Airport Body Scanners May Pose Cancer Risk

U.S. News

TXA X-ray, front and back view

A Columbia University scientist claims that the radiation does from full body X-rays at airport security checkpoints may be 20 times higher than originally assumed.

Dr. David Brenner also says that while the risk to an individual passenger is very low, the enormous volume of travelers going through the machines raises public health issues especially for children and those with gene mutations.

The DailyMail quotes the professor as follows:

If all 800 million people who use airports every year were screened with  X-rays then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large number of  screened people might imply a potential public health or societal risk. The  population risk has the potential to be significant.

Basal cell carcinoma, a cancer that usually occurs in the head and neck but may not emerge for decades after the radiation exposure, is the most likely danger. As a result, the  the professor recommends against scanning the head and neck. He also urges more research into the possible affects of the device on those groups who might be more radiation sensitive.

Authorities have insisted that the body scanners are safe but health advocates continue to raise questions about the devices which are being deployed in many airports in the U.S. and overseas.

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