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An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine today reports a link between computed tomography (CT) scans and an increased risk of cancer. The article claims that the increasingly popular scans are bombarding patients with radiation each and every time one of these scans is preformed. There is a particular concern for children who are receiving CT scans to diagnose medical problems.

It used to be widely believed that all radiological examinations were essentially harmless, because of the small amounts of radiation involved, but Drs. Brenner and Hall show that this is unlikely to be true for CT scans. In particular, Japanese atomic bomb survivors who were about two miles away from the explosions, actually received radiation doses quite similar to those from a CT scan.

Over 62 million CT scans were preformed in the U.S. last year alone. More than 4 million of these were done on children. Experts are estimating that within 10 years over two percent of cancers could be caused by these scans. Studies have shown that nearly one third of all diagnostic tests are unnecessary. If these studies are accurate one could make the argument that we are putting over a million children each year in unneeded peril.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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