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Radiation Shielding Requirements

Basic radiation shielding requirements depend on several factors. The type of radiation encountered, length of radiation exposure, and distance from the source of radiation are all important in determining the correct shielding requirements. The guide below offers a brief overview of what is required for basic protection against workplace radiation exposure.

Contact Radiation Protection Products to discuss the radiation shielding requirements of your unique application.

Type of Radiation Exposure

Different types of radiation are emitted with different levels of energy behind them. The greater the energy of the radiation, the greater the level of shielding required to safely shield against it.

  • Alpha radiation (α) is very weak and requires little shielding-the outermost layer of human skin is generally enough to protect against it.
  • Beta radiation (β) requires more protection, such as heavy clothing. Certain beta radiation particles can penetrate and burn the skin. 
  • Gamma radiation (γ) and x-ray radiation are considerably stronger and require thick, dense shielding, such as lead.

Radiation Protection Products manufactures lead shielding and lead products that provide effective protection against all types of radiation exposure. We can provide radiation shielded walls, windows, and doors to meet and radiation shielding requirements.

Radiation Exposure Time

Obviously, the longer the time one spends near a source of radiation, the greater the level of radiation exposure. Even the briefest periods of direct gamma or x-ray radiation exposure can be extremely hazardous, and unprotected exposure to any sort of radiation for any length of time should be avoided. Extended indirect radiation exposure (e.g. an x-ray technician who is in a separate, but nearby, room from the x-ray source for several hours a day) also requires shielding to prevent workplace radiation exposure and keep personnel safe.

The longer one must be exposed, directly or indirectly, to radiation, the greater the level of shielding required. For medical and dental patients, for example, the length of direct radiation exposure from x-rays is very brief, therefore a lead vest is sufficient for safe shielding. However, because an x-ray technician experiences indirect radiation exposure for extended periods, the radiation shielding requirements are much greater.

Distance from Source of Radiation

The greater the distance from a source of radiation, the lower the level of radiation exposure. Doubling the distance from the source reduces the level of exposure by a factor of four (i.e. at ten feet from the source, radiation exposure will be roughly one-quarter of the level experienced at five feet). Therefore, the closer to the source of radiation one must be, the more protection is required.

Minimum safe distances are affected by the type of radiation encountered. Alpha and beta particles lack the energy to travel far, while gamma radiation is powerful enough to travel long distances.

Contact RPP for Complete Radiation Exposure Solutions

Radiation Protection Products offers everything you need to prevent dangerous workplace radiation exposure. Click here for submittals or request a quote on the lead shielding and lead products you need. Contact us to discuss your radiation shielding requirements.


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The information contained on our website, submittals, specifications, etc is offered for assistance in specifying products and materials from Radiation Protection Products, Inc. It is not intended to be complete and Radiation Protection Products, Inc. does not assume any responsibility for the adequacy of the submittals/specifications for a particular application. These submittals/specifications are subject to change without notice and without incurring obligation. Actual performance may vary in specific applications. An appropriate and qualified design professional/structural engineer must verify suitability of products for use in a particular application, as well as review final submittals/specifications. Radiation Protection Products, Inc.