The Radiation Post

Well-Stocked Radioactive Spill Kits Save Lives

When a radioactive spill or accident takes place, a quick and practiced response is a must. However, responders can only do so much if they don’t have a proper radioactive spill kit on hand.

What’s in Your Radioactive Spill Kit?

The combination of a well-designed, organized and accessible Radioactive Spill Kit, and the implementation of the right contents, mitigates the potential for harm and will save lives.

The contents of your company’s radioactive spill kits will very slightly depending on the hazardous materials used and the information corresponding to their Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). However, some of the most common contents required for a spill kit include:

  • “Radioactive Hazard” warning signs (along with posting materials such as easel, A-frame, or similar)
  • “Radioactive” Barrier Tape
  • Yellow rope to clearly isolate a restricted area if necessary
  • Tweezers and tongs for picking up glass or other sharp, dangerous objects
  • Pair of robust scissors
  • Two or more pairs of safety goggles
  • At least two pairs of disposable overshoes
  • Two or more disposable lab coats, coveralls and/or aprons
  • Two or more pairs of disposable gloves
  • Plastic broom or brush for solids (polypropylene)
  • Plastic radioactive waste disposal bags
  • Universal absorbents such as commercial spill pads, pillows, spill socks, and loose absorbents
  • Plastic scoop, dust pan, or shovel. Use plastic (polypropylene) when non-sparking tools are needed.
  • Marker pen or chalk
  • Cotton swabs in relevant sizes
  • Small plastic vials or bags for putting swabs in
  • Sheet of address labels and a pencil
  • Roll of yellow and black ‘Radioactive Material’ adhesive tape.
  • Bleach (if biological agents are used)
  • Cardboard box to hold waste bag and spilled debris
  • Sealing tape
  • Bottle of decontamination solutions relevant to the chemicals in use.
  • Hand soap
  • Detergent or general cleaners for the final cleanup of the area
  • Written contingency procedures for using the kit or for decontamination e.g. from the local safety rules.
  • Contamination monitor – suitable to the isotope being used (no need for H3)

The large majority of these contents, in addition to a pocketed and securely fastened kit are available from us here at Lancs Industries.

Be Prepared for a Radioactive Spill

The goal is to never experience a radioactive spill. The reality, however, is that mistakes happen. For this reason, your company’s Radiation Safety Officer should host regular safety meetings, as well as occasional practice drills and simulations, so employees feel prepared to handle an unexpected accident whenever and wherever it arises.

Read, How do You Stop a Radioactive Spill?, for more specific details. Ultimately, the goal is to move quickly and thoroughly through the following 5 Steps, which create the well-known S-W-I-M-S acronym:

  1. Stop the spill
  2. Warn others
  3. Isolate the area and the spill
  4. Minimize radiation exposure
  5. Stop ventilation

While these steps don’t have to be done in order, they should all be completed to contain the spill and ensure personal, employee and environmental safety. In fact, it’s worthwhile to take your workplace and risk into consideration, determining an order that makes the most sense for your building, individual labs or work spaces and/or the materials you’re working with.

Your Preparedness Can Save Lives

In most cases, radiation sickness takes place via continuous exposure – even low-grade – for long expanses of time. A single, poorly handled spill that leads to permanent contamination can mean a dangerous outcome for employees or those who spend time in the area.

Do your best to adhere to ALARA guidelines, create a safety culture within your company, and to arm yourself with an adequate radioactive spill kit.

Need help assembling your company’s hazardous or radioactive spill kit? Get in touch with the expert radiation shielding innovators here at Lancs Industries. We have everything you need, plus more, and our designers can work with you to create customized spill kit contents specific to your industry or niche.

Is There a Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer?

The debate about the link between cell phones and cancer, or their ability to cause or contribute to cancer is ongoing. Unfortunately, we can’t provide a black-and-white, yes or no answer because they scientific community has made up their minds at large. What we can say is that the most recent evidence – some of which comes out of a study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) – indicates that direct contact between humans and their cell phones does have a biological effect. Whether or not that effect will cause or catalyze the formation of cancer is not 100% clear.

We recommend reading a recent article published in Scientific American for a more detailed account of the NTPs research. You can also consult additional resources that explain the cell phone/cancer debate, as well as supporting and opposing research findings, clearly and concisely. Two good ones are:

NOTE: While cell phones get the brunt of the attention, all wireless gadgets – ranging from laptops to tablets and iPods create intensified RF radiation exposure for their users.

link between cell phones and cancer

Rats get cancer from prolonged exposure to RF radiation

The NTPs study was comprehensive and very thorough. More than 3,000 rodents were used (both rats and mice, and both sexes) and the studies took place consistently over the course of two full years. This is similar to another comprehensive study done in Italy, where more than 2500 rats and mice were tested with similar findings. Together, these are some of the most comprehensive studies of this type to-date.

The concern for the scientists and experts involved in reviewing the study’s findings are that:

  • Rats do get cancer when exposed to prolonged exposure to RF radiation, most specifically a type of brain tumor called a schwannoma.
  • Even prolonged exposure to seemingly “very low” levels of RF still correlated with higher cancer rates
  • It’s hard to determine what exactly “too much” exposure is when it comes to humans.

And, in addition to the brain tumors, the Scientific American article points out:

“The strongest finding connected RF with heart schwannomas in male rats, but the researchers also reported elevated rates of lymphoma as well as cancers affecting the prostate, skin, lung, liver and brain in the exposed animals. Rates for those cancers increased as the doses got higher but the evidence linking them with cell phone radiation specifically was weak by comparison, and the researchers could not rule out that they might have increased for reasons other than RF exposure.”

How can a cell phone cause cancer?

Cell phones rely on a particular type of radiation, called radio-frequency (RF) radiation, to do their job. This energy is actually emitted by the cellular towers that receive and transmit audio and digital messages to your phone. So, in fact, your cell phone is more like a conduit or direct recipient of RF radiation than it is an emitter. Conversely, whether you have a cell phone or not, 20th and 21st century models of communication have long relied on RF emissions, so virtually every human on the planet experiences some level of RF radiation exposure – whether they want to or not.

That being said, it’s important to distinguish between RF radiation and ionizing radiation. Radio-frequency radiation exposes living tissue to heat. This heat-version of radiation excites the affected tissue and the theory is that consistent and/or long-term exposure to it will change the biology of the tissue’s cells. The ramifications of this could be – and may be – cancer.

That is very different than ionizing radiation, which is extremely (and inarguably) harmful to living creatures of all kinds, mainly because it has an immediate and detrimental effect on the cell’s DNA. In some cases, the immediate damage may be immediately visible as well in the form of burns and radiation illness. In other cases, the damage is immediate but the physical side effects of that damage isn’t realized or observable until later down the road.

Radiation is an earthly and earthling phenomenon

It’s important to mention that humans have been exposed to radiation since the beginning of time, well-prior to any industrial or technological innovations. Outer space is chock full of radiation – and we live in outer space – so it’s a part of natural life. However, it’s in the more full, concentrated and consistent doses that things become a problem.

Read, 7 Sources of Everyday Radiation, to learn more about your personal exposure and tips for reducing, blocking or shielding your exposure to everyday radiation.

Minimize your risk to cell-phone induced cancer(s)

While it will be a manner of years, or even decades, until we have clear-cut answers to the question about the link between cell phones and other wireless gadgets and cancer, it seems smart to be aware and minimize personal risk factors.

Some of the most simple and clear-cut things you can do to minimize your own risk (shy of boycotting wireless devices altogether) are:

  1. Turn all wireless gadgets OFF when they’re not in use – particularly at night while you sleep (why have all that RF radiation exposure for nothing?)
  2. Turn your modem/wireless transmitter OFF when not in use and/or at night while everyone is sleeping.
  3. Keep wireless gadgets as far from your body as possible using Bluetooth devices or accessories such as laptop lap pads, which keeps your laptop from coming into direct contact with your body – particularly your reproductive organs.
  4. Use reputable RF radiation shielding products as they become available on the market.

The team at Lancs works tirelessly to create radiation shielding products for individuals, workplaces and environments where radiation is a risk. Take care and protect yourself with good sense and high-quality radiation shielding products.

Types of Radiation Protection via Shielding

The first step in providing radiation protection for the public, employees or those exposed via a specific, radioactive accident is to minimize exposure in terms of quantity of radiation and the length of time victims are exposed. In the case of nuclear fallout, this is easier said than done. However, if you work in a radioactive environment, or your job puts you in close, consistent proximity to radioactive materials, it’s up to your radiation safety officer to ensure the right types of radiation shielding are used.

types of radiation protection

There are a variety of different radiation shielding products on the market

There is a wide range of products design to shield and protect you from direct radiation exposure. These range from physical barriers and materials that contain radioactive materials or radiation in one specific space, to garments, blankets or physical shields that absorb radiation and prevent it from interacting with your cells and their precious DNA.

Ultimately, we recommend working directly with a company specializing in radiation shielding products so you are 100% confident you’re using the right materials for the job.

Three basic ways to shield yourself from radiation

Radiation comes in various forms; alpha radiation is very low-level radiation and has little to no effect on living tissue. Beta radiation is stronger, but is usually combatted via clothing or heavy, garment-like protection. This is important to wear since certain types of beta radiation will burn the skin if it comes in direct contact with it. Finally, the strongest forms of radiation – gamma and x-ray radiation – require the heaviest shielding of all. This type of shielding typically comes in the form of very thick products, like lead or lead-based composites – but are often designed and produced to be flexible, so they can be adapted to different work environments and project needs.

Once you’ve established the type(s) of radiation used, you can begin to create your radiation safety plan, including adequate shielding products.

Shielding for the operator or technician

One of the strongest lines of defenses against radiation exposure in manufacturing, technical or industrial applications is that of creating a barrier or container via radiation-proof materials. This can include the use of:

  • Lead wood blankets with inner and outer covers. Lead wool blankets are a preferred source of protection because they are flexible and effective. Plus, they can be ordered in a range of sizes and thickness, customized to the application. Different shapes are also available upon request.
  • Flexible tungsten, bismuth and/or iron shielding
  • Wheeled racks
  • Various supplies and accessories

For more portable or temporary scenarios, the Lancs QuickRack is an option, providing an inexpensive, lightweight, and alternative way to quickly hang shielding and protect workers from sources of ionizing radiation.

Containment and glove bags

Containment units and glove bags are a staple source of radiation containment in manufacturing and industrial workplaces. By enclosing a contaminated item – or small area – the risk of contamination considerably decreases the risk of contamination. Catch containments – also called containment bags or drip bags – are also available. Larger work areas are better protected via containment tents (see below), which can be designed to fit the size of the work area and its occupants.

Glove bags have a range of different designs – including options for single or multiple workers to be gloved, sleeved and shielded while working in the same, small containment area.

Work tents and containment areas with ventilation

For larger work spaces, radiation protection occurs via work tents or larger containment areas. Because people work inside them, they must have special ventilation systems that provide the tents with fresh air but without contaminating the outside environment.

These tents are highly customizable and range from single-chamber tents (the simplest) to chamber tents that span thousands of square feet. Tents can also be designed to client specifications – including highly-specific needs when it comes to features and project requirements.

In most cases, these units are made with Pacifitex 1800 in yellow or white, for durability and are also fire retardant to optimize worker safety. Doors and window designs are available. Containment tents and radiation protective work areas are designed to provide adequate light and ventilation, and can come with removable floors and roofs for decontamination and extended use.

Protective clothing

From wet suits and one-piece suits, to acid suits, welding jackets, hoods and more – radiation protective clothing is often the best line of defense when it comes to protecting yourself or your employees from radiation exposure. Over the course of the last 50-years, innovations in fabrication have allowed the design of flexible, protective clothing that is easy to get on and off, but provides top-notch shielding from beta and other forms of radiation.

Contact a radiation shielding supplier to customize radiation protection

Ultimately, the best protection from radiation exposure occurs when employers maintain a rigorous safety culture and customize their shielding and protective clothing projects and supplies for the job.

Contact Lancs Industries to learn more about your options or to begin the design of customized protective gear that’s specific to the task at hand. We’ve helped to create a radiation-free world for more than 40 years.

Symptoms of Radiation Poisoning For Those Who Work in Radioactive Environments

The short story is that direct exposure to radiation can negatively impact the DNA in your cells, causing radiation poisoning. If exposure exceeds the maximum recommended limits, immediate treatment is necessary to mitigate the damage. If employees or others experience acute, high-levels of radiation, immediate attention is always advised. However, the majority of radiation poisoning occurs over time, which makes it more difficult to detect.

Low-levels of radiation exposure, experienced consistently and for extended periods of time, can also cause radiation poisoning – also called radiation sickness – that can lead to life-threatening situations as well as terminal illness.

symptoms of radiation poisoning

Recognize the Symptoms of Radiation Poisoning

Knowing the signs and symptoms of radiation poisoning supports you in identifying them in yourself, a loved one or a co-worker who may have been affected. It’s important to note that radiation poisoning is not caused by forms of non-ionizing radiation – such as the type used in microwaves, cell phones, or radar. Rather, it is caused by ionizing radiation emitted from x-rays, gamma rays and materials used in certain industrial and manufacturing industries. Particular bombardment, often used in medical testing and treatment, as well as weapons manufacturing and testing, also contribute to ionizing radioactive exposure.

Sometimes, harmful radiation exposure occurs as an accident, as is the case with nuclear facilities meltdowns; other times it’s the result of an employer’s failure to protect employees via radiation shielding, protective clothing, a means of accurately measuring and detecting employees’ exposure, etc.

Symptoms of radiation sickness include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding from body orifices, typically mouth, nose, gums and/or anus
  • Bruising, burns or sloughing off of the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea or bloody stool
  • Inflammation of exposed (affected) area – redness, swelling, tenderness and/or bleeding)
  • Ulcers or sores in the mouth, throat, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract

If you suspect yourself or someone you know is suffering from radiation poisoning, it’s imperative that you take immediate action. The greater the radiation exposure is, the more rapid symptoms will appear and the more severe they tend to be.

Protect Yourself and Decontaminate the Victim if Possible

If the exposure was direct, there is a good chance you and others are at risk as any liquid or particulate matter on or near the victim will expose you as well. Alert the Radiation Safety Officer or safety manager ASAP and immediately refer to documents instructing you what to do in this type of situation – often a part of the ALARA safety program.

Also, you will need to alert first-responders, EMTs and the nearest hospital that you suspect radiation poisoning. By now, most hospitals have a protocol in place at receive, admit and treat individuals who have been contaminated by radiation or radioactive materials. However, smaller hospitals may refer you elsewhere or recommend specific means of transportation so adhering to their instructions is essential to obtaining treatment for the contaminated individual as quickly as possible.

Know Your Exposure Limits

In addition to recognizing the symptoms of illnesses related to radiation exposure, it’s equally important to know and adhere to regulated exposure limits. Never, under any circumstances, should you expose yourself or others to limits that exceed current safety guidelines.

Currently, radiation exposure maximums are:

  • Whole body: 5,000 mrem/year
  • Any organ: 50,000 mrem/year
  • Skin: 50,000 mrem/year
  • Extremity: 50,000 mrem/year
  • Lens of Eye: 15,000 mrem/year
  • Embryo/fetus: 500 mrem/year
  • Member of public: 100 mrem/year

Read, Know Your Radiation Exposure Limits for more detailed information on the topic.

Also, make sure you always wear a dosimeter or that radiation monitoring takes place consistently where you’re working to accurately track, monitor and record exposure limits.

Treat Radiation Exposure Immediately

Steps for treating radiation exposure beyond recommended levels include:

  • Attending to CPR and any other immediate medical concerns as safely and efficiently as possible.
  • Remove clothing and accessories (if any) to halt as much continued exposure as possible and seal them up completely.
  • Scrub the victim’s skin with soap and water thoroughly and vigorously to remove the remaining contaminant.
  • Use a soft, dry blanket to dry the victim and keep him/her warm.
  • Call 911 or transport the victim to the nearest, qualified medical center or hospital
  • Contact your company’s safety managers and local safety authorities to report the incident.

There are also things you should NEVER do in the case of acute radiation poisoning.


  • Remain in an area where the radiation exposure occurred
  • Remain in contaminated clothing
  • Apply ointment or creams to burns or contaminated areas on the body
  • Hesitate to contact medical authorities and to report the incident to necessary safety agencies.

Lancs Industries works tirelessly to prevent harmful radiation exposure leading to illness or poisoning. Contact us to learn more about our products, designed specifically to keep you and your co-workers safe in radioactive environments.

What is a Radiation Safety Officer

Any company or business requiring employees to work with or around radiation and/or radioactive materials should have a clear Radiation Safety Program in place, and that program is traditionally led by a designated (qualified) Radiation Safety Officer. If your company is registered with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), you are required to have a designated Radiation Safety Officer – and the designation must be in writing.

This designation requires both a certain level of education, knowledge, training and credentials. Different employers and HR department have different guidelines or requirements – with hospitals and universities typically requiring a college degree in a scientific or technical field as well as a number of years of radiation safety training.

Also, only regulatory agencies can “pronounce” you a radiation safety officer. So, no matter how great a job you may have done at your place of employment overseeing RSO-related duties, and even if your boss says you’re the RSO, you’ll need to write a letter to your state’s regulatory agency, requesting official designation. This letter should include and/or attach your diploma, qualifications/certifications, proof of any RSO training you’ve had, work experience/training, etc.

radiation safety officer

Who is the Radiation Safety Officer?

Depending on the size of your company, the radiation safety officer (RSO) may be a full-time position in and of itself; smaller companies may have a key management person or safety manager take on the responsibilities of an RSO, above and beyond their regular weekday duties and job responsibilities.

Optimally, medium- to large businesses have a radiation safety committee, and the RSO supports that committee in its duties and serves on the committee, often in the capacity of secretary and record keeper.

What Does the RSO Do?

As part of overseeing the company’s radiation safety program and training, a radiation safety officer is responsible for:

  • Performing an annual review of the company’s radiation safety program and adherence to ALARA for the year.
  • Compiling quarterly reports of occupational/personal worker exposure to radiation for the quarter.
  • Putting together a quarterly compilation of radiation levels in both restricted and unrestricted areas, comparing them with previous quarters and ensuring they were at ALARA levels.
  • Organize and schedule regular briefings, trainings and educational sessions that instruct employees about radiation safety and the ALARA program(s) put in place.
  • Investigate and report on any instances where radiation exposure was over and beyond the maximum acceptable levels.
  • Ensure that all actions and/or incidences related to radioactive materials and radiation exposure take place within and under regulatory guidelines at both the federal, state and local levels.

While many of these tasks can be delegated and overseen by the RSO and the Radiation Safety Committee and/or safety management team, the ultimate responsibility and liability rests on the RSO’s shoulders.

Training Required for RSOs

Again, requirements vary – with some companies requiring a PhD in nuclear physics, and others requiring a high school diploma and ample radiation safety training.

There are varying levels of coursework, education and training required to become an RSO. The most basic training and certification includes completing and passing a 40-Hour RSO Short Course. However, the size and complexity of your company’s interactions with radioactive materials dictates how much training and experience are required.

Ultimately, RSO’s lead the education and training (not to mention safety program) at their places of work, and that means having sufficient knowledge and experience to teach and train employees and staff regarding:

RSO’s do a tremendous amount of record keeping and safeguarding sensitive files so organizational skills as well as discretion are essential character traits.

How Much do RSO’s Make?

There is no once salary fits all answer to the question of how much RSOs make. The larger the employer, the greater your qualifications, the higher your salary. With that being said, cites that RSO’s with PhDs in nuclear engineering can make as much as $180,000 per year, with the average salary hovering right around the $134,000 mark. On the other hand, those with a master’s degree earn around $126,822, and those with a bachelor’s degree earn closer to $124,161.

Then again, if you work for a smaller company and/or your RSO duties are adjunct to your regular responsibilities, you may earn as low as $66,000 or so.

Are you an RSO looking to make your workplace and employees as safe as possible? Contact us here at Lancs Industries to learn more about radiation shielding and protective clothing products.

What is a Dosimeter?

Ionizing radiation is harmful. At best, it causes radiation sickness and/or burns; at its worst, it’s fatal or is the cause of terminal cancers and other health conditions that can be fatal. Fortunately, radiation dosimeters come in various sizes and styles, but are ultimately designed to measure the levels of harmful ionizing radiation as a safety precaution.

Smaller models can be worn by those working in radioactive environments to monitor their exposure in real-time, as well as to keep track of cumulative exposure overtime, since slow and continuous exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation is as harmful – or more so – than acute, high doses in a single exposure. They are a standard tool in radioactive industries and careers, as well as in the disciplines of radiation dosimetry and radiation health physics.

what is a dosimiter

What is a Dosimiter and How Does it Measure Radiation?

These devices are made using radiation sensitive materials to measure exposure to gamma radiation, x-radiation and high-energy beta radiation (such as P-32). In addition to measuring and recording whole body doses, some dosimeters are designed to measure immediate, localized, radiation exposure.

The types worn by employees or personnel working in and around ionizing radiation exposure are called radiation badges, and can be clipped onto their protective clothing. Radiation dosimeters are most commonly worn and used by those whose work puts them at risk for maximum exposure limits:

  • Occupational whole body dose limit is 5,000 millirems per year
  • Dose limit to the extremities (hands, fingers, etc.) is 50,000 millirems per year

Professionals and employees most likely to use and/or wear a radiation badge include:

  • Nuclear power plant workers
  • Radiographers
  • Physicians working in the field of radiotherapy
  • Laboratory staff using radioactive materials
  • HAZMAT teams when called to nuclear disasters and/or to investigate suspected cases of harmful occupational radiation exposure

It is important to note that while dosimeters measure radiation exposure, they do not protect the wearer from the exposure and are not considered radiation shielding.

5 Types of Radiation Dosimeters

There are five different types of radiation dosimeters.

  1. Electronic Personal Dosimeter (EPD). These personal electronic devices are most often used in scenarios where there is high dose radiation exposure, and where employees are only working within those high exposure limits for a short time. EPDs have several sophisticated functions and can be reset after taking a reading – which is recorded – for reuse.
  2. MOSFET Dosimeter. These are used as clinical dosimeters in order to measure the radiation levels of radiotherapy radiation beams. MOSFET dosimeters provide readings within extremely thin active areas and are very small in size. The dosimeter’s post radiation signals are permanently stored.
  3. Film Badge Dosimeter. These tools are designed for one-time use, after which they are no longer functional. Radiation level absorption is shown via changes in the film emulsion and is evident after the film is developed.
  4. Quartz Fiber Dosimeter (QFD). QFDs are the precursors to EFDs and are now being superseded by them. Also designed for one-time use, QFDs are charged to a high voltage and readings are taken in response to the changes in electrical charge, which is proportional to radiation exposure levels.
  5. Thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD). This type of dosimeter uses a crystal that emits light when exposed to heat, caused by radiation exposure. The intensity of the visible light is measure, indicating the level of exposure. As with EFDs, TLDs are being used more and more in place of QFDs.

Dosimeters Are and Essential Part of Radiation Safety Programs

Ultimately, dosimeters and radiation badges are essential parts of any company’s radiation safety program, and should be used regularly, and diligently, as per manufacturer’s recommendations to keep worker’s radiation exposure well below maximum levels. Dosimeters should be used in compliance with industry best standards, as well as all the necessary radiation shielding and protective clothing products used to keep employees safe.

Interested in learning more about the types of radioactive shielding and protective clothing products available? Contact us here at Lancs Industries. We’ve created innovative, durable and proven radiation shielding products for more than four decades, and we’re always happy to work with clients to design custom products for their unique work environments and/or situations.

Does Radiation Alter Your DNA?

One question we hear now and then is “Does Radiation Alter Your DNA?” There are different types of radiation, and some have little to no effect on DNA – electromagnetic and radio waves, for example. However, ionizing radiation does affect DNA, and this can be harmful at best, and fatal at worst, if humans don’t have access to adequate protection.

Outside of the medical field, radiation exposure typically comes from external sources, including X-ray machines, radioactive materials used for industrial purposes, weapons production, nuclear power plants, etc. Its impact on human tissue depends on the type of radiation it is, the amount of exposure a person has, his/her access to radiation shielding products and/or the type of tissue that’s affected.

does radiation alter your DNA?

What is DNA?

In order to understand how radiation alters DNA, it’s good to know a little bit about what DNA is and how it’s structured.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the most important molecule in the body. It’s the blueprint, so-to-speak, from which every cell grows, develops, takes place, heals, replenishes, etc. These molecules are twisted up chains of genetic information, in the form of linked proteins and chemical bonds. DNA is quite amazing because while it’s actually microscopic – if the “chain” of sequenced proteins were stretched out, it would be about two-meters long.

The chemical bonds that hold the links in the DNA chain together are very strong, but they aren’t strong enough to withstand high-level, repeat and/or long-term exposure to radiation. When ionizing radiation enters the scene, it can become a force like a hatchet on a piece of wood – splitting crucial bonds apart, causing damage or destruction to these crucial DNA molecules. It can also cause a scattering effect, where the hits aren’t direct – but multiply and reveal themselves over time.

Ionizing Radiation + DNA = Cellular Chaos

The chemical bonds mentioned above take place via positively charged (protons) and negatively charged (electrons) molecules that are bound together. When ionizing radiation is present, it pushes an electron out of its natural orbit – destabilizing important bonds – and creating free radicals, or free, destabilized electrons that are scrambling to restore a stable balance of electrons again.

Freed electrons can continue to collide with other particles, causing more free radicals and further destabilization –the result being physiologic chaos at the cellular level that ultimately disrupts the body’s overall health and well-being. All of this happens very quickly, but the effects may not show up for quite some time.

How Does This Affect My Health?

When DNA is affected by radiation in this way – one of three things can happen:

  1. Immediate cell death. The damage can be so great that the cell dies. A few dead cells may not be that big of a deal, but numerous cell deaths could result in a burn or other, acute injuries or illness.
  2. Genetic mutations. If an area of the DNA strand is altered, rather than damaged completely, it causes mutations that will alter how the cell behaves or reproduces. These mutations can even take place in future generations, as the result of the altered DNA sequences a radiation-exposed parent passes on.
  3. Reproductive cell death. Even if the cell continues to live, or is mutated, damaged DNA may mean the cell can no longer reproduce.

Again, the types of damage that occur are related to radiation dose, exposure time, and so on – which is one of the reason workplace radiation safety programs include methods for detecting, measuring, and preventing exposure levels/times that would cause harm.

In the long-term, altered DNA can cause genetic mutations leading to cancer, sickness, disease, death or even genetic mutations that pass on to the next generation via mutations to sperm and egg cells.

Would I Know if I Had Cancer From Radiation?

Unfortunately, the types of cancers caused by radiation are not all that different from cancers that happen without radiation exposure. There are exceptions of course, but there is currently no way to measure the rate of cancer due to radiation.

Radiation Shielding and Protection Are the Solution

The best way to protect your DNA from mutations or cell death from radiation exposure is to ensure you’re adequately protected.

The more we know about radiation, and have access to products that limit our exposure, the less susceptible we’ll be to radiation that harms DNA – and the body it inhabits.

We Protect Your DNA From Ionizing Radiation

Do you want to learn more about radiation shielding and the workplace clothing and protective equipment available to you? Contact us here at Lancs Industries. We’ve provided high-quality radiation shielding and protection for nearly 50 years, and we’re always happy to help your company create customized materials that meet your particular niche or need.

The Importance of Radiation Safety Training in the Workplace

Radiation Safety Training should be in integral part of any company whose work puts employees, the environment and/or others at risk for radiation contamination or exposure.

According to the 2017 Ionizing Regulations Act:

Every employer must ensure that those of its employees who are engaged in work with ionizing radiation are given appropriate training in the field of radiation protection and receive such information and instruction as is suitable and sufficient for them to know:

  • the risks to health created by exposure to ionizing radiation
  • the radiation protection procedures and precautions which should be taken
  • the importance of complying with the medical, technical and administrative requirements of these Regulations

Radioactive materials are used in a multitude of industries and sciences across the United States, and around the globe, including medical and pharmaceutical fields, physics and other scientific research, biology, mining, environmental clean-up and protection and other fields that benefit both our planet and human kind.

This puts millions of employees, researchers and those exposed to contaminated via proximity to radioactive materials, which is why radiation safety training is so important.

radiation safety training

What Does Radiation Safety Training Look Like in the Workplace?

The large majority of harmful exposure to radiation in the workplace occurs as the result of an accident, and/or the lack of a workplace safety culture. The less education and training managers and employees have in regards to:

  • The risk of radiation exposure
  • Radioactive materials or substances in the workplace
  • Protective materials available
  • What to do in case of a radioactive spill, contamination, accident, etc.

the more likely there is to be a serious and irreversible emergency. Radiation safety is all about education and proactive prevention – with a hearty dose of training in terms of what to do when the “worst case scenario” takes place.

ALARA Can Serve as Your First Line of Radiation Safety Defense

ALARA is an acronym, as well as a safety principle and regulatory requirement, for companies that work with radioactive materials. It stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable, and quantifies the idea that at all times, companies should strive to keep radioactive exposure to the lowest amount possible.

This is done in a variety of ways, ranging from how materials are listed, registered, stored and handled, to the radiation containment, protection and shielding mechanisms put into place.

The EPA as well as organizations such as OSHA are dedicated to ensuring company owner and key management personnel have all the information they need to adhere to ALARA principles and create a safety-first environment for employees, customers and others.

Read, ALARA: What is It and What Can it Do For You, for more information on this topic.

Who’s Your Radiation Safety Officer?

The radiation safety officer (RSO) plays a very important role in the safety training paradigm. In larger companies, the RSO may hold a full-time position – wholly dedicated to overseeing the continuous training of personnel, that radioactive materials are ordered, stored, used and disposed of safely, that radiation protection at all levels is current, easily accessible by employees, free of defects and is replaced as needed, and so on.

Radiation safety officers may also hold this title adjunct with another job description – typically with an increase in pay. In addition to their regular duties, these RSOs also ensure their company complies with radiation safety-related regulations.

In most cases, RSOs host the bulk of the regular safety meetings and in-house trainings, in addition to ensuring managers and key personnel have access to off-site safety trainings and regulation updates as needed.

Read, How to Become a Radiation Safety Officer, to learn more about this invaluable part of a company’s radiation safety training program.

Benefits of Radiation Safety Training and Awareness

The benefits of a company safety culture are many. Most importantly, awareness and routine training saves lives. This can take many forms, including:

  • Maintaining current certifications and licensures
  • Observing federal, state and local radiation legislation to its fullest
  • Regular water cooler chats
  • Routine Friday (or whatever day of the week) safety meetings
  • Incentives for employees for following procedures
  • Rewards and reassurance for honestly reporting safety issues that need immediate attention, without fear of recrimination
  • Thorough training and testing in terms of skills and operating procedures

Safety training can be handled in-house and very informally, but should also include formal education and training (including the certification or licensure for certain employees) as needed.

Are you interested in learning more about the shielding, containment and radiation protection that can be incorporated into your company’s daily safety practices? Contact us here at Lancs Industries. We’ve served as a leader in radiation protection for more than forty-years and we’re happy to fabricate custom orders as needed.

Radiation Containment Types & Styles: Adequate Protection Requires the Right Choice

Your protection from radiation exposure is entirely dependent on the quality of the shielding products you use. Failure to choose the right type or style can lead to unnecessary exposure and long-term consequences.

radiation protection types and styles

Radiation Containment 101: Basic Types and Styles

If you’re working in a radioactive career or in a job environment, its essential that you and your co-workers are provided with adequate protection and shielding products. In most cases, your company’s radiation safety officer (RSO) will oversee these selection and modify them as needed, depending on the project. However, it’s still a good idea to know your options so you can bring any weak spots to the RSO’s attention.

Here are some examples of basic radiation containment types and styles:

Contain leaks and drips

Ultimately, any leaks or drips of radioactive material will be repaired. In the meantime, you need a good catchment system to contain the materials and prevent their spread or further contamination of the area, groundwater, etc.

Catch containments and accessories are designed to do just that, and come in various shapes and sizes to address the specifics of your situation.

Temporarily patch your containment shielding

Have a leak, puncture or tear in your shielding materials? Patch kits will do the trick until your containment or shields can be replaced. Patch kits are available for both containments as well as glove bags. The kits can also be used to modify existing containments or glove bags until custom versions can be made.

Filter pouches

Filter pouches will allow fresh air to be brought into to containment tents or glove bags, while trapping radioactive particulate matter so it doesn’t contaminate workers or spread to protected, exterior environments.

Flanged sleeves

Most sleeves and gloves are designed to fit custom measurements around the exposure field. Sometimes, the accessible field may need to be extended. If longer sleeves aren’t available, flanged sleeves can be used for additional penetration depths. These sleeves are affixed to tents or glove bags using glue or tape.

Flanged glove sleeves

These sleeves work similar to flanged sleeves, but they are specific to when a worker’s gloves will need to extended to provide further protection from the increased penetration into the containment site is needed.

What do I do if my company doesn’t provide adequate protection?

The good news is that organizations such as OSHA and radiation-specific safety programs – such as ALARA – have kept conscientious employers to task when it comes to providing employees with adequate protection and education regarding radiation exposure. That being said, it’s imperative that you check-in with management if you feel employees at your jobsite are inadequately protected.

If you feel afraid to do so, or worry your position with the company is in jeopardy if you sound the alarm, contact OSHA directly. They take employee safety very seriously, particularly when it comes to radioactive materials since radiation doesn’t just affect you and your fellow co-workers, but also the immediate and global environment at large. Plus, employees that report employer safety violations are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act.

You can contact OHSA’s free and confidential on-site consultation program and discuss your concerns with an OSHA employee directly (1-800-321-OSHA). Your name will never be mentioned, but this important call will trigger the necessary inspections and/or investigations to ensure your health – and the health of your employees – is protected. The good news is that if your company is guilty, no fines or penalties will be issued as long as they immediately clean up the violation, comply with OSHA’s instructions and pass successive inspections.

Interested in learning more about job-related radiation containment and shielding products? Contact us here at Lancs Industries. In addition to providing custom protection when needed, we can also help you determine whether your company is violating radiation protection protocols, and to establish which shielding and containment products are right for you.

Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

It’s important to note that while the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) does help certain individuals who were unlawfully and/or unethically exposed to nuclear weapons radiation – it only pertains to very particular years during 1945 and 1962. If you have been exposed to radiation after these dates – via your place of work or an industrial site that uses radioactive materials – this act probably does not apply to you. Contact OSHA to learn more about your rights.

The original RECA legislature came into being as a way of compensating those who were unknowingly exposed to the dangers of radiation as the US tested nuclear weapons. The majority of these tests took place above the ground in Nevada, Utah and elsewhere around the world. There were also smaller numbers of tests run in New Mexico other testing sites.

radiation exposure compensation act

RECA Has Very Strict Stipulations in Terms of Who Qualifies

Throughout that 17-year span of time, hundreds of thousands of people were involved and/or exposed in some way via testing maneuvers. In addition to those individuals, others who lived nearby and within certain, downwind drift zones also suffered from radiation exposure, both during and after the tests. Then, there are also all the uranium miners and non-military workers who worked at or near nuclear weapons facilities and test sites who suffered radiation exposure, and potential exposure to other toxic elements.

These are the bulk of the individuals who qualify for Radiation Exposure Compensation through RECA – and they are broken into three different categories. There are specific stipulations even within each category of individuals that determine whether or not an individual (or his/her family) is entitle to compensation – based on proof of exposure, length of employment and the establishment of certain medical conditions.

Uranium millers, miners and transporters

Anyone who mined, milled and/or transported uranium between the years of 1942 and 1971 may be entitled to up to $100,000. Most of these workers who suffered from exposure developed kidney or lung cancers, although other conditions also qualify.

Onsite participants

Any military or civilian participants who were onsite at the time of nuclear weapons testing, and who developed diagnosable medical conditions that meet certain criteria may collect up to $75,000. If you were in the military and suffered radiation exposure as the result of the Nagasaki or Hiroshima blasts, you are not eligible for RECA.


Then there are those who lived and/or worked near certain nuclear sites and were susceptible to contamination via nuclear fall-out. Downwinders must have lived in specifically outlined regions in Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Also, any one applying as a downwinder must have lived in qualifying regions for no less than two-years, ranging from 1951 to 1962. With proper proof, these residents may be eligible for up to $50,000.

Some of the conditions required for eligibility in any of the above three categories include:

  • Cancer of the thyroid, lungs, kidneys, breast, esophagus, stomach, colon, brain, bladder, ovary, pancreas, small intestine, throat – and the list goes on.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma

While there is no doubt that radiation exposure causes cancer, particularly thyroid cancer and various leukemias, the type of radiation one is exposed to, the length of exposure time, etc., all play a role in whether or not a particular ailment is associated with radiation exposure.

Those who feel they and/or a family member are eligible for compensation through RECA can contact Department of Justice Radiation Exposure Compensation Program by phone at 1-800-729-7327), or visit their website at

What If I’ve Been Exposed to Cancer-Causing Radiation Through My Workplace

There are other programs available to protect employees who feel they might have been exposed to cancer causing radiation that resulted in a medical diagnosis. One of these is called the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP).

This program provides two forms of compensation – monetary payment and/or medical benefits and treatment compensation – to nuclear weapons workers employed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) prior to 1992. This includes anyone who worked for the DOE as a contractor or subcontractor. Qualifying employees must have worked within the arena of nuclear weaponry. Certain other workers, including uranium miners, millers and transporters may also be eligible.

If you feel you may qualify for compensation via the EEOICP and would like to file a claim, visit’s EEOICP Compensation page, or contact the US DOL at 1-866-888-3322.

Do you work in an environment that puts you at risk for radiation exposure. Contact us here at Lancs Industries to discuss your radiation shielding options.