The lead vests prevent unnecessary radiation from entering the body and accumulating. There are different units of radiation used in x-rays for various body parts. An oral x-ray calls for 0.06 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation which is about one weeks worth of natural bodily occurring radiation, while a chest x-ray requires 0.08 mSv’s. The lead vest blocks out any unnecessary radiation that could potentially lead to health problems such as radon progeny in the lungs.
Here is a website with much more information on X-rays.
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