Radioactive Waste: What is it? How do we keep ourselves safe from it?

Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear technology, such as research and medicine. It is hazardous to people and the environment. Therefore, it is regulated by government agencies to protect the health of citizens and the environment.

Over time, radioactivity diminishes. Radioactive waste is properly stored and isolated until it is no longer hazardous. The period of time that radioactive waste needs to be isolated and stored depends on the type of waste. Common medical and industrial radioactive wastes, often low-level wastes with low levels of radioactivity per mass or volume, may need to be stored for only a few hours or days. High-level wastes, such as nuclear fuel or byproducts of nuclear reprocessing, may need to be stored for millions of years!

Radioactive medical waste usually contains beta particles and gamma ray emitters. Beta particles are high-energy and high-speed electrons or positrons emitted by certain types of radioactive nuclei. Beta particles can be used to treat conditions such as eye and bone cancer, and can be used in radiation therapy. Gamma radiation is the electromagnetic radiation of high frequency. It has very high energy per photon. Although gamma rays can sometimes cause cancer, they are also used to treat some types, since the rays kill cancer cells also. During gamma-knife surgery, multiple concentrated beams of gamma rays are directed on the growth in order to kill the cancerous cells.

All ionizing radiation can cause damage at a cellular level. However, beta particles are mostly non-penetrating and external exposure to them causes only localized damage. Gamma rays are much more penetrating and cause diffuse damage throughout the body, rather than just burns. Learn about the products you work with, and dispose of radioactive waste properly, and you’ll maintain a healthy environment for all.

Call us today to see how we can help you with radiation safety.

 

Keeping our clients safe!

Here at Medi-Ray™, we are the driving force in the development and refinement of shielded laboratory equipment and accessories for nuclear medicine. Since the beginnings of our company and still today, we focus most of our research and development on shielded laboratory equipment that keeps nuclear medicine clinicians safe. The medical market’s need for safe, accurate and quality shielding of radioactive sources has constantly brought Medi-Ray™ to the forefront of source containment.

We have combined antimonial lead, tungsten, leaded glass and a variety of other metals and specialized coatings to create a great line of nuclear medicine products. From our unique syringe holders and dose calibrator shielding to waste storage containers, our goal is to ensure adequate protection for laboratory clinicians and patients.

 

Lead Bricks

Medi-Ray supplies all standard lead brick sizes, as well as interlocking configurations. Custom designs and sizes are supplied in the shortest turn-around time in our industry. Medi-Ray’s Dura-block bricks are uniform in size and are the finest bricks available on the market.



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Lead Shielding

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, custom components and lead stampings.



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Medi-Ray Inc. Consulting Service

Here at Medi-RayTM, we not only want to provide you with all of the lead products that you need, we also strive to ensure the strong future of nuclear medicine.

We’d like to share some of our expertise with you!

With Medi-RayTM Consulting Service, we make sure that the world of nuclear medicine advances with confidence.

Medi-RayTM Consulting Service was formed to provide professional training and guidance to personnel involved in the practical applications of radioisotopes, diagnostic radiology and therapeutic radiology. We are here to ensure that your personnel know how to handle your Medi-Ray products with extreme safety and great performance.

Contact us for your product quote today, and we’ll teach you all about it!

 

Lead Recycling at Medi-Ray Inc

Lead is an easy material to recycle! Lead is a corrosion-resistant, dense and fairly soft mineral that has been in use for over 5,000 years. It is a nonferrous metal, which means it can be re-melted and reused by man an infinite number of times.

Over 50% of lead consumed is derived from recycled or reused material, and it is estimated that at least 85% of lead consumed could potentially be recycled.
Producing lead from ore, the naturally occurring solid material found in the earth, requires much more energy than producing recycled lead. (Recycling lead requires 35-40% of the energy needed to produce lead from ore.) Using recycled lead results in less solid waste, uses less energy and reduces the consumption of mineral resources.

About 1.2 million metric tons of lead is recycled in the United States every year. (A metric ton is about 2,200 pounds.)

Here at Medi-Ray, if you bring us your used Medi-Ray lead products, we will recycle them for you.
We’ve been developing this environmentally sound, recycling capability for over thirty years. This is one reason that Medi-Ray Inc has become a leader in ecologically compliant operations, in safeguarding the public, in guaranteeing the proper handling of used lead products and making it cost effective for our customers.

Medi-Ray – Leader in Lead Technology

 

Why Use Lead

Medi-RayTM and Lead Safety

Medi-RayTM, Inc., the world’s leading lead technology and manufacturing company, is committed to maximum safety for our personnel, our facility, our community and the products we make. Medi-RayTM is a unique alliance of radiation physicians, metallurgists, physicians, designers, engineers and manufacturing technologists. Our personnel are continuously engaged in research into new ways to make the products we design, our plant and our environmental systems as safe as technologically possible.

Our efforts have led to Medi-RayTM’s nomination by the US Federal EPA as the first ever Heavy Metal Company (lead) to receive an award for “Most Hygienic Lead Fabricator” as a result of our health, safety and environmental programs.

We would like to present you with this brief overview of the state of lead safety in general and at Medi-RayTM in particular.

Why use lead at all?

Modern industrial facilities and lead product manufacturers have the issue of lead safety well in hand, and it has been under control and improving for several decades. Stringent government regulations effectively control processes and practices in order to insure a very high standard of safety for both workers and the environment. A myriad of lead products are routinely produced for a diverse range of industries including nuclear medicine, medical instrumentation, radiation shielding, aerospace and the military, laboratories, construction, industrial and heavy equipment, ship building, oil drilling and electronics. These industries depend upon products with qualities that only lead can provide.

Lead is an extremely dense material making it ideal for ballast, counterweights and similar objects. It also has the ability to shield X-Rays and radiation. This shielding property has allowed advancements in nuclear medicine and diagnostic X-Ray equipment to accelerate due to the increasing availability of superior shielding products. Lead is much more effective than other materials as a shield, requiring only small amounts in comparison. Therefore the resultant products are much smaller and consequently much easier to use, handle and store.

Perhaps the most significant factor affecting product design is lead’s inherent softness. None of the other materials that could theoretically be used in its place feature softness to any appreciable degree. Many product designs are, by functional necessity, quite intricate, and the use of lead in these designs is virtually mandatory. Easily cast and machined, lead significantly reduces difficulties in manufacture, especially in modern composite products and therefore the cost of production is decreased dramatically.

The combination of workability and natural shielding properties actually allow for intricate designs, since other materials would not have enough mass to effectively stop the radiation at the acceptable levels, which most products require in order to achieve practical usability, and hence cost much more in the final analysis.

Is it safe to handle lead products?

Medi-RayTM research efforts have allowed us to create a product line that can be safely handled by end users in everyday situations without the need for difficult and costly precautions. In 1994 Medi-RayTM scientists discovered a combination of coating elements in which the resulting formula would chemically bonded itself to lead. This quickly led to the development of a revolutionary protective coating that will not come off and, as a bonus, can be made in many attractive colors. Additionally, this coating has a very low VOC. Lead products which are coated with this proprietary formulation, not to be confused with paint, are extraordinarily safe and completely eliminate any possibility of contact between skin and lead. Medi-RayTM recommends and routinely uses this coating to provide medical, science and industry with products that are without peer in safety, quality, performance and usability.

Are there standards for exposure to lead?

Yes, there are indeed standards that must be met. The standard for lead exposure was developed by OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration). OSHA standards define the acceptable levels of exposure, along with guidelines for work and hygiene habits as well as medical surveillance.

Regarding the OSHA standards, Medi-RayTM is of the opinion that these standards are only a minimum starting point to base our programs and systems on. Our implementations exceed each one of these guidelines by a wide margin to ensure your safety, the safety of the community and the safety of our environment.

How does Medi-RayTM protect the environment and the facility?

To start with, safety testing at Medi-RayTM never stops. Environmental testing and monitoring of the facility air and water purification systems, production systems maintain maintenance and the safeguarding of our personnel is continuous and performed with state-of-the-art technology, much of it proprietary. The following points give an overview of our safety related efforts.

  • Among its world-class staff, Medi-RayTM employs environmental engineers, physicians and radiation physicians who continually work to ensure that we are at the cutting edge of safety and innovation in our industry.
  • We use portable X-Ray equipment on a constant basis to detect any lead film residue or lead dust on every surface within our facility, from the floor to the rafters; we test the machinery and the furniture in every work area, eating area, office, everywhere. Rest assured, Medi-RayTM takes plant hygiene very, very seriously indeed.
  • The air in the facility is treated by a custom filtration system that our environmental engineers designed and built in 1993. Through the use of air sampling, HEPA filters and proprietary configurations, this system protects the air both within and outside the facility to levels that far exceed the standards set forth by any agency of the US government.
  • Similarly, the water used in the facility is also continuously filtered to levels that exceed all known standards of purity, providing our staff and our community with safety and peace of mind. The water filtration system, which protects both the production process water and the consumable water, is also a proprietary Medi-RayTM design that has since been adopted by several Fortune 100 companies to protect their own facility environments.
  • No waste material is ever generated here without it going to a certified waste disposal company.
  • As the industry leader in lead recycling programs and technology, we quite naturally recycle every last particle of lead that does not end up in a product’s composition. No errant lead leaves our facility, since our systems are designed so that such occurrences do not happen.