Answer to Question #10899 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Radiation Workers
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I work at a veterinary clinic and I sometimes have to help take x rays. I was wondering if it is okay to help if I wear a lead apron and if I am trying to conceive.
Thank you for your question. If you will be in the room where the x rays are being taken, yes, wear a lead apron.
Wearing a lead apron when you need to be in the room where an x ray is taken is an important way to reduce your radiation dose and, possibly, is a requirement of your state regulations on x-ray use. A lead apron can stop more than 95 percent of the scattered radiation.
If you are not in the room, it is unlikely that a lead apron is needed. While it is important you wear one when necessary, it is also important not to wear one when not needed simply due to the extra weight burden the apron puts on your shoulders, back, and hips.
Another way to reduce your exposure if you have to be in the room, but don't need to be holding the animal, is to step back a few steps from the location where the primary x-ray beam enters the animal. A few steps back from the primary beam can reduce your exposure more than 50 percent.
Certified Medical Health Physicist