Removing Lead Shielding

Gonadal and Fetal shielding no longer recommended for X-Rays

Federal safety recommendations have been updated as research has shown that there is no benefit to using shielding in x-ray. The main reasoning for this change is based on the information below.

  • Advances in technology and x-ray equipment have allowed us to obtain an image using substantially less radiation than when shielding was first implemented.
  • The main patient dose comes from energy scattering inside the body, which external shielding of the body does not prevent.
  • There is also a small risk of shielding being placed over important anatomy or interacting with equipment exposure controls, which could lead to the technologist having to re-take an image, resulting in additional radiation dose.
  • Gonadal shielding was introduced to protect tissues that were considered highly sensitive, but after many years of research it has been determined that these tissues are not as sensitive as once believed. The ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) has adjusted their sensitivity factor for gonadal tissue from 0.2 to 0.08.

Below are resources that can be utilized for additional information. Should you have any concerns or questions when coming in for an x-ray exam, your technologist is available to discuss these changes with you.

Removing Lead Shielding

References and Resources

EFW prides itself on providing safe, compassionate care to our community. With this update being released, we reviewed the updated safety code, as well as additional supportive research, and decided best practice was to discontinue the usage of routine shielding in our clinics. Our x-ray technologists possess the skills and education to uphold a high standard of safe radiation practices and minimizing patient dose.

‘Safety Code 35(SC-35): Safety Procedures for the Installation, Use and Control of X-Ray Equipment in Large Medical Radiological Facilities’ is a document prepared by Health Canada which outlines requirements for safe use of x-ray producing equipment. Recently, an updated version of the SC-35 has been released, in which gonadal and fetal shielding is no longer recommended.