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FDA Suppressed Imaging Safety Concerns

Dr. Julian Nicholas, a former Food and Drug Administration scientist, said his job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning.

Dr. Nicholas said at a public hearing that he and other FDA staffers "were pressured to change their scientific opinion," after they opposed the approval of a CT scanner for routine colon cancer screening. Nicholas said that he objected to exposing otherwise healthy patients to the cancer risks of radiation.

The allegations about suppression of scientific dissent come at an inopportune time for the agency. The FDA recently announced an effort to improve scanning safety after three California hospitals reported hundreds of acute radiation overdoses last year.

The average American's radiation exposure has nearly doubled in the last three decades, largely due to CT tests.

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