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Mike asked the Naked Scientists: Chris, I needed 6 x-rays of my chest and lower back/hips for a pre-employment health screen. The place they sent me to took 10 before I said no more. They said they couldn't seem to get what they wanted on them ("you have long lungs"-hmm, that's a new one) and that one was not dark enough. My question to you is as follows: should I feel as outraged as I do about this? That seems to me to be way over the line considering that at least 4 of them were screw-ups and if I hadn't told them to stop, I'm not sure how many more they would have given me. I know she wanted more because she said so. "Hey, this is for a pre-screen for a job, so, you're only hurting yourself." Both of the quotes are just that, quotes. Was this safe, reckless, or something in-between? Thank you, Mike What do you think?
Diagnostic X-rays are our second largest source of whole body exposure. A dental X-ray gives us about 1 mrem, and a chest X-ray gives us about 6 mrem, but nearly all other X-rays give far higher exposures: pelvis, 90 mrem; abdomen, 150 mrem; spine, 400 mrem; barium enema, 800 mrem. Often a series of X-rays is taken, giving total exposures of several thousand millirems. The average American gets about 80 mrem per year from this source,[...]for each millirem of radiation we receive, our risk of dying from cancer is increased by about 1 chance in 4 million.