Living and Working Near an X-Ray Room

Is it safe for me to live or work next to or near an x-ray room?

Yes, if the x-ray room is in a facility that complies with x-ray regulations. Typically, states or countries have rules in effect that regulate the use of x-ray equipment. All rooms containing fixed x-ray equipment must be evaluated for shielding to keep x-ray dose to people in adjacent areas below regulatory limits.

The amount of shielding required is specified by a qualified radiation expert (QRE) and is designed to limit the radiation dose directly outside of a room or facility to 1 millisievert (mSv) per year or less (note that 1 mSv is less than the radiation dose an individual in the United States receives from natural background radiation every year). This is usually the regulatory dose limit for members of the general public.

In addition, a QRE evaluates the installed shielding by performing an area radiation survey of the x-ray room. This is to verify that the shielding was installed properly and that the installed shielding protects people outside the room as expected.

You can contact the government agency that regulates the use of x rays where you live to determine if a particular facility is registered and inspected as an x-ray facility and is in compliance with state regulations.

Kennith "Duke" Lovins, CHP


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