You may have heard or seen ALARA and are unsure of its meaning. Regarding radiation doses, ALARA stands for “as low as reasonably achievable.” Radiationsafety.com is a radiation detection company that provides instruments for measuring radiation in the form of a radiation dosimetry badge and rings.
The ALARA principle is based on a linear-no-threshold dose model and is the foundation of a program to keep radiation exposure at a minimum. ALARA programs are required for all radiation protection programs by federal and state rules and regulations. ALARA is suggested to protect people from exposure to radiation and the environment from additional and unintended release of radioactive materials.
Three techniques in an ALARA program are time, distance, and shielding. These three principles are practical individually but most effectively work in tandem.
Time: Limit or minimize the time you are exposed to radiation. The radiation dose is linearly correlated to the length of time you are exposed to radiation. The longer the exposure, the more damage. Like sunburn can occur within 30 minutes, radiation burns from x-rays, alpha rays, or gamma rays can happen quickly and cause painful injury.
Distance: Limit or minimize the proximity to the source of radiation. The closer the exposure, the more damage. The severity of injury due to radiation exposure exponentially decreases comparatively to the distance to the source.
Shielding: Devices can protect from radioactivity. Shielding works because of the principle of attenuation, the gradual decrease of energy’s intensity through a medium, by absorbing radiation between the source of radioactivity and the location to be protected. Radiation shielding comes in many forms, including the lead in aprons, glasses, walls, and shields.
Additionally, ALARA programs can incorporate techniques to limit internal radiation exposure, including controlling contamination, minimizing airborne hazards, proper hygiene, and using the correct PPE.
Controlling Contamination: If a spill or exposure to radioactive materials occurs, managing it quickly with absorbent papers and spill trays disposed of in a labeled waste container is essential. Radioactive materials should have proper labels and containers before a spill occurs to limit possible contamination.
Minimizing Airborne Hazards: During or after a spill or when working with gaseous substances, measures should be taken to reduce airborne contamination. Using ventilation hoods and avoiding aerosols minimizes the potential to breathe in radioactive particles.
Proper Hygiene: You reduce radiation hazards by exercising good hygiene and cleanliness at work and home. It is not advised to eat or drink when radioactive substances are present. Take caution not to put your hands near your mouth or nose or touch your eyes in the presence of radiation. These simple practices help reduce internal radiation exposure.
PPE: Personal protective equipment must be worn in all circumstances around radioactivity. Gloves, a lab coat, goggles, and any shielding devices should be worn, but it is ineffective if PPE is not worn correctly. In addition, an instrument for measuring radiation, like those sold at radiationsafety.com, must be included in PPE.
Implementing these ALARA techniques and educating staff to utilize them can minimize radiation exposure and keep radioactive doses as low as reasonably achievable. As always, check with your RSO.
X-Ray, Gamma, and Beta Radiation Dosimeters for Medical Personnel
Radiation exposure comes in various forms, including X-rays, gamma rays, and beta particles. Dosimeters used by medical professionals measure multiple types of ionizing radiation while keeping medical personnel safe. The dosimeters monitor exposure rates and are sent to the lab. Our lob reads the dosimeter badges and issues a report within 2-3 business days. As a healthcare worker, you should be aware of the dangers. Understanding the basics and some good practices in the office can help protect you.
Our bodies are like sponges when it comes to radiation. X-ray radiation is absorbed in our bodies and can harm our health. For example, x-ray radiation can damage DNA structures. Over time, radiation exposure can lead to hair loss, organ failure, and cancer.
Beta and gamma exposure can also harm our bodies. Beta radiation is emitted by radioactive materials such as cobalt60, cesium 137, and strontium 90. This type of radiation damages DNA and can lead to cancer. Gamma radiation is emitted by high-energy photons, such as those produced by a nuclear reactor. Gamma radiation can also damage DNA and also lead to cancer.
Practicing safe protocols is critical when working around radiation with ALARA.
ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable
Time- How much time do you spend around the radioactive source?
Distance- How close are you to the radioactive source?
Shielding-Do you have a shield between yourself and the radiation source?
For more information, contact the CDC or talk with your radiation safety officer (RSO).
What Should I Know About Wearing a Dosimeter Badge?
There are proper ways to wear a dosimeter badge to ensure it functions properly. Dosimeter badges, like those from radiationsafety.com, monitor your radiation exposure, but only if worn correctly. So, what should you know about wearing a dosimeter badge?
Radiationsafety.com offers OSL, short for optically stimulated luminescence, badges, which are instruments for measuring radiation. OSL dosimeter badges are the industry standard for governments, hospitals, labs, and companies worldwide. An OSL dosimeter is a passive form of radiation detection and requires optical stimulation to function.
OSL technology is more advanced and accurate than TLD dosimeters. A TLD dosimeter, or thermoluminescent dosimeter, is a passive radiation dosimeter that measures ionizing radiation. The TLD dosimeter requires heat to function. Therefore, they are most useful for situations where information about radiation amounts needs to be precise over a specified period.
Medical practitioners and scientists use clip-on dosimeter badges and dosimeter rings. They are part of PPE and are standard monitoring devices. They are individualized for each employee to monitor radiation exposure over time.
Radiation detection devices do not block the wearer from radiation but are used to monitor radiation exposure. Dosimeter badges and rings are one part of an ALARA program. ALARA stands for “as low as reasonably achievable.” Employers are directed by federal and state law to implement an ALARA program for staff. As part of ALARA programs, minimize radiation exposure by limiting the time and proximity to a radioactive source. Take cover or shield yourself if you are near the source. REMEMBER-TIME, DISTANCE, and SHIELDING are the three principles of radiation safety.
Lead is a common material used in shielding devices. Follow these principles when wearing lead or not.
When Wearing Lead
Wear two dosimeter badges – one on your waist under the lead and one on your collar on top of the lead.
Alternatively, wear one dosimeter badge on your chest over the lead.
Dosimeter rings must be worn under gloves.
Pregnant women should wear a dosimeter badge on their waist under the lead.
When Not Wearing Lead
Wear one dosimeter badge on your chest
Dosimeter rings must be worn under gloves.
Pregnant women should wear a dosimeter badge on their waist under the lead.
Badges are collected and measured regularly, either monthly or every other month. Those working in high-exposure circumstances or pregnant women might have their badges collected and measured more frequently. Badges and rings should not be worn during medical x-rays and examinations or intentionally exposed to radiation. These devices monitor radioactivity occupationally. It is imperative that each individual keeps track of their badge and never wears another person’s badge. This causes inaccurate measurements of an individual’s radiation dosage.
Badges should be stored safely and securely when not at work, away from the source of radiation or anything contaminated. Do not bring the badge home. When receiving a new badge, the old badge and the control badge should be sent to the laboratory for reading. Contact your employer immediately if a radiation detection badge or ring is misplaced.
Radiationsafety.com is a radiation detection company that provides radiation monitoring devices like dosimeter badges and rings that are reliable and affordable when appropriately worn by the user. The above statements are to serve as a guide. As always, check with your manufacturer to determine the safest way to monitor your radiation.
What is dosimetry? Dosimetry is the process of measuring radiation. Multiple instruments are available that detect and measure the presence of radiation found in a laboratory, handheld, or worn, like a dosimeter badge or ring from RadiationSafety.com.
When ionizing radiation loosens electrons, phosphor crystals in a dosimeter or dosimetry badge capture and store them. When those crystals are exposed to heat, they emit light as the electrons are released from the crystals, which illuminates a light on a dosimeter badge, band, or ring. That light is later measured and processed to provide an accurate amount of radiation to which the dosimeter was exposed. When the dosimeter badge, band, or ring is worn over a period of time, anywhere from one to three months, the crystals can then be used to determine how much exposure the wearer has had over that time period. This process is known as dosimetry.
A TLD dosimeter, or thermoluminescent dosimeter, is a passive radiation dosimeter and works by measuring ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is caused by X-rays, gamma rays, beta particles, alpha particles, and other radioactive isotopes that carry enough energy to free electrons from their orbit around normally stable molecules. While this can cause damage to cells in living tissue, it also can be captured and measured in a well-designed environment, like in a dosimetry badge. In addition, ionizing radiation causes damage over time, so it is essential to monitor, limit and control how much a person is exposed to.
Invented by Professor Farringon Daniels of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1954, the TLD dosimeter requires heat to function. They are most useful for situations where information about radiation amounts needs to be precise but is not required immediately. TLD dosimeters can measure accumulated dosages to monitor potential health impact.
Active Vs. Passive Dosimetry
As previously mentioned, TLD dosimeters are passive dosimeters, meaning they can operate without any external energy source and do not immediately provide radiation dosage readouts. Active dosimeters, on the other hand, require power and energy to operate and can be read in real-time. Some of our competitors offer an active dosimeter that a high failure rate. When purchasing, get in writing what is their published failure rate for their dosimeter.
Pros and Cons of TLD Dosimeters
TLD dosimeters measure a large range of doses over a period of time
TLD dosimeters may have a lower cost than other dosmeters.
One of the largest manufacturers of TLD badges and readers quit servicing their machines.
RadationSafety.com provides radiation badges and rings that are affordable and discreet. They utilize optically stimulated luminescence OSL technology, which is a more advanced technology than TLD dosimeters. OSL dosimeter badges are the industry standard used by the government, hospitals, labs, and companies around the world. An OSL dosimeter works similarly to a TLD dosimeter, but an OSL dosimeter only requires optical stimulation, whereas a TLD dosimeter requires heat in order to function. These small and discrete radiation badges can be worn on your lapel and are designed to detect X-rays, gamma radiation, beta particles, and neutron radiation.
OSL, Advanced Technology for Radiation Measurement
RadiationSafety.com utilizes OSL dosimetry in its radiation detection badges. OSL is optically stimulated luminescence; dosimetry is used to measure ionizing radiation dosages. It allows for measuring exposure to radioactive isotopes over a specific time. Many agree that OSL dosimetry is a better alternative to thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) technology.
OSL dosimeter badges are the industry standard used by the government, hospitals, labs, and companies worldwide. An OSL dosimeter is a passive form of radiation detection and requires optical stimulation to function. These small and discrete personal radiation badges detect X-rays, gamma radiation, and beta particles.
OSL dosimeters are composed of materials that trap electrons from radioactive isotopes in their defective crystalline structure. Some utilize aluminum oxide (AI203) to absorb and release radioactive energy to precisely measure the radiation dose received. The OSL dosimeters store the electrons until it is released through stimulation. While heat is used to stimulate TLD dosimeters, light stimulates the elements within the OSL dosimeters. The OSL dosimeter then releases the energy stored in the dosimeter as the emitted light is measured. Since they utilize passive technology. The laboratory can read the OSL badge multiple times without a significant fade. OSL dosimeters provide a very high degree of sensitivity and can give an accurate reading as low as 1 mrem for gamma-ray particles and x-ray particles. In addition, OSL dosimeters measure the amount of scatter ionizing radiation for workers. OSL radiation detection badges can also be positioned as an area monitor in the room. Having an area monitor measures the radiation in the environment over a specified period of time.
Basics of OSL Technology
An OSL dosimeter should be worn on the outside of your clothing, between your neck and abdomen, where the most radiation is likely to be absorbed. Often, the detection badges are attached to lapels or collars of lab coats. Scientists, technicians, researchers, and medical professionals are encouraged to wear them whenever they come in contact with or close to a radiation source, especially over prolonged periods of time. It is especially prudent for pregnant women working in these environments to use and wear radiation detection badges like those from RadiationSafety.com, especially because OSL dosimeters are more sensitive than the comparable TLD dosimeters.
Our OSL radiation detection x-ray badges are shockproof, water resistant, and unaffected by heat. The radiation monitors are durable and simple to use. With OSL technology, badges are re-readable. TLD dosimeters do not have the capability of being read multiple times. A second reading of the radiation dose from an OSL dosimeter may only decrease by as small as one percent difference compared to its first reading. All radiation doses are stored so that if needed, it can be reread years later.