Apart from social distancing and wearing face masks, temperature checks are also part of the SOP that’s required at all commercial premises. Unfortunately, it appears that some individuals have been spreading misinformation claiming that infrared thermometers can cause cancer and even brain damage.
A video has been circulating online claiming that the contactless thermometers are not meant to be pointed to the head because it shoots lasers. It also alleged that infrared is dangerous and frequent use can cause cancer.
Dr Shazwan Sazali who was retweeted by the Ministry of Health has rebuked the claims made in the video. He added that the non-contact infrared thermometers (NCIT) are beneficial to get instant temperature readings while reducing the spread of disease as there’s no physical contact required.
Quoting researcher Feng Luzhao from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, IR thermometers work by receiving thermal radiation emitted by the body and not vice versa. In short, the thermometers do not emit any form of harmful radiation that could put your health at risk.
Dr Shazwan also urged the public not to create or share videos that would cause confusion. The National Metrology Institute of Malaysia has also debunked the false claims and explained that IR thermometers detect infrared rays at a wavelength 8 to 14 micrometer and converts that to temperature reading.
A few days ago, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Noor Azmi Ghazali had also refuted claims that the usage of infrared thermometers will have an adverse impact on the brain especially when it is pointed to the forehead. He said thermometers that are currently being used have been approved by the Malaysia Medical Device Authority (MDA) and were safe to be used on human foreheads or ears.