Rads know how to keep dose low

August 1, 2005

The New Jersey Bureau of Radiological Health has for several years tested the dose output of plain radiography equipment installed in the state. Using phantoms, the inspectors record exposure levels for PA chest, AP lumbar spine, and foot. Physicians who use the equipment include radiologists, podiatrists, chiropractors, and others. If any of their machines fall below the acceptable range, the bureau alerts them by letter and requires a response detailing the actions they will take.

The New Jersey Bureau of Radiological Health has for several years tested the dose output of plain radiography equipment installed in the state. Using phantoms, the inspectors record exposure levels for PA chest, AP lumbar spine, and foot. Physicians who use the equipment include radiologists, podiatrists, chiropractors, and others. If any of their machines fall below the acceptable range, the bureau alerts them by letter and requires a response detailing the actions they will take.

"The program works," said Dr. Julie K. Timins, chair of the New Jersey State Commission on Radiation Protection. "With education, a lot can be done to reduce dose. Ever since we began this program, we've seen very significant decreases in exposure across the board."

The facilities that register above the normal exposure levels are generally not run by radiologists, she said.

"Radiologists are knowledgeable and have the money to keep equipment up. The real improvement came with family practitioners, internists, chiropractors, and podiatrists. Their exposure levels improved significantly with our feedback," Timins said.