UK & World News
X-Ray Devices Sold On Ebay 'May Be Lethal'
An urgent warning has been issued to dentists about a potentially lethal hand-held X-ray scanner sold on eBay.
The Tianjie Dental Falcon machine could expose users and patients to 10 times the normal level of radiation, increasing the risks of cancer and organ damage, the warning has said.
At least one UK dental surgery has been found using the Chinese-made device.
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now urged NHS and private dentists to dispose of the machines.
The MHRA said it had found potentially thousands of the cheap imported devices being sold on internet sites such as eBay for as little as £200 to £300 - 13 have been seized at a distribution centre.
Approved dental X-ray equipment, which can be either static or hand-held, usually costs between £3,000 and £5,000.
After being seized, the machines' safety was tested at King's College Hospital.
Experts found that it has insufficient lead shielding inside it to protect dentists and patients from excessive radiation.
Its X-ray beam is also too wide, which means a patient's whole skull and brain is exposed to radiation rather than just their mouth.
King's College Hospital's clinical evaluator Donald Emerton said: "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."
A spokesman for eBay said the firm had removed 14 of the machines from its listings over the last year.
He added: "Keeping eBay safe is our top priority. Any X-ray machine which does not have a CE mark or is not considered safe by the regulator will be removed immediately.
"We co-operate fully with the regulator, holding regular discussions and providing them with a direct hotline to eBay."