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I3A Tests Uncover Damage to Medical Film Products by Cargo X-Ray Scanners, Leading to Public Health Concerns

Dépèche transmise le 29 mars 2011 par Business Wire

I3A Tests Uncover Damage to Medical Film Products by Cargo X-Ray Scanners, Leading to Public Health Concerns

I3A Tests Uncover Damage to Medical Film Products by Cargo X-Ray Scanners, Leading to Public Health Concerns

WAKEFIELD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--I3A (the International Imaging Industry Association; http://www.i3a.org), the leading global association for the imaging industry, today announced the results of its investigation into damage to imaging materials entering the United States as cargo, caused by high-energy X-ray equipment. Such damage could present a significant public health concern, if X-ray film has received detrimental radiation damage prior to its use by a physician.

“I3A and our ITIP committee have worked for years to ensure the safe transit of imaging materials, as an important part of our public mission”

The tests were carried out and their outcomes evaluated by the members of I3A's Integrity in Transportation of Imaging Products (ITIP) committee. ITIP has published details of the complex test procedures and results, with illustrations of the equipment and testing setup, as well as a position paper with a set of recommendations for preventing the risks to public health from damage to medical imaging products, both by X-ray scanners presently in use and by any new equipment put into service in the future. The documents are available at no charge from http://www.i3a.org/technologies/advocacy/itip-2/.

"I3A and our ITIP committee have worked for years to ensure the safe transit of imaging materials, as an important part of our public mission," said I3A President Lisa Walker. "For consumers, we focused on recommendations about how to keep their precious photo memories safe; now that we have uncovered risks to public safety from damages to medical products, we will work with government agencies toward the adoption of our recommendations to eliminate damage and improve the results of cargo scanning."

The tests were conducted following reports by I3A member companies to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that recent upgrades to the CBP inspection equipment resulted in damage to sensitized imaging materials. I3A obtained approval from the Department of Homeland Security/CBP to carry out testing on imaging materials to determine the level of damage caused by exposure to various new models of cargo X-ray equipment. Imaging materials tested included camera, printed circuit board, motion picture, and medical/dental films.

The tests showed that one type of X-ray equipment now in use in the United States is likely to cause damage to imaging materials, medical and dental film products in particular. Such damage leads to public health issues, as follows.

  • There is no practical means of determining, without using or developing film, whether it has been X-rayed and damaged
  • Thus, the clinician is the first to notice any damage, but it is only after the film has been used -- the time when a medical image is needed most -- or even after the patient has left the location
  • This situation could result in repeated radiation exposures to the patient to capture a usable image, could prevent an accurate diagnosis, or, in the worst case, could result in a misdiagnosis

While some of the equipment had little effect on film in the ITIP tests, the strongest device, as noted above, damaged many types of film after several passes. ITIP was able to identify a threshold radiation dose that should not be exceeded for film. It is of additional concern that, though the equipment recently tested did not exceed this threshold in a single pass, equipment already deployed elsewhere in the world does exceed it, and this equipment is responsible for significant damage to medical film. The committee further noted that even stronger scanners are being put into use in the United States and elsewhere, which will seriously increase the instances of damage and the resulting public health issues.

To lessen the problem, ITIP proposes that the CBP consider amending the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Performance Standard to measure and include more cargo X-ray dosage data, to give equipment manufacturers some incentive to keep the cargo dose as low as possible, while still providing a high level of security, and to update the existing federal regulations that protect airplane passengers' film to include a means for protecting medical and industrial films and other film products. Details of the recommendations are available in the ITIP position paper.

The models of X-ray equipment tested by ITIP were:

1. Pallet Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) manufactured by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which uses 1 Ci Cobalt-60 source (1.25 MeV)

2. Mobile Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) manufactured by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which uses 1 Ci Cobalt-60 source (1.25 MeV)

3. Omniview Gantry system (6 MeV) manufactured by American Science & Engineering

4. Mobile Heimann Cargo Vision (HCV) system (3.8 MeV) manufactured by Smiths Detection

About the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A)

I3A's vision is to enable the use of imaging to simplify and enrich people's lives through visual experiences that connect generations, communities, information and services. I3A drives the global imaging ecosystem toward this vision by bringing members together to create standards and collaborate on initiatives that advance shared interests, foster growth, and open pathways to new markets.

Information about I3A can be found at http://www.i3a.org or by phone at +1 914-285-4933. For information on joining I3A, please write or call Noel Mareno, noelm@i3a.org, +1 214-244-1927.

To view this release in a sharing context, go to http://pitch.pe/135699

Business Wire

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