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Author Topic: Shipped eggs and x-rays  (Read 3227 times)
woodenegg
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« on: May 22, 2006, 01:15:35 PM »

I thought some discussion about what is known regarding this subject would be helpful to all.  I am the Radiation Safety Officer for the State of Alaska, so I do have some background in the subject.  Just for interest sake, I did a quick google search to get a feel for what the postal x-ray machines put out.  The information I read indicated that the post offices have low intensity x-ray machines.  I would guess the dose from these would have only minor if any effects on eggs.  The concern is with the high intensity x-ray machines used at airports now.  If the shipped eggs will end up on a passenger flight (as is often the case coming to Alaska), they will be processed through these x-ray machines.  If a "DO NOT X-RAY, HATCHING EGGS" sticker is present, they may or may not x-ray, but it is the only defense we have, and they do honor those, though they may open the box to verify.  Since the embryo in these eggs is comprised of only a few cells, the death of any could have serious consequences.

While there hasn't been a lot of studies done on shipped birds eggs, I did read some hospital guidelines regarding x-rays and women of child bearing years.  Most x-rays used in medical studies are low level to reduce the chance of cellular damage.  I have included a couple of quotes with URLs if you wish to read more.  The bottom line--, there is the possibility that shipping, especially when the package will travel through the passenger system, could be x-rayed to the extent damage is done.

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/support/technical/xrays_airport.jhtml
We understand that express air package shipping services such as Airborne, DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc may employ passenger airlines... Goods shipped as freight on passenger airlines are subject to high-intensity x-ray scanning. It is recommended that film shipped as unaccompanied freight is labeled "DO NOT X-RAY. IF X-RAY IS MANDATORY, DO NOT SHIP / DO NOT X-RAY / CONTACT SENDER URGENTLY: (details)".

http://www.kem.edu/dept/radiology/Info2.htm
Guidelines for Radiation protection in Pregnancy :
The majority of practicing physicians, at some time in their career, will be faced with a patient who has discovered in retrospect that she was pregnant at a time when extensive x-ray procedures were performed that involved the pelvis or lower abdomen. To make matters worse, as likely as not, the dose will have been delivered during early postconception weeks, because it is unlikely that a pregnancy would remain unsuspected beyond that time and this is the period in which the most disastrous consequences may result from absorption of a given dose of radiation.
Russell, in 1986, introduced the 'ten day rule' to prevent untoward effects of radiation in pregnancy. The 'ten day rule' states that radiological procedures in women of child bearing age that involve the abdomen or pelvis should only be carried out during first 10 days after a menstrual period of normal duration and intensity. This rule means that x-ray procedures on fertile women who present during the later half of the menstrual cycle should be deferred and an appointment made for after the start of the menstrual cycle to avoid the risk of irradiating an unsuspected concepts. Procedures to be confined to this 'safe' period include most nuclear medicine examinations and radiography or fluoroscopy of the abdomen, hip, lumbosacral spine etc.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2006, 01:17:52 PM by woodenegg » Logged
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