Doctors, medical practitioners, and dental surgeons opt for X-rays to determine the cause of a fractured bone or a broken tooth. Once the X-ray is done and results are out, however, both doctors and patients go about their usual business, very rarely batting an eyelid about the X-ray waste that needs to be disposed of.
X-ray waste has hazardous material involved that can be dangerous for human health if not taken care of properly. Keeping a pile of X-rays dumped somewhere in the corner is not the permanent solution. Adequate measures are to be taken to get rid of them and protect the surroundings.
Types of X-Ray
There are three procedural types of X-ray:
Analog is the oldest, most commonly used method, in which a film is developed to show a captured image. This is the traditional way that is heavily producing hazardous X-ray waste.
- Computed Radiology
Instead of using a film, a plate-cassette type system is utilized to capture and develop images.
- Digital radiology
This mode is the most effective as the entire process is purely digitized. There is little to no chance of waste lying around.
X-Ray Waste Produced by Analog
X-ray fixers contain a large concentration of silver that can be hazardous for the environment. Silver concentrations above 5000 parts per million are considered hazardous, and used X-ray fixers produce 8000 parts per million! Think about the damage and its long-term effects!
Tossing it into the trash is not going to help. Therefore, the used x-ray fixer is often sent back to its supplier, who recycles it to extract the silver.
Similar to the X-ray fixer, Dental film or X-ray film also contains silver inside of it. However, the concentration is not high enough to be toxic. Anyhow, it should be disposed of, too. These X-ray films, like X-ray fixers, are also recycled for the extraction of silver.
Hydroquinone is a hazardous substance found in X-ray developers. This substance, when combined with silver, can be extremely toxic to the environment. However, once it is used, its toxicity decreases. Therefore, it can be disposed of as municipal waste.
Make sure that you have kept it in a closed, separate jar to avoid mixing with an X-ray fixer.
Lead is considered to be a hazardous substance that should not be used in a large quantity. Lead foil contains a small amount of lead that can be used and later recycled. Instead of dumping it in a bag or a sharp container, it needs to be disposed of correctly so that the lead doesn’t seep into the environment.
Lead aprons can be used for a considerable amount of time; however, these aprons become hazardous after a while. Due to the presence of toxic lead, these aprons cannot be dumped in a bin.
There are a number of options available to dispose of lead aprons – recycling, returning it to the supplier or asking a professional company to dispose of this toxic waste. New Jersey Shredding is the way to go as they provide efficient methods to dispose of any unnecessary waste without taking a heavy toll on your pocket!