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So, during radiation safety training, much hullabaloo is made regarding how the high energy beta emitted by 32P produces Bremsstrahlung radiation when striking a high Z shielding material. As such, shielding material should be low Z, a la wood, plexiglass, etc.

But when it comes time for autoradiography, it seems like everyone just sticks it into a steel cassette, which has a high Z relative to all recommended materials. Is it just not such a big deal at this point? Shouldn't I be using something made of aluminum?

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Have you ever checked how much radiation passes through a cassette? –  GWW May 16 '13 at 4:11
Yes, but I'm fairly certain that the survey meter we use is a geiger type detector; in other words, it's good for alpha, beta, and gamma, but not x-rays. So, there's no beta escaping from the cassette, which I'd expect, but it's the x-rays produced by the sudden deceleration of the beta particles that I'm worried about. –  radionoob May 16 '13 at 7:09
The cassettes I use are made of aluminum and plastic, I think the steel ones are old. There is also the phosphor screen or film directly on top of the radiation source. Shouldn't those stop the radiation and absorb it to form an image? –  Drosophila May 16 '13 at 13:34
If you're worried, contact your local radiation safety committee - they should have a wide-spectrum detector around that can detect Bremsstrahlung. I've only ever used aluminum/plastic cassettes myself for autorads. The phosphor screen should block a good deal, but you do not want to take any chances where radiation is concerned... –  MattDMo May 16 '13 at 16:37
I must agree, we only use AL or PP cassettes. Did someone purpose a cassette that was originally intended for another type of film/development? –  Atl LED Jul 13 '13 at 3:12

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