Physicist Association Calls Radiation Fears "Alarmist Speculation"

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The American Association of Physicists in Medicine issued a statement this week saying radiation harm from typical imaging devices virtually doesn’t exist.

“Risks of medical imaging at effective doses below 50 miliSeverts (mSv) for single procedures or 100 mSv for multiple procedures over short time periods are too low to be detectable and may be nonexistent,” the statement reads.

AAPM called for balance among the risks of imaging and the benefits of that procedure. It called speculation about the risk of low-dose radiation exposure “alarmist and sensational” that could cause patients to refuse life-saving medical tests.

The US Department of Energy estimates the radiation dose per mammogram image at 1.4 mSv, CT dosage typically as high as 10 mSv with MRI and PET scans far less.

The association’s statement comes at a time of heightened awareness to the long-term risk of radiation exposure though few studies have examined the direct effects.