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Radiation Protection Practices and Biological Effects Experienced by Radiologic Technologists.


It is vital among radiologic technologist to practice consistent radiation protection to minimize the biological effects of X-rays. This descriptive study was conducted to find out extent radiation protection measures are observed by 62 radiologic technologists in Cagayan de Oro City and Bukidnon. Also determined in this study were the common biological effects of radiation exposure experienced by them. The study yields the following results: the radiologic technologists in Cagayan de Oro City and Bukidnon highly practiced radiation protection particularly the use of the aperture diaphragm and avoidance of repeat examination. Among the biological effects experienced by the radiologic technologists, the most common were fatigue and skin erythema. Last, there was a significant relationship between the extent of radiation protection practices and the occurrence of skin erythema. In conclusion, radiation protection measures are highly practiced by the radiologic technologists. Fatigue and skin erythema are associated with radiation exposure.

Keywords: radiation protection practices, biological effects, radiation exposure, radiologic technologist


The discovery of X-ray machine has been an issue in the hospital setting. It is known that X-ray radiation offers many benefits in the medical field, but it has a corresponding consequential biological hazard. X-ray radiation in the medical field is considered as the largest man-made source of ionizing radiation. X-rays are ionizing radiation, which can cause injury to the human body. Unsafe procedures, imprecise and inaccurate radiation exposures, and production of scattered radiation put to danger radiologic technologists. X-ray radiation is very harmful even in cases of indirect exposure to scattered radiation. Radiologic technologists are much more prone to the biological effects of X-ray radiation than any other worker in a hospital setting because they are the ones who directly operate the X-ray machine and handle the patients. Thus, the main responsibility of a radiologic technologist is to use a minimum amount of X-ray radiation in every examination while still producing quality diagnosis.

To reduce hazards of X-ray radiation, radiologist and radiologic technologist need to wear protective instrument to protect them from radiation exposure. Radiation protection also involves the safe and effective use of radiation. The need for radiation protection is based on the known biological effects of exposure to radiation on animals and humans. Specific data on radiation effects on humans are derived from actual cases of radiation exposure. Such exposure includes patients treated with radiation therapy and patients exposed during diagnostic radiological procedures.

It is good to know that radiation experts developed a variety of radiation protection devices to enhance the effectiveness of protection among radiologic technologists during the course of diagnostic or treatment procedures. Despite of the knowledge on radiation protection, radiologic technologists may still suffer from the biological effects of X-ray radiation such as vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, nausea, fatigue, epilation, and skin erythema.

Thus, the researcher identified radiation protection practices among radiologic technologists and the biological effects they experienced. X-ray radiation is considered perilous to health; therefore, there is a need to ensure the protection of radiologic technologists from the harmful effects of radiation.


This study is anchored on the principle of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable). This principle guides radiologic technologists in maintaining radiation exposure at the lowest practicable amount and still achieves quality diagnosis.

According to the American Society of Radiologic Technology (2000), no dose of radiation is considered safe. Hazardous radiation can take effect depending on the sensitivity and vulnerability of human tissue. Low or high dose of radiation can be a potential health menace depending upon who are people involved. Some people are radiation sensitive while others are not. While the majority of radiation procedures use low doses of radiation, some procedures deliver high doses.

Any radiation exposure, no matter how small, carries with it some risks. Since radiologic technologists have extensive control over how much radiation exposure is received on the job, they can control and minimize the risk. The best approach is to keep the dose as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Minimizing the dose to minimize the risk is basic (Kempt, 2003).

Radiation protection, sometimes known as radiological protection, is the science of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation, which includes beta particle radiation and high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Radiologic protection includes occupational radiation protection, which is the protection of workers; medical radiation protection, which is the protection of patients; and public radiation protection, which the protection of the individual members of the public and the population as a whole.

The major challenge for a radiologic technologist is effective and efficient handling and use of X-ray radiation. In contrary, malpractice of handling and use of X-ray radiation may occur as a result of unsafe procedures or inaccurate exposure factors. In addition, X-ray interacts with matter (body tissues) and it produces scattered and secondary radiation, which may increase the amount of exposure of the patient and radiologic technologist. Scattered and secondary radiation also becomes a concern for the personnel employed in the radiology department. The exercise of precaution for the patient and the department personnel is absolute in the practice of radiography (Burns, 1992).


This study determined the radiation protection practices among and identify among radiologic technologist of Cagayan de Oro City and Bukidnon and the biological effects they experienced and Bukidnon. It also determined the relationship between the radiation protection practices and the extent of biological effects experienced by the radiologic technologists.


This study used the descriptive cross-sectional research design The study involved 50 radiologic technologists in Cagayan de Oro City and 12 radiologic technologists in Bukidnon.

A questionnaire was used to collect the data. The data was analyzed using the mean to determine the extent of radiation protection practices of the respondents, percentage to determine the biological effects experienced by the respondents, and chi-square to determine the relationship between the respondents' radiation protection practices and biological effects experienced.


Radiation Protection Practices of Radiologic Technologists

Table 1 shows that among the 19 measures for radiation protection, the use of protective barrier obtained the highest mean of 2.97 (highly practiced), followed by the use of lead goggles and proper mA (2.94), highly practiced). Avoidance of repeat examination got the lowest mean of 1.87 (moderately practiced), followed by the use of the aperture diaphragm (2.34, moderately practiced).

This finding implies that the radiologic technologists highly practice radiation protection measures. The use of protective barrier, which is made up of 1.6 mm of lead or 3.75 in the concrete wall, is specified by architects and contractors. Proper use of mA constitutes proper amount of x-ray radiation that must be kept in the minimum level, but still attaining quality radiograph. Likewise, according to Bushong (2009), full utilization of radiation protection produces high-quality X-ray images with less radiation exposure, which results in low probability of experiencing biological effects of radiation.

Biological Effects Experienced by Radiologic Technologists

Table 2 shows that the fatigue was the most common biological effect experienced by the respondents, 27% followed by skin erythema (16%). This finding implies that several of the respondents experience fatigue due to radiation exposure. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which were also experienced by the respondents, may lead to fatigue. Skin erythema is a biological response to radiation exposure (Bushong, 2009).

Relationship between Radiation Protection Practices and Biological Effects of Radiation Experienced by Radiologic Technologists

As shown in Table 3, among the biological effects experienced by radiologic technologists, only skin erythema was a significantly related to radiation protection practices as reflected by a calculated value of 8.76, which is greater than the critical value of 3.84. Even though the radiologic technologists practice high radiation protection measures, skin erythema will still occur. Skin is considered the first line of defense of the human body. Any outside intrusion to the body will first pass through the skin. X-ray radiation will normally first interact with the skin surface, penetrate the skin, and interact with other tissues beyond the skin. Skin erythema is also a direct observable sign for X-ray radiation exposure.


Radiologic technologists of Cagayan de Oro City and Bukidnon highly follow radiation safety policy mandated by the Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health, and Research. Fatigue and skin erythema are the most common biological effects of radiation exposure among radiologic technologists. Radiation protection practices are significantly associated with skin erythema.


1. The use of the aperture diaphragm, as well as the avoidance of repeat examination should be highly practiced to minimize radiation exposure.

2. Radiation protection practices should be highly maintained to avoid fatigue and skin erythema.

3. Other variables like personnel monitoring devices (OSL, Film badge, TLD, etc.), patient load, type of X-ray machine and procedures performed, in relation to radiation protection practices and biological effects like the hematologic depression may be explored.


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ORCID No. 0000-0001-8126-8858

Liceo de Cagayan University

Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines
Table 1. Radiation Protection Practices Among Radiologic Technologist

  Radiation Protection             Weighted Mean   Verbal Description

 1. Use of lead gown                 2.81          Highly Practiced
 2. Use of lead gloves               2.41          Highly Practiced
 3. Use of thyroid shield            2.69          Highly Practiced
 4. Use of lead goggles              2.94          Highly Practiced
 5. Use of the collimator            2.63          Highly Practiced
 6. Use of aperture diaphragm        2.34          Moderately Practiced
 7. Use of cones and cylinder        2.79          Highly Practiced
 8. Use of proper kVp                2.87          Highly Practiced
 9. Use of proper mA                 2.94          Highly Practiced
10. Use of proper time               2.81          Highly Practiced
11. Use of proper distance           2.56          Highly Practiced
12. Use of caliper                   2.76          Highly Practiced
13. Use of correct positioning       2.83          Highly Practiced
14. Use of X-ray inherent filter     2.82          Highly Practiced
15. Use of X-ray added filter        2.69          Highly Practiced
16. Use of intensifying screens      2.85          Highly Practiced
17. Avoid repeat exam                1.87          Moderately Practiced
18. Use of protective barrier        2.97          Highly Practiced
19. Not holding patient during       2.52          Highly Practiced
Over-all                             2.69          Highly Practiced

Table 2. Frequency & Percentage Distribution of the Biological Effects
of Radiation Exposure Experienced among Radiologic Technologists

Biological Effects             Experienced          Not Experienced
Work related sign
and symptoms among
radiologic technologist
                               F      %             F      %

1. Vomiting                    7      11.3          55     88.7
2. Diarrhea                    2       3.2          60     96.8
3. Anorexia                    0       0            62    100
4. Nausea                      5       8.1          57     91.9
5. Fatigue                    17      27.4          45     72.6
6. Epilation                   2       3.2          60     96.8
7. Skin Erythema              10      16.1          52     83.9

Table 3. Test of the Relationship between Radiation Protection
Practices and Biological Effects Experienced by Radiologic

Biological         Chi-square   Chi-square   Interpretation   Decision
Effects Work       Calculated   Critical                      on Ho
related sign       value        Value
and symptoms
among radiologic

Vomiting           3.79069      3.84            Not           Not Reject
Diarrhea           0.15093      3.84            Not           Not Reject
Nausea             2.60723      3.84            Not           Not Reject
Fatigue            0.84343      3.84            Not           Not Reject
Skin Erythema      8.76979      3.84         Significant      Reject
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Author:Almajar, James A.
Publication:Liceo Journal of Higher Education Research
Article Type:Report
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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