DENVER (CBS4)– Children could be getting unnecessarily high levels of radiation when they undergo CT scans and X-Rays. The Food and Drug Administration is urging manufacturers to develop new scanners that are safer for children.

The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children has invested in a safer scanner. It’s touted as one of the most advanced CT scanners in the world. It’s considered safer, faster and more comfortable for kids.

The 320 Slice CT scanner is actually more user friendly to find out what’s wrong with the smallest patients.

Tatiana Medina has been diagnosed with a rare bone cancer and has had dozens of CT scans. That’s more than most people will have in a lifetime.

“We always worry that there could be a future risk of increased cancer,” said Tatina’s mom.

The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children purchased the scanner in 2009. It gives the right dose of radiation, but kid-sized.

“It’s safer because we’re using less radiation. It’s faster because one rotation can cover most of the body parts that we’re looking at,” said Pediatric Radiologist Dr. Lisa Neibergall.

The FDA is urging manufacturers to design all new scanners with children’s safety in mind. The concern is that a child’s tissues are more sensitive to radiation.

“Also children have a longer lifetime for the effects of such, as radiation-induced cancers, to develop and grow,” said Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Dr. Thalia Mills.

The FDA is calling on parents to do more to cut down on unnecessary radiation. The agency advises parents to ask why a test is needed and whether there are radiation-free alternatives. Doctors said hospitals in Denver are on board.

“Most hospitals are really trying to decrease the dose and find other ways to make it safer for the children,” said Neibergall.

Doctors believe radiation is a necessary tool as long as it’s not overused.

Alternatives to scanners could be MRIs or ultrasounds that don’t emit radiation.


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