Radiating a health scare

Cancer is very scary.

But, should the State of Texas really be playing on our worst fears to justify the work of bureaucrats?

The Texas Department of Health Services is now trying to defend the controversial practice of surprise inspections of dentist office x-ray machines, even if it means interrupting you while you are getting your teeth pulled.

Sure, there are some reports that repeated use of dental x-rays can increase the chance of getting brain cancer, but we all know we get as much radiation during a plane flight. We want to know if all the millions we spend every year investigation radiation is justified.

At a recent hearing in Austin, Radiation Control Supervisor Joann Harthcock claimed state inspectors had found people that have had overexposure at some Texas Dentist’s Offices. When pressed, she admitted she couldn’t identify any.

We know why.

Dolcefino Consulting has looked at 5 years of inspection records and there isn’t a single case of a dentist zapping anyone with more radiation than is supposed to be used. Not one.

Dozens of dentists, chiropractors and doctors have complained the practice of inspectors just showing up without notice is simple unfair. If you were in the chair when it happened, I bet you’d be mad too.

“Since I got into the business in 1974, I have seen doses to patients cut in half three times. We’re approaching one-eighth of the exposure that we were using when I first got into the x-ray business,” said Bob Schaer, President of RSI, a company helping keep dental x-ray machines safe.

Schaer has become a “boogeyman” of sorts to the State Radiation Inspection Office. He’s facing thousands of dollars in fines for supposedly telling dentists to refuse the unannounced inspections, but the chorus of complaints is growing louder about the interruptions. The state has 58 letters already from dentists, vets, chiropractors and doctors who say there’s no safety danger at all justifying a surprise inspection.

Dentists are loudly complaining this isn’t about safety at all, but about the money the State can make on the paperwork violations they can catch when they show up without notice. In 2017, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services made nearly $600,000 in fines, but that still comes nowhere close to paying for the $9 million-dollar budget.

You got to love government. Once they start something it never seems to end. They always like to justify the money they spend on the need to keep us safe. Taxpayers know better.

Here’s our advice to inspectors. Make an appointment to see the dentist like the rest of us do!

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