August 1, 2010
When you go to your local dentist’s office for a check-up, the first thing they will do is take you to have some x-rays done. During this procedure you are fitted with an x-ray apron to protect your vital organs from harmful radiation released when the image is captured. The radiologist will walk out of the room and activate the machine by a switch located on the other side of the door. This is done because radiation is dangerous, even the small amount used in common dental office imaging. Gamma and x-ray radiation is what’s called ionizing radiation; it penetrates the skin and has the ability to alter the make-up of atoms.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
A recent report from the New York Times examines the serious health problems caused by overdosing of radiation during a CT brain perfusion scan including hair loss, brain cancer and long-term brain damage. This scan is commonly administered when a doctor believes their patient may have suffered a stroke. Unfortunately, many hospital technicians were untrained in how to administer the test and because of this patients suffered up to 13 times the amount of radiation typically used in the exam.
Even though hundreds of cases of radiation overdoses have occurred, the FDA has no explanation of how it was allowed to happen. Yet these overdoses took place within a controlled environment where qualified hospital technicians and radiologists operated the equipment.
Despite the dangers of radiation, its mandatory use is being spread to airports across the globe in the name of security. Full body scanners, commonly referred to as “naked body scanners“, take an x-ray of your entire body. Reports from top scientists warn that these airport body scanners could operate at an intensity 20 times higher than originally expected. Warning have been issued that radiation overdosing increases the chances of cancer and other serious health risks as a result. You aren’t fitted with a protective apron, the administrators of the scan aren’t certified medical technicians and you aren’t limited to the amount of exposure you receive per year. While safety is their primary reason for installing the body scanners, it would appear that they are anything but safe.
While your dentist uses minimal x-ray radiation to capture a still image of your teeth, the procedure is only performed once every six months to two years. Special care is taken to make sure that you and the administrator of the x-ray are safe and risks are minimized. Frequent flyers in today’s scan-happy society don’t have the advantage of this level of caution. They are subjected to radiation up to twenty times higher than what is considered to be safe– and that can’t be good.