Naïve or Stupid…you call it.

I was coming home from San Diego where I attended the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry annual conference.  I didn’t go to learn, rather I went to recruit Pediatric Dentists to work at the DVI, free children’s clinic in Jerusalem.

I couldn’t resist, so I did attend one lecture.  It was about how to minimize radiation to patients.  Believe it or not, most Dentists are (or should be) concerned about minimizing “life-time” radiation.  the lecturer spoke about digital vs. film and protection such as Thyroid collars.  It was a confirmation of everything we currently do in our office.

Fast forward to the Airport.  We enter the security line and my wife, Laurie is asked to go through a “back-scatter, X-ray detector.  I was not.  Wisely, Laurie refused.  She knows that the effect of radiation is cumulative and one never knows when they’ll need to have diagnostic radiation, so minimizing it, is always a smart thing.

Unlike our previous such encounters with the TSA, a pleasant woman came forth to do a body search on Laurie.  She cordially asked why she chose not to go through the scanner.  After all, she said, “It’s a safe x-ray”.  In fact, we observed a pregnant woman go through several people in front of us, before we could stop her as we have previously done.

Safe X-rays?  Who’s kidding whom?  There’s no such thing.  The thought of people, like those in the TSA, utilizing dangerous equipment without the appropriate knowledge is scary, to say the least.

When an employee is hired in my office, in order to emphasize the impact of radiation such as X-rays, I use the following analogy.  Taking an x-ray is just like using a scalpel.  The only difference is that with a scalpel you see the cut immediately because of the blood and with an x-ray, the cut is made with radiation and you won’t see the damage for years.  Ionizing radiation, of which x-rays is an example are dangerous.  We’re exposed to them all the time.  Our sun produces them, so do our microwaves.  You can’t avoid them…but you can avoid them in the airport and at the Dentist office.  So, please be careful.  Ask questions.  Make sure you know all the facts and if a technician or a TSA agent can’t answer your questions… JUST SAY NO.

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