Can medical x-rays stop you working near radiation?

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Graham Wharton

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Graham Wharton  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi guys,

As part of my work I am occassionally required to work close to a nuclear reactor. I wear a personal radiation dosimeter which allows my exposure to radiation to be measured.

My question is regarding the amount of exposure that you receive when you are having medical X-Rays, and how do these levels compare with the maximum dosage that radiation workers are allowed to receive per year.

I had a motorcycle accident last year and I received 2 X-Rays of the hand, a chest X-Ray and two upper body CT Scans. Are these exposures significant when compared to the levels a radiation worker is allowed to receive. Also what happens for procedures such as Angioplasty where you are receiving a constant stream of X-Rays to provide live imaging to the surgeon throughout the whole procedure.

Wouldn't this result in a massive radiation dose, and can any medical procedure give you sufficient exposure to mean that you would no longer be able to continue work as a radiation worker?



What do you think?


Offline graham.d

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Can medical x-rays stop you working near radiation?
« Reply #1 on: 04/12/2009 14:56:50 »
Your concern would be about the total accumulated radiation dose over a set period of time. However the health and safety limits are quite low so you should would not be unduly worried about a few medical X-rays. It would really be the same sort of thing as having four X-rays in a set period instead of two. Doubling a low level is still a low level. It is not what would be called a "massive radiation dose" which is usually reserved for a serious mistake resulting in a very large dose.

Typical angioplasty dosage is about 9mSv which is equivalent to 450 chest x-rays so you should perhaps take consultation on this. However even this is only equivalent from what you get from background radiation over a 4 year period.