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Stupid use of radiation

OK I have to confess I am not exactly radiophobic, I have been a radiation worker for years. Doing things like using X-ray diffraction equipment, electron microscopes, large sealed gamma sources and the occasional thing with an open source. Having done this work I think it is safe to say that I have lost most of the irrational fears which many people in modern society might have. For example not all radioisotopes are born equal, the rays from tritium or carbon-14 will not pass through the wall of a glass vial while the beta particles from phosphorus-32 and strontium-90 are very long ranged.

One of the ways which I reduce my radiation exposure is by modifying my behaviour, for example I do not loiter in high dose rate areas. If I am going to loiter, pause for thought, do paperwork or stare out the window I choose to do it in a low dose rate area. I take particular care with X-ray equipment, a two kilowatt copper anoded water-cooled X-ray tube can emit a lot of photons every second and can give you a nasty burn in seconds. I take care with such equipment as I have no wish to end up the same way as the glassblower Clarence Madison Dally.

While most medical X-ray equipment can not match a diffraction set in terms of dose per second, a medical X-ray set does emit radiation which can harm your health. While the radiation dose per diagnostic X-ray might be low for many things like a hand, arm or dental X-ray for some examinations such as a X-ray of the torso or a barium meal the dose is much higher.

Even some of these high dose examinations can be worthwhile, I hold the view that people should only get X-rayed when the medical benefits outweigh the risk of the radiation. Thus as a result I strongly condemn the use of X-ray machines to check the fit of a shoe, or for other silly purposes.

I am aware of two people in the entertainment industry who have misused X-ray technology and exposed themselves to radiation in the name of entertainment. One was Ryan Dunn who died recently in a drunken car crash, he put a toy car up his backside and then went to a doctor and got himself X-rayed as part of a jackass stunt. I thought at the time that it was a reckless use of radiation. I would have been tempted if I had been Dunn to fake that segment. It would have been easy, I would have borrowed a pelvic X-ray of a normal person from the doctor, I would have got the doctor to X-ray a toy car laying on the exam table. I would have then scanned both X-rays and photoshoped them together to make the X-ray for the film.

The other X-ray misuse case appears to involve a woman called Kim Kardashian who has had her backside (arse, butt, bottom) x-rayed just to prove that she has not had plastic surgery on it.

To be blunt with you, I have never heard of her before today and I do not care what shape her backside is. But I do care if she is a bad example to others by having her bottom X-rayed for vanity reasons. I also think that her doctor should be in trouble for some radiological crime. I think that he is allowing wealthy persons to expose themselves for what is in my view just “fun”. I think that if I wanted to prove if a woman’s bottom did not have a “butt implant” then I would consider using ultrasound equipment which is much safer. I would have to think about it and maybe do some calculations about the speed of sound in silicone implants. If anyone knows what is used in the butt implants then please do tell me via a comment. perhaps if a medical doctor is reading he might be able to tell me how easy it is to see implants with different types of scans.

If you want to read about her bottom and the X-ray then read

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43513767/ns/today-entertainment/

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2011/06/24/2011-06-24_kim_kardashian_xrays_butt_on_keeping_up_with_the_kardashians_to_prove_she_doesnt.html

If you want to read about the safe and correct use of X-rays in medicine then go and read the following four web pages

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095505.htm

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2008/xraysrepeat.html

https://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/RadiationProtection/index.html

https://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2010/guidanceprotect.html

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