[ RadSafe ] Dental X-Ray Protocols

Cowie, Michael I michael.cowie at aramco.com
Fri Dec 16 22:58:26 CST 2011

Anyone aware if a critical review of the claims made in the below article and associated references has been carried out?


Unrecognized Cancer Risks of Dental Radiation

CHICAGO, IL, November 9, 2011 -/WORLD-WIRE/- The well-documented evidence on the radiation dangers of premenopausal mammography are persuasive, although belatedly recognized. In striking contrast, the evidence on the dangers of routine and highly profitable dental radiation, particularly in children, are still virtually unrecognized, warns the Cancer Prevention Coalition.

However, these concerns are not new, says Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. He points to a 2001 report by Dr. John Gofman, a leading international authority on the dangers of radiation, which published well-documented evidence on the cancer risks of “low dose medical X-rays,” especially to children.

A July 2006 publication by Dr. Ruth Kleinerman in Pediatric Oncology, “Cancer Risks Following Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiation Exposure in Children,” warned that the most radiosensitive organ in children is the thyroid gland.

This report also noted that “Although thyroid cancer is rare, 6 other large studies had previously confirmed its relationship with prior radiation for treatment of enlarged tonsils or other head, face, or neck concerns.”

Dr. Epstein cites a report in the June 2010 MailOnline newspaper published in the U.K., which warned that “Ten dental x-rays raise cancer risks – by at least ten times.” This article cautioned that “X-rays should not be given at checkups or when registering new patients, despite these practices being common in many dental surgeries.

The MailOnline report also cited a 2010 collaborative study between the U.K. National Health Service and the universities of Brighton and Sussex which reported that “multiple exposures to dental X-rays may be associated with increased risks of developing thyroid cancer – particularly in children and adolescents.”

The report further noted that these findings were consistent with previous warnings of increased risks of thyroid cancer in dentists and dental assistants.

Dr. Epstein finds further evidence in a November 22, 2010 New York Times article, “Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’
Chairs,” which warned against risks of radiation from a new scanning device, known as a cone-beam CT scanner.

Cone-beam CT scanners are continually generating x-ray images, while rotating around the patient. They emit much higher levels of radiation than do conventional dental x-rays.

“Not surprisingly,” says Dr. Epstein, “the incidence of thyroid cancer has escalated by 168% since 1975. The past and continuing practice of routine dental radiation, especially in children, is flagrant malpractice, if not criminal.”

Dr. Epstein quotes Ralph Nader, who urged at 1979 hearings on the Corporate Criminal Liability Act by the Crime Sub-Committee of the House Judiciary Committee, “Jail for crime in the streets, but bail for crime in the suites.”

Scientific References

1. Ron, E, et al. Thyroid Neoplasia (cancer) Following Low Dose Radiation in Childhood. Radiation Research 120:516-531, 1989.

2. Cardis, E. Risk of Thyroid Cancer After Exposure to I131
(radiation) in Childhood. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97:724-732, 2005.

3. Shore, R. Issues and Epidemiological Evidence Regarding Radiation-Induced Thyroid Cancer. Radiation Research 131, 98-111, 1992.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; and former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. His awards include the
1998 Right Livelihood Award and the 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention. He is the author of over 270 scientific articles and 20 books on the causes and prevention of cancer, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1979, Doubleday Books), Healthy Beauty (2010, BenBella Books) and National Cancer Institute And American Cancer
Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest (2011, Xlibris Publishing).

To read Dr. Epstein’s columns in the Huffington Post, go to:



Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.

Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition

Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

Chicago, Illinois

Tel: 312-996-2297

Email: epstein at uic.edu <javascript:location.href=>



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