It depends on the level of radiation from which you are trying to protect yourself. It also depends on whether lead is the only insulating mechanism used. There are new vests that use composite materials to absorb X-rays from standard medical X-ray devices. According to Pacific Northwest X-Ray, Inc., the industry standard for medical X-rays is .5mm (1/2 a millimeter) of lead. However, they mentioned that the thickness is usually broken up into smaller sheets to make the vest more flexible. For example, 5 sheets of .1 mm, or 2 sheets of .25 mm.
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