Administered properly, radiation is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis, treatment and management of disease. But most radiologic procedures also carry a potential health risk, and radiation can be harmful or even deadly if it is administered incorrectly. Medical x-rays account for the majority of the average citizen’s exposure to manmade radiation. The use of radiation in medicine may be one of the most difficult areas for ensuring a balance between risk and benefit. The purpose of the x-ray program in the State of Utah is to ensure that each person who is exposed to radiation from x-rays for a medical purpose receives high quality medical care with the lowest dose of radiation exposure possible.
Medical x-rays account for the majority of the average citizen’s exposure to man made radiation. Although most scientists believe there is a health risk from low levels of exposure to x-rays, the risk is generally considered to be small when compared with the benefits. Even though the risk is small, exposures should still be maintained As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). According to ALARA principle, is important to avoid conditions where the amount of radiation used is more than that needed for the procedure, because there is no benefit from unnecessary radiation. The goal of radiation protection is to prevent or minimize exposures that have no benefit.
The use of radiation in medicine may be one of the most difficult areas for ensuring a balance between risk and benefit. Often there is not enough thought given to unnecessary patient exposure because the benefit of the x-ray is believed to be unlimited. As a result, analysis of risk and benefit is an infrequent consideration. Medical professionals are responsible for evaluating the risk versus the benefit to determine if an x-ray procedure is warranted.
X-ray exposure is minimized and image quality is improved when X-ray systems and operators perform properly. Therefore, the Radiation Control Rules require regular registration and inspection of X-ray units. Operators of X-ray equipment designed for human use must also meet the licensing requirements required by the State’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
About 2700 facilities are currently registered with the Division. Approximately 9200 tubes or machines are being used in health care, research, and industrial applications throughout Utah. Dental and medical uses account for the majority of the machines, although there are a significant number of other uses.
R313-28 of the Utah Code contains the regulations for the Use of X-rays in the Healing Arts. Our X-ray staff has experience and knowledge and they are available to provide information. They are always available to assist others. If you have any question or problem related to X-ray machine regulations and safety, please contact us via phone, e-mail or letter.
X-ray Program Community Portal Announcement
The Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control is in the midst of modernizing our document management processes. As part of this, we have created a web-based Community Portal for electronic submission of applications for licenses, permits, and registrations. This portal is a place where X-ray registrants can submit new applications, view the status of an application, submit changes to issued registrations, and renew registrations. Registrants will also be able to view, download, and print copies of their registration certificates in the portal. A letter was sent to all registered x-ray facilities introducing the portal. There is a link to the letter below along with a link to the Community Portal. Guidance documents for using the Community Portal can be found on the X-ray Forms page.
If you have any questions regarding the Community Portal, please call (801) 536-0200 and ask to speak to a member of the x-ray program staff.
Handheld X-Ray Equipment
Handheld X-ray equipment for dental and industrial uses are X-ray sources and must be registered in the State of Utah. See R313-16-230.
Purchasing Equipment from Websites
Certain handheld X-ray systems are available for sale on websites that are not authorized for distribution by the manufacturer.
There are multiple handheld X-ray units approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States.
The NOMAD Pro 2 GBL and NOMAD Pro 2 GBL BLK are not intended for use in the United States. The GBL stands for global. These products are tested to comply with safety and electrical standards, but are not cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to be sold in the United States. These units should not be purchased or used in the State of Utah, and cannot be registered for use in dental offices. See R313-28-31(1)(a).
We recommend purchasing X-ray systems from U.S. dealers, authorized by the manufacturer. Please refer to the manufacturer website for more information on NOMAD Handheld X-ray systems.
Mammography Imaging Medical Physicists (MIMPs) perform radiation surveys and evaluate the quality control programs of the facilities in Utah that provide mammography examinations. These individuals have met the qualifications specified in R313-28-140 of the Utah Code and have been approved by the Waste Management and Radiation Control Board. See the current list of MIMPs or to get an application form or recertification form.
Qualified Experts are individuals who have the knowledge and training to measure regulatory parameters on radiation machines, to evaluate radiation safety programs, to evaluate radiation levels, and to give advice on radiation protection needs while conducting inspections of radiation machine facilities registered with the Division. Qualified Experts are not employees or representatives of the Division or the State. Qualified Experts have met the requirements of R313-16-292 of the Utah Code and have been authorized to conduct inspections of registered x-ray facilities in Utah as required by R313-16-290 of the Utah Code and to review floor plans, shielding specifications and equipment arrangement of all new installations, or modifications of existing installations, utilizing ionizing radiation as required by R313-28-32 of the Utah Code.
Healing Arts Screening
Healing arts screening is the use of x-ray, not prescribed by a practitioner of the healing arts, to evaluate individuals as a part of a program for disease detectable by x-ray but not yet evident. These programs require approval of the Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control.
R313-28-31(2)(f)(ii) of the Utah Administrative Code prohibits the exposure of an individual to the useful beam of an x-ray unit for healing arts screening unless that screening is authorized under R313-28-31(2)(i) of the Utah Administrative Code.
R313-28-31(2)(i) of the Utah Administrative Code requires a person proposing to conduct a healing arts screening program to receive approval from the Director prior to beginning the screen program. The person must submit a written request for approval of the program that contains the information outlined in R313-28-400 of the Utah Administrative Code. R313-28-31(2)(i) of the Utah Administrative Code also requires the person to notify the Director immediately if the information becomes invalid or outdated.
R313-28-400 of the Utah Administrative Code requires individuals requesting approval for a healing arts screening program to submit the following information:
- The name and address of the applicant and, where applicable, the names and addresses of agents within Utah.
- The diseases or conditions for which the x-ray examinations are to be used.
- A description, in detail, of the x-ray examinations proposed in the screening program including the frequency of screening and the duration of the entire screening program.
- A description of the population to be examined in the screening program including age, sex, physical condition, and other appropriate information.
- An evaluation of known alternate methods not involving ionizing radiation which could achieve the goals of the screening program and why these methods are not used in preference to the x-ray examinations.
- Written evidence that an Investigational Review Board, which has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, has reviewed and approved the healing arts screening program or the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the x-ray examination for the diseases or conditions of interest.
Applications for a healing arts screening program can be mailed to:
Douglas J. Hansen, Director
Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control
PO Box 144880
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4880
Alternatively, applications addressed as indicated above can be submitted electronically via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that documents containing proprietary or business confidential information that the submitter is claiming as Confidential Business Information under Utah Code 63G-2-305 cannot be submitted electronically via email because the Division cannot guarantee the confidentiality of documents submitted via email.
- Background Radiation
- Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is responsible for establishing regulations for the licensing of medical professional, including those who administer x-rays.