California Amends Handheld X-Ray Regulations



The California Department of Public Health is granting dentists and their trained staff who use portable, handheld x-ray devices an exemption from prohibitions against holding the tube housing or position-indicating device (cone cylinder). This exemption only will be in effect if the practice meets 4 conditions.

  • First, the portable x-ray system must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and used in a manner consistent with that approval.
  • Second, a backscatter shield from the manufacturer providing no less than a 0.25-mm lead equivalent must be permanently affixed in place at all times. The x-ray system must not be used if it is broken or dislodged.
  • Third, operators must wear personnel monitoring devices. This monitoring must be evaluated monthly, with records available for review by the Department of Public Health. Compliance is not required for users of the Aribex Nomad, Nomad Pro, Nomad Pro2, Nomad eXaminer, and Nomad 75kV, based on a decade of exposure data.
  • And fourth, all personnel must be trained in the safe use of these systems, with records of that training available for review by the department.

Compliance with all 4 provisions will be evaluated during inspections conducted by department personnel. All users still must adhere to the Standards for Protection Against Radiation. The Radiologic Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health notes that this exemption is subject to review and may be revoked if registrants do not adhere to the conditions of the exemption.

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