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Radiation Safety


Radiation Safety

As medical imaging professionals, we are responsible for protecting our patients from unnecessary radiation exposure.

X-ray, CT and Mammography images are created using x-radiation. The Diagnostic Imaging department takes your radiation safety very seriously and adheres to regulations laid out in the HARP Act.

Nuclear Medicine images are created using radioisotopes that are introduced into the body. Our Nuclear Medicine department follows the regulations laid out by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Nuclear Safety and Control Act, Radiation Protection Regulations and our licensing agreement).

What is Radiation?

Radiation is energy in the form of waves or particles that comes from a source, and travels through material or space. We are exposed to radiation from our natural environment. We receive small amounts of radiation exposure from the rocks and soil, and cosmic radiation from the sun. We even have small amounts of naturally occurring radiation in our own bodies. However, when most people talk about radiation they think of x-rays, and the radiation that comes from nuclear substances. Radiation is either ionizing (x-rays and nuclear isotopes), or non-ionizing (light, radio-waves and microwaves).

Diagnostic Testing and Radiation

Ionizing radiation is used daily in hospitals and clinics all over the world for diagnostic testing. These tests provide your physician with information to make an accurate diagnosis of injury or disease.

The staff who perform these tests (radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical radiation technologists) are trained to use the minimum amount of radiation necessary for the procedure.
All x-ray procedures, including CT scans, use x-rays. These x-rays pass through the body to create images which are viewed on a computer by a radiologist.

In Nuclear Medicine, small quantities of radioactive materials are injected, inhaled or swallowed. Special cameras detect the energy released by the material to create images of your body. The images give us information about your organs and their function. Theses images are then viewed by a nuclear medicine physician.

Different tissues and organs have varying sensitivity to radiation exposure. The actual radiation risk to different parts of the body from a procedure using ionizing radiation varies. The amount of radiation used in most diagnostic imaging examinations is quite small and the benefits of having the procedure done greatly outweigh the risks.

Please inform the technologist in charge of your care, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. There may be potential risks to the fetus depending on the exam type and the gestational age of the fetus.

For general information on radiation safety go to: