Answer to Question #4042 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I'm wondering how long a typical lead apron lasts. It has been checked for holes and cracks, nothing significant was found, however it has visible tears and holes on the edges and it it splattered with betadine and x-ray contrast. Is there a way to clean the aprons?
The lifetime of a typical lead apron, with proper care, is on the order of 10 years. Abuse of the apron can significantly shorten its life.
Lead aprons covered with nylon fabric are susceptible to stains. (If you think about it, the colorful designs on some of today’s popular lead aprons are the result of deliberate applications of stains to the fabric.) A leading manufacturer suggests spot cleaning with cold water and a mild detergent. Do not use solvents that would affect nylon fabric, urethane (used as a waterproof coating on the back side of the nylon), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or man-made rubbers (the material impregnated with lead and other metals). Do not autoclave or launder the lead apron.
For future consideration, vinyl covered lead aprons may be more stain resistant. I have also been told that some European hospitals are ordering lead aprons with the nylon fabric reversed so that the urethane coating is on the outside.
Kent Lambert, CHP
Answer posted on 5 November 2004. The information and material posted on this website is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may alter the concepts and applications of materials and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice specific to whatever facts and circumstances are presented in any given situation. Answers are correct at the time they are posted on the Website. Be advised that over time, some requirements could change, new data could be made available, or Internet links could change. For answers that have been posted for several months or longer, please check the current status of the posted information prior to using the responses for specific applications.
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