The Use of Lead Protection for Staff in Mobile Radiographic Settings: Can Staff Abandon Its Use?

*Corresponding author: Carla Munoz*, Euclid Seeram and John Mc Inerney

Abstract

The use of lead protection in patient contexts has recently come under scrutiny, with organisations moving towards ceasing its use in plain film radiography. The use of lead shielding in protecting staff in low-dose settings, such as plain film and mobile radiography,
is therefore an important aspect of practice to be reviewed. The objective of this review is to evaluate the use of lead shielding in protecting staff in plain film and mobile radiography, while also exploring the evolution of occupational doses and perceptions of lead protection. While literature is limited on the use of lead protection for staff in mobile settings, lead protection has been shown to reduce staff and adjacent patient dose from scatter. Furthermore, despite the increased frequency of medical imaging procedures in contemporary radiography, the occupational doses of medical radiation workers have reduced over time. With literature demonstrating gaps in current understandings of radiobiological mechanisms at low doses, the linear no-threshold model utilised to estimate radiation risk and develop protection standards cannot be rejected. Thus, this review finds the need for further research to be undertaken to improve risk estimates at low doses in larger cohorts of medical radiation workers, for the demonstration of long-term effects from occupational exposure, prior to ceasing staff lead protection.
Keywords
Radiation protection; Occupational dose; Lead protection; Mobile radiography; Radiography; COVID-19 pandemic.