Lead Lined Drywall

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Radiation shielding is a discipline aimed at protecting humans and the environment from harmful effects of particle radioactivity and electromagnetic radiation. Ionizing radiation, although used in industry and medicine, is a serious health hazard. It results to microscopic damage to tissues and can raise risks to cancers, tumors, and genetic damage.

There are four major ways to reduce amount of radiation exposures. The effective dose of radiation is reduced proportionately when the amount of time of exposure is reduced. Increasing distance from the radioactive material can also reduce the amount of radiation. Reduction of presence of radioactive material also reduces amount of radiation exposures.

Shielding is one of the ways to control radiation. It pertains to covering the reactor with a mass of absorbing material so that the radiation can reduced to a level safe for human beings. In x-ray rooms, the technicians remain behind leaded glass screens. The walls where the x-ray generator is located are covered with barium sulfate and technicians also wear lead aprons.

Three materials are used in radiation shielding: concrete, lead and tungsten. For buildings, concrete is used but this can’t be used in the medical field. Tungsten is a great material for shielding but it is too expensive. The most economical choice is lead which is a dense material and therefore great for shielding as well.

Lead-lined drywalls are laminated with sheet leads to cover the surfaces of the rooms which require radiation shielding. The sheet leads meet the Federal Standards QQ-L-201f which was approved on November 29, 1965. They are 99.9% pure un-pierced untouched lead, free from sediments, oxide inclusions, scale, coatings, blisters, cracks, and plastered to the drywall in the factory. The drywall is non-fire coded and ½” to 5/8” in thickness. The lead is between 1/32” to 1/8” thick. Standard lead sheets drywall varies in length but is 4 feet in width. Lengths are from 8 to 16 feet.

Two people are required to install the drywalls but for ceiling installations it requires three people, two people will hold each side and the third one will do the fastening either by nails or screws. The use of screws is much preferred in the drywall installation because nails tend to slightly pull out due to the weight of the drywall and gravity as well. For convenience, a drywall gun is used. A screw is placed every 6 inches along the sides of the sheet and every 8 inches on the sheet’s body. A tape is used to seal the drywall joints. Around three coats of Spackle are used for an even finish.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), a commission which aids in the protection of human beings and the environment against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation, has recommended that use of radiation must be justified, that is the advantages far outweighs the disadvantages. Also, radiation exposure of an individual must be limited through the individual dose limits. And, radiation doses must be kept below the limit. The ICRP is based in Ontario, Canada.

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