Did you realize that the last time you took your child to the Emergency Room and had them x-rayed that the machine doing the x-rays was designed for adults and passes out radiation limits ONLY designed for adults not children? Today, machines often have settings only for adults or adolescents no younger than 12, says the FDA’s Thalia Mills, a physicist. Under the proposal, manufacturers would have to include at least four children’s settings: newborn, 1-year-old, 5-year-old and 12-year-old. It seems that pediatricians are praising this new proposal…… Of course they want to protect the lives of their patients.
Although medical imaging is generally safe, and can even be life-saving, doctors have become increasingly concerned in recent years about the potential risk of cancer from the procedures, especially in children.
An influential set of studies in 2009, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that CT scans deliver far more radiation than previously believed, and may contribute to 29,000 new cancers each year, along with 14,500 deaths. These scans have grown in popularity as their clarity has improved and doctors have found new uses for them. One in 10 Americans now undergo a CT scan each year.
The other concern is giving children x-rays when they don’t even need them or in place of other tests that don’t emit and harmful radiation. Children are in the most danger because their rapidly growing tissues are more sensitive to radiation. Also, they have more time ahead of them for radiation-triggered cancers to develop.
One recent study from 2011 concluded the average child will receive more than seven radiation-emitting scans by age 18. The study found that X-rays of the chest, hand and foot are the most common. Forty-two percent of children had at least one radiation procedure and 25 percent had two or more during the three-year study period. Dental X-rays were not included in the study.
And while pediatric hospitals routinely adjust scanner doses for youngsters’ smaller sizes, 90 percent of child imaging is performed in general hospitals — and the FDA said no one knows how many make those adjustments.
Do you think this needs to be regulated or is the FDA going overboard on this?