Today’s medical imaging community is demanding a nonleaded alternative for their x-ray protection needs. Lightweight alloy alternatives are a necessity as an increased number of physicians and technicians are required to wear aprons for longer time periods during more varied exams. Previously, the weight of lead was a concern as it often created lower back and leg pain. In addition to market demand for lighter weights, today’s green movement toward environmentally friendly materials, raises concerns of lead exposure and hazardous waste implications.
In response to the dynamic market demands, many companies began offering nonleaded x-ray apron solutions. Many of these nonleaded products are met with skepticism, as lead has long been the front runner for protection against x-ray exposure. However, new leading-edge advances in the sciences of radiation physics and plastic-filling processes have led to the production of nonleaded aprons that are able to compete with standard lead x-ray aprons.
One brand of non-lead x-ray protection material made for aprons is Xenolite-NL. It is the first lead-free and environmentally-friendly material that has been formulated and engineered to be used for x-ray protection. The material incorporates a proprietary, balanced, and patented formula of two x-ray attenuating elements to help protect the individual from primary and harmful scatter beam wave lengths. Xenolite-NL lightweight x-ray aprons first began to be developed in 1992. Today, these aprons are the most widely recognized and tested lightweight apron that is available in the world.
Xenolite-NL is currently the lightest weight alternative to lead aprons, weighing up to forty percent less than regular-grade lead aprons. These aprons are quality control ensured during every step of their production. Xenolite-NL No-Lead aprons conform to the world’s strict IEC (61331-1) regulations on x-ray protection. They comply with DIN, JIS, as well as CE requirements (at both the 80 kV & 100 kV test levels, with 0.15/0.25 mID Cu filtration). Additionally, thanks to their ergonomically lead-free design, Xenolite aprons are environmentally friendly and can either be recycled into new aprons or be easily incinerated or disposed of after the life of the apron has transpired. They can be discarded along with all other refuse since they contain no toxic heavy metals.
In 2004, Columbia University conducted a comparative test of various lead and nonlead aprons, which report was published Nov 28, 2004 as RSNA poster Abstract # 4412757. Not only did the Xenolite-NL aprons prove to be the lightest aprons tested, they also proved to be the nonleaded brand of aprons that, on average, most effectively blocks harmful x-ray transmissions and best protects the individual from experiencing negative effects from radiation. As demonstrated by Columbia’s test, the average percent of x-ray transmissions allowed by Xenolite-NL lead-free aprons was only 5.9%, thus providing evidence that Xenolite-NL aprons are just as effective as, and in some cases, more effective than standard-grade lead aprons.
Due to their light-weight design, Xenolite-NL No-Lead aprons should be the choice x-ray apron for use during long interventional radiology procedures to prevent back and body pain or injury. Xenolite-NL aprons are able to function as well as traditional leaded aprons, given their proven, low harmful transmission rate. These aprons are able to significantly diminish the chance of an individual experiencing any physical, negative effects of x-rays and have superior upgrades to standard-grade leaded aprons. Although exposure to any amount of radiation is unsafe, Xenolite-NL lead-free aprons provide the safest means available to reduce the risks associated with x-ray imaging techniques.