Kochi: People who go for a CT scan or x-ray at hospitals and diagnostic centres in Kerala may be atserious radiation risk as many medical institutions in the state use junk X-ray tubes and CT scan machines that are discarded by Europe and the US.
Radiation devices,mainly X-ray tubes,whose fiveyear life term has expired,are being imported to Kerala in large numbersfrom theUS and Europe.Such devices cause serious health hazards.
We have alerted theAtomic Energy Regulatory Board about the import of poor quality radiation devices and itisup totheboardtotake a final call on permitting import of such devices, a senior official in the state health and family welfare department,who requested anonymity,said.
Following expert advice,the state government has decided to set up a Directorate of Radiation Safety (DRS ) to conduct quality check on all radiation devices used in hospitals and other institutions.This is the first time that such a body is being set up in the country.
Preliminary probes have revealed that the majority of imported devices are banned in the US and Europe due to high radiation risk, the official said.
According to data available with the state government,there are 2,500 centres in the state,which use over 6,000 radiation devices,including dental Xray,for diagnostic purposes.The government has decided to act on its own to check the quality of the radiation devices.In another two months time,the state will have DRS to check the quality and radiation level of the devices installed at all diagnostic centres and hospitals in the state, said DRS director-designate K A Davis.
Currently,a few private agencies are conducting quality checkof radiation devices.But they enter into an unholy nexus with diagnostic centres to issue certificates.The DRS will conduct a mandatory periodic quality check of the devices at all hospitals and diagnostic centres.Above all,centres planning to install new devices should get it approved from the DRS after a spot inspection, Davis explained.
SCANNING FOR TROUBLE
Over exposure to X-ray radiation will cause swelling that turns into blisters In extreme cases,skin grafts or amputation may be required Radiation will cause sterility in both men and women Exposure of pregnant women to radiation will cause congenital deformity to foetus Exposure to X-ray radiation increases risk of cancer