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New wardrobe against X-rays.

Although the hefty lead aprons worn by patients undergoing X-ray procedures can make them feel more securely shielded, such garments can tire and strain medical professionals who must wear them all day. Now, medical physicists at the University of Toronto have developed a lighter alternative. Substituting barium and tungsten powders for some of the lead creates a material that shields as well but weighs less, Martin J. Yaffe, Gordon E. Mawdsley and their colleagues report in the May HEALTH PHYSICS.

Manufacturers of the protective garments typically combine about 6 kilograms of lead powder with about 3 kilograms of rubber or vinyl per square meter of material. Yaffe notes, however, that lead absorbs some kinds of X-rays less well than others. By mixing in barium and tungsten, which effectively absorb those types of X-rays, "you get better absorption over a whole range of energies," he explains. The material thus shields more efficiently, offering the same protection as an all-lead apron but with 20 to 30 percent less weight, he says.
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Title Annotation:using barium and tungsten powders to make lighter X-ray shields
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 6, 1991
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