Light and heat are the common types of radiation that human beings know. This is because the two can be seen and felt. However, there are other kinds of radiation that cannot be detected by human beings. In many cases, human beings constantly receive this invisible radiation either from the ground, air or sky. They can as well be found in processed drinks and foods. Ionizing radiation can be used in many fields; including hospitals where doctors use X rays in the diagnoses of injuries and other disease; industrial unit where they are used in checking repairs in components of machine components. In addition, in many hospitals, sterilization of medical equipment is done using gamma rays to ensure safe use. In the agricultural sector, radiation is also very important as it has been used in the production of new crop varieties via a radiation-induced mutations system. In this paper, we will only concentrate of X-rays. This paper will exclusively explore the radiation safety of X-rays. The paper will use five articles that will be cited respectively (Shymko and Tina, 1998).
There are several types of radiation and each has different effects to human beings. Just like any other ionizing radiation, when X-rays pass through a substance they cause electrical charging on some of the atoms. When this happens in the living cells of human beings, the charged ions may affect the normal biological processes of the body. X-rays are mostly used in the medical field, where they are used in two distinct ways. First, X-rays are used to diagnose disease and injuries. They are also used in killing cancerous cells in patients. The most common and oldest diagnostic use of X rays, involved producing images. For a long time now, this technique has been very valued with millions of X-ray examinations conducted every year (Chikirdin, 2001).
Usually, a single chest X-ray gives a radiation dose of 0.1 mSv. However, X-ray is not the only ionizing radiation used in medical practices. In the diagnosis of some diseases, information can only be acquired using gamma rays. These rays are typically emitted by radioactive materials that are usually introduced by use of injection to a patient. The patient can as well get the rays by inhaling or swallowing the radioactive materials. The technique is known as nuclear medicine. These radioactive materials have been pharmaceutically chosen to differently locate the structure that is being studied. In order to follow the distribution of the radioactive material a camera is used. This camera produces images by detecting the gamma radiation, and thus showing whether the body structure of a cell is healthy. The image also provides information on the extent and nature of the disease (Chikirdin, 2001).
In many cases, cancerous conditions are treated by use of radiotherapy. Here, beams of high energy X rays are used to carefully kill the diseased tissue. During radiotherapy, these beams are directed from several different directions. This is done to lessen the dose to surrounding healthy structures or tissues. Chest X-ray is the most common among young children. Despite the fact that many Radiologic Clinics have come up with various benefits and applications imaging to help these young children, we cannot ignore the fact that these children are exposed to ionizing rays that could be very dangerous later in their lives. In most cases, thoracic indicative imaging implicates modalities. These modalities depend on ionizing radiation in the small children. The harmful effects of these radioactive rays depend on the type of radiography. They consist of conventional radiography, fluoroscopy, computer radiography (CR), angiography, nuclear imaging, and multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT). For instance, all the above mentioned types of X-rays expose young children to several risks. First, children are growing rapidly. This means that their cells dive fast as well and thus providing risk for radiation to interrupt cell development. Secondly, children usually have a long life expectancy when compared to adults. Exposing these children to X-rays may result to radiation damage that will in turn have long term effects on their health (Chikirdin, 2001).
CT scan X-ray harmful effects
According to Donald (2011) today medical imaging accounts for approximately 60% of the radiation exposure to the world population. For instance, CT scanning X-rays are responsible for about three quarters of all medical imaging. In United States, as many as 3 to 8 million children undergo CT scan every year with an indication that this number has increased over the past two decades. Recent studies have also suggested that the performance may be decreasing with time. You will agree with me, that across many pediatric populations, radiography has been a bristle for chest imaging. On the other hand, computed tomography (CT) has been the second modality that is commonly used. It is true that these two types of X-ray improve care for both management and diagnosis, but they might be very dangerous if the child is exposed several times to the rays. Recent studies have shown that radioactive elements emitted from CT scan X-rays are transmitted highly with charged particles. These charged particles are known for their ability to damage genetic blueprint of the cell in young children. In addition, this charged particles can also cause other dangerous health problems like cancer. In many cases, studies have shown that in some cases, these cells may no longer repair or function again. When this happens, the cells either die or even multiply uncontrollably, taking the cancer shape. In those children who have been exposed to several CT scans, they may experience many complications later in their future. CT scan is said to be the biggest source of radiation exposure causing infertility and death of bone marrow in future (Edward and Philip, 2001).
X-ray harmful effects on products
For many years now, X-ray technology has played a very crucial role in the inspection of chemicals, pharmaceutical, food, among other, many packaged products. For instance, in the production of food, X-rays are used in the inspection of food products to ensure packaging integrity and purity. This is done by identifying foreign substances, checking for any packaging voids, scanning for broken products, inspecting product mass, checking for the filling levels, and analyzing the product fat content. During this inspection, these products are passed in cabinet X-ray systems that operate at low energy levels. Usually, the energy levels vary from 50 to 70 keV. The main reason why these products are passed in low energy levels is to provide high resolution while improving the longevity of the equipment. An important function of the X-ray cabinet systems is that they can detect foreign substances like metals that have been introduced in the products by broken dies (Ray Spurrgeon and Eriex 2009).
X-rays are, therefore, very crucial in the inspection of products. However, modern x-rays can expose product consumers to very huge risks. Usually, the machines are safe if only operated under low-energy. In addition, thin beams of radiation should scan only back-and-forth across the product as it moves through the X-ray cabinet system machines. Conversely, in some cases, these machines might be operated by unqualified personnel who cannot adhere to safety measures and thus exposing people to the dangers associated with the X-ray overdose. When this happens, X-ray machines produce high voltages that are considered potentially harmful (Blinov and Kozlovskii, 2008).
X-ray harmful effects on pregnant mothers
It is true that diagnostic x-rays are needed in a pregnancy as they provide doctors with information on the medical condition of the woman. However, x-rays may expose the unborn child to some risks. In most cases, fetuses are exposed to X-rays unintentionally when a woman does not know she is pregnant. In other cases, some women forget to inform the technician or doctor of their pregnancy before been exposed to an X-ray. However, whether unintentional or planned, exposure to x-rays during pregnancy can cause serious anxiety to the mother (Thomas Bashore, 2001).
In a recent study, it was determined that anxiety due to x-rays during pregnancy may be even more harmful to the mother than the x-rays themselves. It is, therefore, of great importance that women should understand the issues that concern x-rays during pregnancy. First, they should know that fetuses are very vulnerable to x-rays when compared to adults as far as damaging effects are concerned. This is partly because unborn child cells are dividing in rapidly to grow into specialized tissues and cells. In cases where the unborn child has been exposed to x-rays, there are some changes in these cells that could be very fatal. To start with, x-rays slightly increase the chances of illnesses (such as leukemia) and birth defects later in life. However, this does not mean that all childhood illnesses and birth defects are the only results that can be attributed to exposure x-rays or all harmful agent during pregnancy. In some cases where the damage of cells is fatal, the woman may have a miscarriage. In other cases, there could be birth defects and mental impairment (Edward and Philip 2001).
The extent of the damage depends on the stage of pregnancy and the amount of radiation that the unborn child has been exposed to. In most cases, the risks are usually more during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is important to note that these effects mostly occur when the mGv is above 100 or in cases where the mother has undergone more than three pelvic CT scan. In such cases, there is increased risk of childhood cancer due to the damage of the DNA. This does not matter when exposure to radiation occurred during the pregnancy. According to experts, the risk is assumed to be proportionate to the quantity of radiation. This means that, the greater quantity of x-ray radiation, the greater risk of cancer to the unborn child. A study identified that there is a greater chance of childhood cancer in cases where the mother has been involved in several abdominal x-rays (Edward and Philip 2001).
Dental x-ray harmful effects
Studies have suggested that, despite that fact that dental x-rays are important in the maintenance of oral health, it is good to try and moderate this exposure to patients. This is because, this form of imaging has been found to cause meningioma. Meningioma is one of the most common types of cancerous brain tumors. Usually, this this tumor happens in the meninges parts of the brain and the spinal cord. He tumor affects the outer membrane which surrounds the spinal cord and the brain. For those people who have been exposed severally to dental x-rays, they may experience symptoms such as headaches, poor vision, speech and motor control loss. In most cases, it is hard to detect these tumors until there size gets big. Research findings have shown that panorex and bitewing dental X-rays may increase the risk of developing the brain tumor. In fact, patients who have been exposed to bitewing x-ray annually or more repeatedly, are more than double likely to develop brain tumor (meningioma). It is said that, receiving panorex exam in more than four times in a year, exposes patients three times more to the brain cancer.
This paper has exclusively explored the radiation safety of x-rays. The paper has used several articles submitted early to show how safe radiation of x-rays is. The essay has provided several effects that are caused by x-rays. The paper looked as several types of x-rays and how they could expose human beings to dangers that are associated with the given x-ray. First, the essay discussed the effects of CT scan x-rays among young children. Here, the paper has shown how CT scan could be harmful to young children due to the rapid cell division. Secondly, the paper looked at the harmful effects of x-rays of products on human beings. Some of these products include food, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals among many other packed products. People consume this products and therefore ingest the harmful radiation that later expose them to diseases. Thirdly, the paper looked at effects of x-rays in pregnant mothers and how this might be harmful to the unborn child. Lastly, we have looked at the effects of dental x-ray and how this might cause brain tumor.
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