DRC Home > X-Ray Section
Medical x-rays account for the majority of the average citizen's exposure to man made radiation. Although most scientists believe there is a health risk from low levels of exposure to x-rays, the risk is generally considered to be small when compared with the benefits. Even though the risk is small, exposures should still be maintained As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). According to ALARA principle, is important to avoid conditions where the amount of radiation used is more than that needed for the procedure, because there is no benefit from unnecessary radiation. The goal of radiation protection is to prevent or minimize exposures that have no benefit.
The use of radiation in medicine may be one of the most difficult areas for ensuring a balance between risk and benefit. Often there is not enough thought given to unnecessary patient exposure because the benefit of the x-ray is believed to be unlimited. As a result, analysis of risk and benefit is an infrequent consideration. Medical professionals are responsible for evaluating the risk versus the benefit to determine if an x-ray procedure is warranted.
X-ray exposure is minimized and image quality is improved when X-ray systems and operators perform properly. Therefore, the Radiation Control Rules require regular registration and inspection of X-ray units. Operators of X-ray equipment designed for human use must also meet the licensing requirements required by the State's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
About 2000 facilities are currently registered with the Division. Approximately 6200 tubes or machines are being used in health care, research, and industrial applications throughout Utah. Dental and medical uses account for the majority of the machines, although there are a significant number of other uses.
During an inspection, radiation exposure measurements are made by inspectors and are provided to registrants. These measurements can be compared with average values obtained from studies to determine if exposures received by the registrant's patients are excessive. Comparative exposure data for Chest, L-spine, C-spine and Dental intraoral x-ray procedures performed in Utah is currently available. Such information is routinely provided facilities to aid in the evaluation of patient exposures. If a facility determines that exposures are too high, the x-ray staff can offer practical solutions to reduce patient exposure.
The X-ray staff often are asked to address citizens concerns or fears about their radiation exposure. Many fears are caused by misconceptions about radiation. Additionally they want some reassurance that their exposures are low and that the risk, if any, is small. The risk to the whole body must be estimated because normally only a small portion of the body is exposed. These estimates can be compared to exposures received from natural background radiation to help individuals understand what their exposure means. Generally after explaining these concepts, the individual is more comfortable with their exposure.
Our X-ray staff has experience and knowledge and they are available to provide information. They are always available to assist others. If you have any question or problem related to X-ray machine regulations and safety, please contact us via phone, e-mail or letter.