FDA Warns That Thermal Imaging Systems Pose a Potential Danger to Public Health

Watertown/02472, Massachusetts, UNITED STATES

Research shows non-contact IR systems may provide dangerously inaccurate temperature readings to screen for fever, the #1 symptom of COVID-19

WATERTOWN, Mass., March 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that improper use of thermal imaging systems that measure human body temperature, also known as thermal cameras, may provide inaccurate and unreliable temperature readings. Additionally, the FDA issued Warning Letters to certain firms offering unapproved, uncleared, and unauthorized thermal imaging systems for sale. During the pandemic, non-contact thermal imaging have been used broadly when screening for fever, the #1 COVID-19 symptom. These public screenings have persisted in spite of a large body of scientific research proving their ineffectiveness in obtaining accurate temperature readings.

“We are in full agreement with the FDA and think that all types of these scanners should have been pulled from the market a long time ago, along with the non-contact IR “guns” widely available. Scientific studies prove that they aren’t accurate in everyday use, and the longer they stay out there, the longer they will threaten the health of the American people,” said Francesco Pompei, Ph.D., CEO of Exergen Corporation. “We hope that this warning from the FDA will be sufficient to eliminate these dangerous devices for good.”

What makes non-contact IR systems inaccurate is that they measure surface skin temperature, not the body’s core temperature, making the reading more easily manipulated based on a person’s level of activity, environmental factors like air temperature or sunlight, and normal physiological variations that change the forehead temperature independent of true core temperature. Non-contact thermometers and devices will lead to temperatures that are widely inaccurate, giving people a false sense of security. With this information and the FDA’s new statements on thermal scanners, and the dangerous Covid-19 viruses still prevalent, having an accurate thermometer is extremely important.

Peer-reviewed and published studies1 show that non-contact thermometers are inaccurate and actually miss as many as 9 out of 10 fevers. Research conducted through Exergen, a paper2, peer-reviewed and published in Proceedings of the SPIE, presents the science of how several physiological artifacts render no-touch measurements problematic, and how a successful method of non-invasive thermometry, like temporal artery thermometry, overcomes them. This paper also examines the lack of supporting science behind no-touch thermometry.

Exergen is making it easy for people to obtain an accurate thermometer by turning in their no-touch devices and “thermometer guns” to receive a rebate for purchasing a proven accurate TemporalScanner. All they need to do is visit Exergen.com and upload a photo of the non-contact device they are trading in, the Exergen thermometer they purchased, and their receipt. Once their request is processed, they will receive a $5 rebate. Medical professionals will receive a $20 rebate for each no-touch thermometer they trade up for an Exergen TAT-5000 professional model. Details can be found at Exergen.com.

Exergen manufactures and markets two series of the TemporalScanner thermometer: a professional version for hospitals and clinics, and a consumer version sold in major retailers nationwide. More than two billion temperatures are taken each year with TemporalScanners.  Used in thousands of hospitals and clinics across the country as well as in millions of homes, TemporalScanners are the #1 preference of pediatricians, nurses, and mothers. The Exergen TemporalScanner’s accuracy is supported by more than 80 peer-reviewed published studies covering all ages from preterm infants to geriatrics and all care areas from hospitals to homes. For additional information, visit www.exergen.com


1 Khan et al. Usefulness of Forehead Infrared Thermometers to Scan Patients for Fever During COVID-19 Pandemic. Pak Armed Forces Medical Journal. 2020 Sept 14.
2 Pompei and Pompei. Non-Invasive Temporal Artery Thermometry: Physics, Physiology, and Clinical Accuracy. Proceedings of the SPIE- The International Society for Optical Engineering. 2004 Apr 12. doi: 10.1117/12.544841

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f464713f-e4c6-421d-a8c1-c40dc712cbb4


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