Answer to Question #11419 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Radiation Workers
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
Are nonlead aprons such as those made with a bismuth/antimony fill as protective as lead aprons?
A study published in Medical Physics in 2012 shows equivalent or superior protection for an apron made with a bismuth/antimony fill versus regular lead (McCaffrey 2012).
The apron, whether lead or a substitute, should have a label attached indicating lead equivalency (because this is what most states specify for protection purposes). If your state regulators require 0.5 millimeter (mm) lead equivalency, the apron can be made of any material as long as it has the protection factor of at least 0.5 mm of lead. This is how you will know you are meeting the regulations. Check what your regulations require in lead equivalency and make sure the apron you order has that equivalency.
Certified Medical Health Physicist
McCaffrey JP, Tessler F, Shen H. Radiation shielding materials and radiation scattering effects for interventional radiology (IR) physicians. Med Phys 39(7):4537–46; 2012.