What Is Nuclear Medicine and How Does It Work?

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty where small amounts of radioactive material are used to diagnose diseases. It is non-invasive, cost-effective and can provide details about the functioning of an organ as well as the viability of the organ structure. It allows for the diagnosis of certain medical conditions and diseases much earlier than other techniques. Nuclear medicine is a great tool for the early detection, treatment and prevention of brain tumors, stroke evaluation, blood cell disorders, breast cancer, heart disease, kidney function and thyroid function.

How Does Nuclear Medicine Work?

Nuclear medicine works by introducing a low-level radioactive chemical called a radiotracer into the body. The radiotracer travels through the area being examined and emits a gamma ray signal that is picked up and read by a gamma camera. “Hot spots” show a larger accumulation of radiotracer which indicates increased activity. “Cold spots” demonstrate reduced activity.

Nuclear medicine is capable of providing information that other imaging techniques may miss. Nuclear medicine is safe because the level of radiation involved in the procedure is typically much lower than the radiation received from a conventional X-ray. Nuclear medicine procedures are painless and have no side effects.

If you are in the business of shielding radioactive material used in nuclear medicine, radiation therapy or gamma radiation inspection units, Medi-RayTM is the best choice for your application. All our products and services meet the highest standards and are compatible with the current metallurgical and radiation shielding requirements. Call us toll-free at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740. You can also email sales@mediray.com.


Radiation Shielding Requirements

radiation source shielding

The most basic shielding requirements for radiation protection are dependent upon several factors including the type of radiation, exposure length and distance from the source of the radiation. Different kinds of radiation are emitted with different levels of energy. The greater the energy, the greater the level of shielding to safely guard against it. Alpha radiation is very weak, and the outermost layer of skin is enough to protect against it. Beta radiation requires more protection, such as heavy clothing. However, some beta radiation particles can penetrate and burn the skin. Gamma radiation and x-ray radiation are much stronger and require thick, dense shielding with materials such as lead.

The briefest exposure to gamma and x-ray radiation can be extremely hazardous to the human body. Even extended indirect exposure, such as an x-ray technician in a separate but nearby room close to the x-ray source, requires shielding. For medical and dental patients, the length of direct exposure to x-rays is so brief that a lead vest is all that is necessary.

Radiation is a very serious concern in nuclear power plants, industrial and medical x-ray systems, radioisotope projects, particle accelerator work and other sites. Containing radiation and preventing it from causing harm to employees is a vital part of operating equipment that emits hazardous rays. For Medi-Ray, Inc., preserving human safety and structural material that can be compromised by radiation exposure are over-riding concerns, as well as shielding sensitive materials such as electronic devices and photographic film.

Regulating the effects and degree of penetration of radioactive rays varies according to the type of radiation involved. Indirectly ionizing radiation such as neutrons, gamma rays and x-rays, is a separate category from directly ionizing radiation, which involves charged particles. Different materials are better for different types of radiation and is determined by the interaction between specific particles and the properties of the shielding materials.

Medi-Ray is the hallmark of radiation safety and shielding solutions. We are located at 150 Marbledale Road in Tuckahoe, New York. Call us toll-free at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740. You can also email sales@mediray.com. We are committed to offering the highest quality service to all our customers.


Nuclear Medicine Applications

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty involving the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It is referred to as ‘endoradiology’ because it records radiation emitting from within the body rather than radiation that is generated by an external source, such as an x-ray. Diagnostic nuclear medicine scans are different from radiologic scans because they show the physiological function of the system as opposed to traditional anatomical imaging such as a CT or MRI. In nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceuticals are taken internally, intravenously or orally. External detectors capture and form images from the emitted radiation. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission topography (PET) scans are the two most common imaging modalities in nuclear medicine.

There are some practical concerns in nuclear imaging. Because the risks of low-level radiation are not completely understood, a cautious approach has been universally adopted. All human radiation exposures should be kept at As Low as Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).

According to this principle, before a patient is exposed to radiation through a nuclear medicine examination, the benefits of the examination must be identified. The particular circumstances of the patient must be considered. For example, if the patient cannot tolerate a sufficient amount of the procedure to achieve a diagnosis, it would be inappropriate to proceed with injecting the patient with the radioactive tracer. If the benefits from the procedure justify its use, the radiation exposure to the patient should be kept as low as is reasonably practicable. The images produced in nuclear medicine should never be better than required for a confident diagnosis. Giving larger radiation doses can reduce the noise in an image and make it more photographically appealing, but if the diagnostic questions can be answered without that level of detail, it is inappropriate to increase the radiation dosage.

The radiation dose from nuclear medicine imaging varies depending upon the type of study. An effective radiation dose can be lower than, comparable to, or far exceed the general day-to-day environmental background radiation dose. It can also be less than, in the same range, or higher than the radiation dose from a CT scan on the abdomen area or the pelvis. Some nuclear medicine procedures require that patients prepare before the study to obtain the most accurate results. This preparation may include dietary restrictions or the withholding of certain medications.

If you are interested in shielding radioactive material used in nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, or gamma radiation inspection units, Medi-RayTM is the best choice for your application. All our products and services meet the highest standards and are compatible with the current metallurgical and radiation shielding requirements. Medi-Ray is located at 150 Marbledale Road in Tuckahoe, New York. Call us toll-free at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740. You can also email sales@mediray.com.


Some Common Myths About Radiation

Many of us have had X-Rays taken in hospitals, emergency clinics or doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Radiology, which is the science of X-Rays and high-energy radiation, is extremely important in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases and health conditions. However, there continues to be some common myths about the dangers and risks as it relates to radiation that can be dispelled with the correct information.

Myth: Any exposure to radiation is not safe and will cause side effects.

Reality: People are continuously exposed to radiation everyday while eating food and breathing air. A study by the UN Scientific Committee showed that the risk associated with low-dose radiation is very small. During X-Rays, MRIs and other scans, the small amount of radiation an individual is exposed to will not cause side effects.

Myth: Pregnant women should not have radiology scans.

Reality: There is no evidentiary proof that a fetus is physically harmed from an ultrasound. A 3D scanner does not use stronger sound waves or produce more heat than a 2D scan, so it is equally as safe for infants.

Myth: Radiation treatment causes cancer.

Reality: The chances of getting cancer from radiation treatment is extremely small and depends on the person’s age at the time of treatment, the area of the body that is being treated and the dosage.

Medi-Ray has had decades of experience providing exterior plastic encasements for lead packaging in a variety of shapes and sizes and are the largest supplier of radio-pharmaceutical shipping containers. We create medical and lab instruments to meet the needs of our customers. We know the importance of using equipment made with lead to protect against harmful radiation and we specialize in lead metal technology.

Call us to take advantage of our excellent customer sales and support team at 877-898-3003 or call our international hotline at 877-568-5661. You can also email us at sales@mediray.com.


Radiation Facts

The two basic types of radiation are ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation refers to a series of oscillating energy waves composed of electric and magnetic fields that travel at the speed of light. Examples are the spectrum of ultraviolet (UV), visible light, infrared (IR), microwave (MW), radio frequency (RF) and extremely low frequency (ELF). Non-ionizing radiation is found in a wide range of occupational settings and may pose a health risk to exposed workers if not properly controlled. The six basic sources of this type of radiation are:

  • Extremely Low Frequency Radiation (ELF): This is produced by power lines, electrical wiring and electrical equipment. Intense exposure sources are induction furnaces and high-voltage power lines.
  • Radiofrequency and Microwave Radiation: Microwave radiation (MW) is absorbed near the skin and radiofrequency radiation (RF) can be absorbed throughout the body. At high intensities, both can damage tissues in the body through heating. RF and MW radiation sources are radio emitters and cell phones.
  • Infrared Radiation: Your eyes and skin absorb infrared radiation (IR) as heat. Sources of IR radiation include furnaces, heat lamps and IR lasers.
  • Visible Light Radiation: Different frequencies of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum are seen as different colors. Having sufficient lighting is important but excessive visible radiation can damage the eyes and skin.
  • Ultraviolet Radiation: Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) is very hazardous because there are no immediate symptoms of excessive exposure. Some sources of UV radiation are the sun, black lights, welding arcs and UV lasers.
  • Laser Hazards: Lasers typically emit optical (UV, visible light, IR) radiations and can be hazardous to the skin and eyes. Some common lasers are CO2, IR laser, helium-neon, neodymium, YAG and ruby visible lasers, and the Nitrogen UV laser.

Ionizing radiation sources can be found at healthcare facilities, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapon production facilities and research institutions. These radiation sources can pose a considerable health risk to workers if not properly controlled. This is a type of energy released by atoms in the form of electromagnetic waves. People are exposed to natural sources of ionizing radiation in the soil, water, vegetation, x-rays, medical devices and other beneficial applications. Acute health effects such as skin burns or acute radiation syndrome can occur when specific radiation levels are exceeded. Long term effects of ionizing radiation can increase the risk of cancer.

Medi-Ray is the hallmark of radiation safety, shielding solutions and counterweight design. We are in Tuckahoe, NY. For more information, please contact us at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740 or email sales@mediray.com


What is a Prototype?


If you have a new idea and are involved in the design process, one of the most important steps is the creation of a prototype. A prototype can be almost anything, from a series of drawings to a perfect replica. The most basic definition of a prototype is “A simulation or sample version of a final product, which is used for testing prior to launch.” The goal of having a prototype is to test product ideas before spending time and money on the final product.

Prototyping is essential in the creation of new products. It can resolve usability issues and reveal areas that need improving or discarding. When a sample of your product idea is being used by real consumers, you get an idea of how they want to use the product. Consistent adjustments during the prototyping process are being made all the time to make sure that all the facets or components of the item are working the way you intended. Prototypes have four basic qualities:

  • Representation: This refers to the actual form of the prototype, i.e., paper and mobile, or HTML and desktop.
  • Precision: The prototype’s fidelity, i.e., its level of detail, polish and realism.
  • Interactivity: This refers to how functional it is to the user, e.g., fully or partially functional or available for viewing only.
  • Evolution: This refers to the ‘lifecycle’ of a prototype. Some prototypes are built quickly, tested and discarded, and eventually replaced by an improved version, called ‘rapid prototyping.’ Others are built, improved upon and ultimately become the final product.

A common misconception is that prototyping only needs to be done a couple of times toward the end of a design process. It is far more beneficial to test early on and often and it is a good idea to prototype every phase of your design, from the first and most basic iteration. Prototypes don’t just look like the final version of your design. They are a version of the design that can be used for testing.

Medi-Ray produces prototypes based on a customer’s design with refinements by Medi-Ray’s design personnel. Second and third stage prototypes take designs all the way to the final dimensions for DOT testing, customer production requirements and marketing personnel approval. Medi-Ray is located in Tuckahoe, NY. For additional information, please contact us at 877-898-3003 or email sales@mediray.com.


The Important Applications of Medi-Ray’s Lead Counterweights

Lead counterweight

Medi-Ray counterweights are necessary for many types of equipment. They may be as simple as steel plates or designed with complex geometrics. When you are designing a product that will need counterweights, there are many factors to consider. These factors include how much you will need, whether the counterweights will be freestanding or inside a compartment, how much space you have to work with, etc. Counterweights can be made of steel or lead, depending upon the application. If they are manufactured using lead, the lead can be coated with powder or painted for safe handling. Some applications for counterweights include medical equipment, aerospace, bridges, forklifts, cranes, elevator weights and sonar weights. Below are only a few examples of other applications for counterweights:

  • The famous leaning tower of Pisa in Italy uses counterweights to ensure that the building does not continue to lean and eventually fall.
  • On a construction site, elevators use counterweights to balance the load of the elevator car.
  • A crane is a mechanism that balances the load it is carrying with a lead counterweight by utilizing a horizontal boom across the top of the tower.
  • A bascule bridge is moveable due to a counterweight that continuously balances the span when it swings upward to allow for boat traffic.
  • Crankshafts in piston engines use counterweights to reduce vibrations.
  • Desk lamps use counterweights to keep the lamp in the appropriate position.
  • A metronome has an adjustable spring mechanism that allows the speed to increase or decrease by using counterweights.
  • Amusement park rides use counterweights to ensure the safety of their riders.

Medi-Ray provides customized counterweights that have been developed specifically for scientific laboratory applications, as well as the automotive, marine, environmental and construction industries. Our quality control testing and inspections are second to none and we guarantee consistent unit weights. Our specialty lead alloys guarantee durability and functionality. Medi-Ray’s quality control personnel certify every shipment.

We are located at 150 Marbledale Road in Tuckahoe, New York. Call us toll-free at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740. You can also email sales@mediray.com. We take great pride in offering the highest quality service to all our customers.


Properties and Uses of Lead Shielding

Properties and Uses of Lead Shielding

Lead is highly effective in providing protection from various sources of radiation. It is used as the primary material for radiation shielding. Its high density makes it one of the preferred materials for high energy radiation applications like x-rays, gamma rays and other nuclear radiation.

Since lead has an extremely low level of neutron absorption and practically no gamma radiation, it cannot become radioactive. Even after long exposure to neutrons, lead emits an insignificant amount of radiation due to activation.

Lead may not be the densest metal, but it is the standard used in radiation shielding because it is readily available, easily fabricated and its cost is lower than other high density materials.

Properties of Lead for Radiation Shielding

Lead is an excellent shielding material because of its following properties:

  • It has high density
  • It has a high atomic number
  • It has a high level of stability
  • It is easy to fabricate
  • It has a high degree of flexibility in application
  • It is readily available

Lead is primarily used as a radiation shield for:

  • Containers for radioactive materials
  • X-ray machines
  • Nuclear plants
  • Laboratories
  • Military equipment

Personal shielding includes:

  • Lead aprons
  • Thyroid shields
  • Lead gloves

Medi-RayTM, Inc.

Medi-RayTM has been providing customers with over 35 years of metallurgy expertise in custom and precision lead shielding products produced with proprietary equipment. For all your radiation shielding needs, call us at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740 or email us at sales@mediray.com.


Types of Radiation Shielding Materials

Types of Radiation Shielding Materials

Radiation shielding materials are used in a variety of radiologic applications. Using radiation in diagnosing and treating patients has significantly advanced the field of medicine and saved or extended countless lives. Radiation, however, comes with risks. Those who use radiation must be adequately trained in radiation safety, radiation physics, the biologic effects of radiation and injury prevention to ensure patient safety. Lead shielding is often used in a variety of applications including diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy, and nuclear and industrial shielding.

Lead Electrolytic Shielding

Lead is a soft, malleable and corrosion-resistant material. The high density of lead makes it a useful shield against X-ray and gamma-ray radiation. Lead, in its pure form, is brittle and cannot be worn as apparel. To transform pure lead into a wearable radiation shielding material, it is mixed with binders and additives to make a flexible lead vinyl sheet. The lead sheets are then layered to the desired thickness to achieve the required lead equivalency and incorporated into the radiation shielding garment.

Lead Composite Shielding

Lead composite shielding is a mixture of lead and other lighter weight metals. These lead-based composite blends are a proprietary mixture of lead and other heavy metals that attenuate radiation. Lead-based composite blend radiation shielding garments are lighter than regular grade lead, and are available with the same lead equivalency protection levels.

Non-Lead or Lead Free Shielding

Non-lead and lead-free shielding materials offer the same protection levels as lead-based composite shielding. Non-lead shielding materials are manufactured with additives and binders mixed with attenuating heavy metals and fall into the same category of materials as lead that also absorbs or blocks radiation. These metals include tin, antimony, tungsten, bismuth and other elements.

These core radiation shielding material options have their own unique benefits and features. There are several factors you will want to consider when choosing your shielding option, like the specific procedure being performed, the length of the procedure and its frequency.

Medi-RayTM, Inc.

Whether you are shielding radioactive materials, X-Ray, CT, MRI or PET scanning equipment, or the rooms that house them, Medi-Ray has the shielding components you need: sheet lead and foils, adhesive backed and coated lead materials, and custom components and lead stampings. Medi-RayTM has been providing customers with over 35 years of metallurgy expertise in custom and precision lead products produced by proprietary equipment. For all your radiation shielding needs, call us at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740 or email us at sales@mediray.com.


Lead Shielding for Radiation Protection

Lead Shielding for Radiation Protection

Many applications require radiation shielding to protect workers and members of the public from harmful radiation. Lead provides effective radiation shielding against gamma rays and x-rays because of its high molecular density, high atomic number and high level of stability. It can be used for installing radiation shielding in medical facilities, as well as research facilities in industries, universities or in the military. Lead shielding products are available in various forms to suit different applications.

  1. Lead bricks
  2. Lead bricks are used where maximum protection is required. Interlocking lead bricks provide maximum radiation shielding due to its tongue and groove design. They are made in different sizes, thicknesses and shapes. Lead bricks are ideal for adding radiation shielding to existing rooms. However, lead bricks can be customized in a new construction to reduce wall or ceiling thickness in order to save space. Lead bricks are often mounted to steel frames or other structures such as lead-lined cabinets for increased structural integrity. They do not require mortar or other additional shielding materials. Apart from radiation shielding, lead brick is also used in radioactive isotope creation, counterbalances and ballast weights.

  3. Lead plates
  4. Lead plates can be used for radiation shielding on walls, window frames and doors. It can also be used as a sound barrier. Lead plates are manufactured to consistent standards in a variety of thicknesses and sizes, and can also be made in custom sizes and shapes.

  5. Lead foil
  6. This is a form of sheet lead that can be easily cut, bent and shaped for use in many applications. It is commonly used in the construction of walls, doors and frames. The lead sheet can also be installed on lead-lined walls to stop radiation leakage from cut-outs and penetrations.

  7. Lead glass
  8. High density lead glass provides protection in areas where both radiation shielding and a clear view are necessary for the diagnostic or manufacturing activities involved. It can be installed on walls, window or doors. Lead glass is installed on lead-lined frames.

  9. Lead wool
  10. Lead wool consists of thin strands of lead. It is used as a caulk to seal joints between lead and steel fittings.

  11. Lead powder
  12. Lead Powder is placed within plastic sheets in some protective clothing such as lead aprons.

  13. Lead clothing
  14. Lead clothing provides protective clothing for workers whenever there is a need for radiation shielding. Lead clothing shielding comes in many forms including lead aprons, lead thyroid shields, lead-lined gloves, and eyewear containing leaded glass, lead sleeves and moveable lead shields. Protective clothing should conform to requirements specified by the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP).

Contact Medi-RayTM, Inc. for effective radiation shielding.

Medi-RayTM, Inc. produces a wide range of lead materials for the shielding of nuclear medicine facilities and x-ray rooms. Contact our consultants at 877-898-3003 or 914-979-2740 or fax us at 914-337-4620. You can also email us at sales@mediray.com.