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Are Metal Detectors Dangerous?

Last Updated On September 2nd, 2016

Whether you are going through a metal detector for security purposes at the airport or are planning to purchase a metal detector of your own in the hopes of using it to discover long forgotten buried treasure, you may be wondering whether or not metal detectors are dangerous. Fortunately, you’ll find the answer to this question below. From children and pregnant women to individuals with individuals with various health conditions, here’s the truth about the potential dangers of metal detectors.

Do Metal Detectors Emit Radiation?

In order to scan for metal objects, metal detectors rely on a low-frequency magnetic field, which does produce an electromagnetic field. While it is true that metal detectors do emit some radiation, a single scan only produces about one-tenth of the radiation exposure we are exposed to every single day through naturally occurring radiation, such as uranium, potassium, and thorium that are often found in industrial waste[1].

How do Metal Detectors Affect Children and Pregnant Women?

Currently, there is no evidence that suggest metal detectors are anything but safe for women who are expecting, as well as for children of all ages. Again, there is a minimal amount of radiation emitted, but the level is so low that it is considered safe for both developing fetuses, as well as newborns, infants, and beyond. This applies to both metal detectors that you walk through and metal detecting wands that may be passed over different parts of the body.

What Health Related Devices Can Interfere with a Metal Detector?

If you have ever had a medical device implanted, it is only natural to be concerned about how a metal detector could potentially inhibit the device and/ or put your health in jeopardy. For instance, there tends to be a lot of questions about pacemakers. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is highly unlikely for a metal detector to trigger any significant health symptoms in most patients with a pacemaker or some other type of implantable defibrillators. That being said, you shouldn’t lean against the detector or stay near the detector for any more time than is absolutely necessary.

In addition, individuals with cochlear implants usually have no problem when passing through or using a metal detector. In some instances, they may hear a somewhat distorted sound caused by the magnetic fields, but this doesn’t mean someone is in danger.

Are Metal Detectors Dangerous for Anyone with Surgical Pins?

Decades ago this would have potentially been a problem that has the potential to be dangerous. Today, this is no longer the case because most pins, screws, plates, and even discs are made from a material that does not interfere with the metal detector’s detecting abilities. That being said, if you had a procedure done more than a decade ago, you should contact your GP to determine if going through or using a metal detector could possibly cause problems.

The truth is that there is no reason to worry that metal detectors could be dangerous because plenty of research has determined they are not.

Also see: Are Metal Detectors Allowed in National Parks?

One Response

  1. Hello where we work we sit beside a metal detector that product goes through for 8 hour periods. Is that kind of exposure dangerous we have people complaining of headaches and 1 person a numb hand.
    Thanks
    Tom

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