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The Disadvantages of Radiography

Updated February 21, 2017

Radiography is the practice of using radiation to take images of the internal body for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment. X-rays are analysed and used to detect illness in the skeletal system. Radiography can also detect disease in the soft tissues of the body. While there are benefits and advantages to radiography, there are three main disadvantages to the frequently used procedure. Certain cancers, reproductive health problems, allergic reactions to Barium and frequent exposure in radiologic technicians and radiologic technologists, are the main disadvantages.

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The main disadvantage with radiology is that it utilises radiation. Radiation exposure can cause cancer and other health issues. A proven carcinogen, ionic radiation is the high-frequency form of radiation. According to an article in Applied Industrial Hygiene, even chemicals used to develop x-ray films can be hazardous. According to the American Cancer Society, radiation has been linked to thyroid cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer, multiple myeloma and breast cancer.


Barium, a chemical used in x-ray diagnostic work, can cause harm to a person undergoing radiography testing. Used as a sulphate, the metallic substance is injected into the body where certain types of X-rays will be taken. Barium is used in the same form for radiography, as it is used in paint and glass making. According Los Alamos National Laboratory's Chemistry Division website, barium can cause anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that can lead to coma or death.

Reproductive Health

Radiography has been linked to sterility. According to an abstract on a study published by the United States National Library of Medicine, male radiographers were significantly at a higher risk for reproductive health problems. A higher rate of miscarriages were reported among women who partnered with the male radiographers in the study. Still births, congenital anomalies and infertility were also higher among the radiographer group.

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About the Author

Ekaete Bailey began writing professionally in 2005. She has experience in journalism, copyediting, Web content, marketing, creative writing and public relations/communications, with an emphasis in travel writing. Bailey writes for a variety of print and online publications. She earned a Master of Science in public-relations management from State University of New York College at Buffalo.

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