X-rays are an essential part of modern medical treatment, as it would be next to impossible to treat many patients without using this old technology. However, they do expose the patients and the environment to very small amounts of radiation each time, and that’s why there’s a limit on how many times a person can have an x-ray, CT scan or MRI scan in a year. Now, digital x-rays are considered to be better for both the patients and the environment in general, but what is it that makes this modern version eco-friendlier than the traditional one? Let’s find out.
Chemical Curing is Not Required
A traditional X-ray takes a photograph of the person’s internal bone structure and the setup of the teeth, just the same as digital X-rays, but photographs taken during the X-ray need to be chemically cured after printing them out on an X-ray plate. The chemicals used in the curing process, alongside the fumes released, are not good for the environment and that’s a major disadvantage. On the other hand, digital x-rays end up directly onto the computer and can be printed out from there or used for diagnostic purposes straightaway, without requiring any of the harmful curing and developing process. Even from a medical perspective, this is a big advantage for medical personnel as they can directly update the patient’s file in the system with the latest x-ray reports, without having to scan the reports in.
Reduced Exposure to Radiation
Now, it must be understood that radiation exposure while being X-rayed is overblown in people’s minds. It is actually very hard to get radiation poisoning or cancerous mutations from X-rays because even traditional X-rays do not emit enough radiation under normal circumstances to cause problems, as long as you are not exposed to it an unnatural number of times within a very short period. However, when it comes to dental x-rays, the more vulnerable sections of the body such as the eyes can get irritated, even though technicians always cover the susceptible areas with lead covers and sunglasses. The digital X-ray essentially eradicates this problem from the equation, as it requires about 90% less radiation to do the same work that the traditional X-rays do. As a result, not only are dental patients at a much lower risk of developing radiation-induced problems after the X-ray, but the release of radiation in the environment is also reduced down to almost nothing.
Is the Job of the X-Ray Technician Environmentally Safe?
With the best xray technician jobs paying in excess of $60,000 annually in the US, it is a prospective field. Now that digital X-rays have almost eliminated the minute chances of radiation pollution from the X-ray process, it is a career that even the environmentally conscious among us can pursue with a clean conscience.
In fact, thanks to environmentally conscious individuals working in nuclear medicine, it is one of the best ways to ensure that man-made radiation doesn’t end up polluting the planet and its inhabitants beyond recovery someday.