Virtually any source of radiation carries a high risk to the environment and all living things. But there are methods and means for protection from exposure. Methods of protection from radiation exposure can be divided into the use of different radiation shielding materials.
Means of protection from radiation
Radiation is classified into several types, depending on the nature and charge of radiation particles. To counter these or other types of radiation, protection from it is manufactured using different materials. For instance, an x-ray protective apron is lead-based.
Protection against radiation by special means
It is necessary to carry out protective activities in a zone with an increased radiation background in special cases. An example can be eliminating the consequences of an accident at nuclear power plants or working in industrial plants where there are sources of radioactive radiation. Being in such areas without personal protective equipment is dangerous not only for health but also for life. Especially for such cases, StemRad developed personal radiation protection equipment has been developed. They are protective screens of materials that detain various types of radiation and special clothing.
Protection against alpha radiation
Alpha particles penetrate the human body tissues only to a shallow depth, damaging only the skin’s surface. External α-irradiation is not particularly dangerous. But getting these massive particles inside the body (with food, water, or through the damaged skin) is fraught with serious poisoning due to their strong ionizing effect, the formation of oxidants, free hydrogen, and oxygen. To protect a person from radiation alpha, help rubber gloves and a normal respirator, cotton clothes, polyethylene cloak, paper, Plexiglas.
Protection against beta radiation
To protect from beta radiation is more difficult than from alpha. If beta radiation is prevalent in the contaminated zone, then a glass, aluminum sheet, or plexiglass shield will be needed to protect the body from its harmful effects. To protect against beta radiation from the respiratory system, a normal respirator is no longer suitable. This requires a gas mask.
Being in a brick or concrete building with tightly closed windows and doors, you will be relatively safe from these two kinds of radiation. The situation will be more complicated with gamma radiation.
Protection against gamma radiation
The most difficult it is to protect yourself from gamma radiation. Uniforms, which have a shielding effect from this kind of radiation, are made of lead, cast iron, steel, tungsten, and other metals with a high mass. It was the clothes made from lead that was used during the work at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the accident.
The required thickness of materials to reduce gamma radiation is 1000 times:
- Lead – 100 cm,
- steel 250 cm,
- concrete 600 cm,
- the soil is 900 cm,
- water 1800 cm,
- wood 2900 cm
All kinds of barriers from polymers, polyethylene, and even water effectively protect against the harmful effects of neutron particles. For better efficiency, especially when it is not known at 100% of which radiation is to be protected, it is better to use the combined protective equipment. For example, brick walls covered with polyethylene and sheets of metals with a heavy mass will give good protection against all kinds of radiation.