Radiation Protection, otherwise known as radiological protection, is the science and practice of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of Ionizing Radiation. Ionizing radiation is used in many aspects of industry and medicine, and as a result can present significant health hazards. Such radiation causes microscopic damage to body tissue, which can lead to skin burns and radiation sickness at high exposures, as well as heightened risks of Cancer at low exposures.
Radiation protection is divided into a number of different categories, as there are many different factors to consider when it comes to protecting individuals from radiation, as well as keeping their surrounding environments radiation free.
Radiation exposure is managed by a combination of three factors, these being time, distance, and shielding. Time refers to reducing the amount of time that individuals spend exposed to radiation equipment, while still ensuring that patients receive their appropriated dosage. Distance, refers to increasing the distance between radioactive equipment, and the individuals surrounding it. Finally, shielding refers to absorbing material placed around radioactive sources, to reduce the amount of radiation to a level that is safe for humans. Types of shielding may include lead sheets in the walls surrounding an x-ray room, lead glass or screens on the viewing room for operator safety, and lead aprons for patients to wear. The effectiveness of such shields depends on shield thickness.