How Safe Are Metal Detectors?
If you want to get into metal detecting you be be wondering if they are safe to use and whether or not they emit any radiation?
A metal detector is safe to use and most detectors give of a non-ionizing radiation and this won’t cause you harm.
The metal detector machines in airports use millimeter wave machines and these use a non-ionizing radiofrequency waves. These are what detect any threats.
Waves that are emitted by these machines send off far less energy than your smartphone so you should feel happier about airport security metal detectors!
Is There A Radiation Risk With Airport Scanners?
Understandably some people can be worried about the risk of radiation when passing through an airport security gate but just what is the risk?
The British Institute of Radiology and the Royal College of Radiologists looked into this and recently issued a report.
The does found during an airport scan was shown to be 100,000 times lower than the average annual dosage we get of radiation from natural background radiation.
Consultant Radiologist, Dr Peter Riley claimed that the risk was tiny. Whilst he wouldn’t say there is zero risk because perhaps two or three people out of everybody who flys each year may be at risk.
Though this isn’t enough to put most people off flying.
He went onto say that when you’re flying on the plane at 35,000ft, you receive around 5 microsieverts per hour.
To put that into some perspective, that’s around 100 times more than what you are subjected to at the airport scan.
So even if you were scanned two or three times at every examination, you would most likely only receive the same amount of radiation as you do in one hour in natural circumstances.
Naturally people can be more cautious when they are pregenant, if that’s you, be sure to check out this!
Will A Metal Detector Affect Baby Bottles, Food Or Other Items?
As we have established, the radition levels given off by airport security scanners is tiny.
This means that items passing through are safe. The only exception to this is certain types of camara films as they can be darkened.
Are Metal Detectors Safe For People With Pacemakers?
If you’re considering getting yourself a metal detector to use as a hobby (do it, they’re great fun!), then you might be wondering if it’s safe if you have a pacemaker, so let’s find out!
The good news is that there has been no evidence that hobby metal detectors interfere with pacemakers or, in fact, other electronic medical devices.
Equally, they haven’t been shown to lead to any other adverse health conditions.
A hobby metal detector does give off a magnetic field, which is obviously has to in order to find things. However, this field is much weaker than the geomagnetic field that surrounds us.
It’s also much weaker than any electromagnetic radio waves we are subjected to. This can be through CB Radios, mobile phones, radio transmitters or similar items.
We’ve touched upon security scanners at airports, hobby metal detectors even give off less of a magnetic field than these too.
A lot of people walk through airport security gates every year so extensive research has been carried out regarding the safety of them and the impact of them on pacemakers.
I will say that over the years, there has been one or two instances where a brief malfunction has occurred but there was no serious harm.
So whilst nobody can say without certainty that these metal detector scanners are 100% safe, you will see safety notices before walking through them and those with pacemakers may be searched by hand instead.
Manufacturers of pacemakers are always aiming to design them to be as resistant to electromagnetic fields as possible.
Naturally, they are concerned about people walking through security scanners and what the impact will be. Pacemakers must be FDA approved so you can be sure that they’ve faced safety checks.
What we do know is that the magnetic field of a hobby metal detector is concentrated within a few inches of the coil so it is quite a way from where the pacemaker is located.
Some people claim that a pacemaker would work, even if this coil was brought directly up to the pacemaker (please don’t test this.). Even if there was a slight malfunction, is it said to be minimal and would cease once the coil was taken away from the pacemaker.
Metal Detecting Tips
Check Out Dodgy Signals
It can be tempting to move on when the sound you’re hearing doesn’t sound all that encouraging and perhaps not worth your time.
This might not be the case!
In some instances, those dodgy signals can prove to be something worthwhile and some of your best finds!
My advice? If you’ve got the time, dig ‘em up.
Take Additional Batteries
There’s nothing worse than getting into the day and enjoying your hunt, only for it to be cut short because your batteries have died.
It may seem obvious, but always try to carry a spare set of batteries.
The batteries you have in your kit will run out at some point, that’s a fact. Make sure you’re prepared for when they do!
Have A Spare
This might not be possible for everybody and not something you will want to do if you’re just getting into metal detecting but could be useful in the future!
We all know that you need permission to use your metal detector in most places. If you have to personally ask the owner of the land if you can go onto it, take a spare metal detector and ask them to join you.
They may not, but they’re more likely to agree to you being there if you’ve offered. If they join you, you might gain an extra buddy. It’s a win-win situation!
No Site Is Ever “Hunted-Out”
It can be easy to think that you’ve found everything there is to be found on a site.
If you’ve had some good finds on a site, don’t be too quick to rule it out, there is likely to be more treasure to find.
Change up the settings of your metal detector and go back round again, you might be surprised at what you find!
Never Forget Your Toolbox
Maybe you’re just a planning a short trip out and you don’t think you need to bring your whole kit.
Having everything to hand is always worthwhile. You don’t want to wish you’d brought something along when it’s too late.
Have it all packed and easy to go.
Rescan And Re-dig
When you’ve found one item, you shouldn’t stop there.
Much like buses, you’re waiting for one and several come along all at once. You find one piece of treasure, more is bound to be around!
Spend your time searching the area and even dig a little deeper.
If you have a pinpointer, use it!
Pick Up A Frisbee
Trust me on this one!
We all know that you should fill up the hole you’ve dug up. Leave the ground how you found it is incredibly important.
Some people will use some fabric or a piece of paper to put the dirt onto as they’re digging so it can be put back in when they’ve finished.
What I’ve found works really well is a frisbee. Turn it over and pop the dirt in there. It’s sturdy, washable and can be used time and time again!
Head Out After The Rain
After it has been raining, don’t be afraid to grab your detector and head on out.
Going out when the ground is still wet is a great time.
It’s easier to dig when the ground is wet and you usually find that wet ground provides better conductivity so you can reach deeper treasure that you would miss when it’s dry ground.
There we have it, metal detectors do give off a degree of radiation but it is tiny and for the majority of people, it will be harmless.
You encounter greater radiation levels when you’re using your mobile phone than when you walk through a metal detector at an airport. That’s good to know!
We’ve also learnt that there is no evidence that it is dangerous for those with pacemakers to use metal detectors.
So for those wanting a new hobby, metal detecting is still a safe option and it’s a fun one!
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered!
What do you want to find?