might be able to create a device that records data and is also able to protect the individual.
If you work in a place that doesn’t offer radiation badges but would like one for yourself, Med Pro provides the best radiation monitor badges currently available. Browse our selection of radiation badges.
Are you ready to make the workplace safer? Med Pro is here to help you with all of your radiation badge needs. Contact us today and have your quote by tomorrow.