Protection Against Gamma Radiation
08.31.18 | Friday | Nofit Amir
There are about 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with about 4,000 each in the U.S. and Russia – and so far, only two nuclear weapons have ever been used in warfare. Could that ever change? Could a rogue nation – or a terrorist group – set off a nuclear device, thus setting into motion the release of dangerous radiation? And if that did happen, how would you protect yourself from radiation that would result from an explosion? What kind of radiation shield would work in the event of such a war?
If the idea of a nuclear war or terrorism seems too far-fetched – after all, if terrorists or rogue nations wanted to attack us with such weapons, they could have done so a long time ago – what about a nuclear meltdown at one of America’s 99 nuclear power plants? What kind of equipment would stop gamma radiation, that would result from an explosion at one of these plants? If you were a first responder, how could you protect yourself from radiation?
All good questions – and the answer could spell the difference between life and death for those in the path of nuclear incidents. The question for first responders, military, and even ordinary citizens is – what is the most effective way of dealing with the dangerous radiation that could result from a nuclear incident? While the market is inundated with hazmat and CBRN suits to protect wearers from gamma radiation, most are too heavy to allow wearers to easily move about – and those that do allow for that movement usually do not supply sufficient protection. Our 360 Gamma solution, however, does the job – protecting wearers with smart shielding that provides focused protection from gamma radiation for the most sensitive parts of the body.
Full Body Outfitting Does Not Make for Effective Protection From Gamma Radiation
Scientists know exactly how much shielding is necessary in order to protect the body from radiation. In order to reduce typical gamma rays by a significant factor, thick, dense shielding is necessary. This is dramatically diferent from what is necessary for blocking alpha or beta radiation:
The problem is that the required shielding for gamma radiation makes full-body protection outfits impossible, as about half a ton of material would be needed. Thin suits available on the market do little to protect users and mostly encumber their movement. Emergency responders at Chernobyl, for example, attempted to protect their entire bodies from gamma rays by use of thin lead sheets. Those outfits weighed some 26 kilos – but they were unable to protect against gamma radiation, as that mass was evenly spread over their bodies, instead of being concentrated over the susceptible tissues necessary for survival.
Not only was this material insufficient to stop gamma rays, but it was also heavily encumbering, making it difficult to maneuver in. Many of those responders died from the hematopoietic sub-syndrome of acute radiation syndrome, which arises from the destruction of the bone marrow tissue.
Selective Shielding – a Far Better Strategy to Stop Gamma Radiation
Full body shielding, as we have seen, is not possible due to the neccesary thickness of lead required to block gamma rays. Enter the StemRad 360 Gamma solution. For exposure to gamma radiation, what’s most important is protecting the critically sensitive parts of the body – especially the midsection, where 60% of the body’s bone marrow is located. Doctors know that bone marrow stem cells are the most sensitive in the body – and the first to be damaged in exposure to gamma radiation. To stop gamma radiation from damaging them, the 360 Gamma solution provides extra thick protection in the midsection – shielding vital bone marrow, the sensitive gastrointesinal tract and the urinary bladder. In women, the 360 Gamma also provides critical protection to the ovaries- thereby reducing the chances of radiation-induced ovarian cancer down the road. The impact on survival is astounding as may be observed in the table below, derived from a recent study conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
Thus, the individual wearing the StemRad 360 Gamma would be able to maneuver and get to safety– while remaining shielded from the harmful effects of the most dangerous radiation- gamma radiation. If you are a first responder – or an individual concerned with remaining safe in case of a nuclear emergency – the StemRad 360 Gamma shield is the most efficient and effective way to protect yourself from gamma radiation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the best protection from radiation?
A. The best shielding against ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays, are elements with high atomic number and high density, such as lead.
Q. How does the StemRad 360 Gamma protect against radiation?
A. The 360 Gamma concentrates shielding components around the most sensitive parts of the body – especially the midsection and hip area, where the body’s bone marrow tissue is located.
Q. What blocks gamma radiation?
A. Lead is an element with one of the best combinations of high atomic number and high density, which makes it among the most efficient materials for stopping gamma radiation. It is also an easy material to work with and is very cost-effective, making it ideal for use in the 360 Gamma.
Q. What blocks gamma rays from space?
A. Cosmic gamma rays are typically produced from interactions of primary cosmic rays (usually protons) with Earth's atmosphere, and it is also the atmsophere that provides a significant amount of shielding against those same gamma rays. There is no significant threat on Earth's surface from cosmic gamma rays, but they can also be shielded against using lead.
Writes content for StemRad’s website, social media, and newsletter. She is an advocate with over twenty years of experience of writing high-end content in academic and industrial settings.