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California Dental Offices Allowed Portable X-ray Equipment

The California Department of Public Health, Radiologic Health Branch (CDPH-RHB) recently issued an exemption that allows dentists to use portable hand-held x-ray systems. Without the exemption, portable hand-held x-ray systems would be prohibited in dentistry, as stated in the following ionizing radiation regulation:

“Neither the tube housing nor the position indicating device (cone cylinder) shall be hand-held during exposure.”

The new exemption allows dentists and their trained staff to operate hand-held x-ray systems while this exemption remains in effect. Compliance with the exemption is contingent on the following conditions:

  • The portable x-ray system has FDA approval and is being used in a manner consistent with that approval.
  • The backscatter shield provided by the manufacturer, of not less than 0.25 mm lead equivalent, must be permanently affixed in place at all times.
  • Personnel monitoring badges must be worn by all individuals operating the portable devices. Monitoring results must be evaluated internally on a monthly basis.*
  • All personnel must receive training in the safe use of the x-ray systems.
  • All training and monitoring records must be made available for review by CDPH-RHB upon request.

In addition to the above conditions, x-ray users must comply with the regulations found in Title 17 CCR. Subscribers of our OSHA Review Compliance Program can find these regulations in the back of Section X in the OSHA Review binder or can be downloaded from OSHA Review’s website –, in the clients-only section under Professional Documents.

* Users of the Aribex models Nomad, Nomad Pro, and Nomad eXaminer are not required to comply with the personnel monitoring requirement, based on existing exposure data.

OSHA Review, Inc. a registered continuing education provider in the State of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and Cal/OSHA training. OSHA Review subscribers in California receive updated regulatory compliance and infection control training thorough our bi-monthly newsletter.

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