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5 Things to Know About X-Ray Radiation

Exposure is Preventable

Sure, X-ray radiation has its dark side, but there's plenty you can do to reduce your exposure.

First, you should understand that scientists have created ways to minimize exposure to X-ray radiation. This mostly includes offering recommendations, measuring the entrance skin doses -- the amount of rays absorbed through the skin -- of certain procedures, ensuring equipment is working properly and providing the best training to people operating the machines. In general, the FDA regulates the production of X-ray equipment, while states make laws to oversee the technology's use [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].

To ensure you're not being unnecessarily exposed, check the instruction and certification level of the technicians and doctors performing medical X-rays. Since training varies, you'll want to seek professionals with more education and experience. For instance, you might want to find clinics with board-certified radiologists for more serious scans. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor why an X-ray is or isn't necessary.

Can you be exposed to X-ray radiation outside the doctor's office? Find out on the next page.