NPR : News

Filed Under:

FDA Leans On Device Makers To Cut X-Ray Doses For Kids

The Food and Drug Administration has a proposition for the companies that make X-ray machines.

Make sure your new equipment has settings and instructions that minimize radiation hazards for kids, or the agency will look to slap a label on the machines that recommends they not be used for children at all.

The agency proposed the approach today (details in the Federal Register); it's the latest move to curb radiation hazards from imaging equipment.

X-rays and CT scans can provide doctors with lots of useful information. But the radiation that creates the helpful images also increases a person's risk for cancer. There's been an explosion in the use of imaging tests. And rising radiation doses, particularly from CT scans, have drawn concern.

The cancer risk increases with the dose of X-rays received during a person's lifetime, so kids' exposure is particularly important. It's also the case that children are more sensitive to X-ray damage.

The FDA is also telling parents to speak up. If a doctor orders a test or procedure that uses X-rays, parents shouldn't be afraid to ask if it's really necessary. Also, it doesn't hurt to ask if there's an acceptable alternative, such as ultrasound or MRI, that doesn't rely on X-rays.

Even so, the agency doesn't want people to forgo needed X-rays. "The risk from a medically necessary imaging exam is quite small when compared to the benefit of accurate diagnosis or intervention," Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, head of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement. "There is no reason for patients who need these exams to avoid them."

The agency scheduled a public meeting in July to talk about the proposal.

The Medical Imaging & Techonology Alliance, a trade group, said it looks forward to commenting on the FDA's proposal and working with the agency.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Aug. 28, 2015

This weekend you can pay tribute to the late King of Pop or attend the last Jazz in the Garden performance of the summer.
NPR

How Brewers Are Churning Out Tangy Sours Without The Hefty Price Tag

Sour beers are made by deliberately adding microbes to create complex brews with a crisp, acidic taste. But that process takes lots of time and money, resulting in a pricey final product. Until now.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - August 28, 2015

We chat with D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier about the city's strategy to combat the spike in violent crime taking place in the nation's capital.

NPR

CEO Of Cheating Website Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman, Has Stepped Down

The parent company, Avid Life Media, has been reeling since hackers released information on 33 million of its customers. The company did not immediately appoint a new CEO.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.