Dentists warned over cheap X-ray machine amid fears it could deliver 10 times too much radiation
Devices manufactured in China don't contain enough lead to protect patients and dentistsOne UK-based dental practice purchased one of the dangerous machines, and 'several' others have expressed interest in buying one
17:19 GMT, 3 December 2012
Dentists have been warned not to buy a hand held X-ray machine which exposes patients to 10 times the recommended dose of radiation.
The cheap imported devices could also pose a significant risk to dentists and dental nurses, health officials said.
The Tianjie Dental Falcon scanners can be purchased on eBay for as little as 205, compared with around 4,000 for a safe model.
The Tianjie Dental Falcon scanners are not approved and not safe for dentists or patients
It is produced by Zhengzhou Tianjie Electronic Equipment Co in China.
Officials have confirmed that one UK-based dental practice purchased one of the dangerous machines, and “several” others have expressed interest in buying one.
Any dental practices that have purchased the machines have been urged to contact the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Bruce Petrie, of the MHRA’s medical devices enforcement team, said: 'It’s vital that dentists and dental staff do not buy these dental X-ray machines from eBay or other websites because they are not approved and not safe for dentists or patients.
'We have seized 13 of these X-ray machines from the distributor and we are working with eBay and other governments to ensure dentists and patients are protected. We urge anyone who has bought one of these machines to contact us.'
Emergency testing of the device by the Health Protection Agency and
scientists at King's College Hospital in London revealed that it has
insufficient lead shielding inside it to protect dentists and patients
from excessive radiation.
What a typical dental X-ray should look like – cheap imported devices could expose patients to 10 times suggested levels of radiation
Clinical evaluator Donald Emerton, who examined the seized devices at King’s College Hospital, added: 'When we tested the X-ray machine, we found it did not properly protect either a potential patient, nor the person operating it.
'Over time someone operating this machine, such as a dental assistant, would be exposed to unacceptable levels of accumulated radiation and this would have an increased risk to their health. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to use this piece of equipment to take an X-ray of me.'
Barry Cockcroft, chief dental officer
for England and the Government’s principal dental adviser, added: 'It
is vitally important that when buying equipment, dentists make sure it
is appropriate and safe for use.
would urge all dental professionals to be cautious of seemingly cheap
devices which may not be fit for purpose and potentially dangerous.'