Airport body scanners not a health risk: study
Full-body scanners used to secure airports, about 1,000 of which will be deployed across the United States by year's end, do not pose health risks, a study released Monday found.
The University of California study appearing in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" found that a traveler would have to go through a body scanner 50 times to receive the same amount of radiation as from a dental X-ray.
The researchers also said a lung X-ray was equivalent to 1,000 trips through an airport scanner, while a mammogram delivers as much radiation as passing through such a scanner 4,000 times.
The study focused on x-ray machines dubbed "backscatter" which use low-dose x-rays, similar to those used in medical imaging. So far there are some 486 full-body scanners in place in 78 US airports.
"The radiation doses emitted by the scans are extremely small; the scans deliver an amount of radiation equivalent to 3 to 9 minutes of the radiation received through normal daily living," the authors wrote.
And "since flying itself increases exposure to ionizing radiation, the scan will contribute less than one percent of the dose a flyer will receive from exposure to cosmic rays at elevated altitudes," they added.
"The estimation of cancer risks associated with these scans is difficult, but using the only available models, the risk would be extremely small, even among frequent flyers. We conclude that there is no significant threat of radiation from the scans," they wrote.
Advanced imaging technology X-ray scanners currently in use at airports around the United States sparked an uproar among travelers because they produce a graphic image of a person's naked body, genitalia and all.
Others have worried the scans might be unsafe.
Life & Style blogs
Plus London's buy-to-let hotspots and a new property portal
Guest post by Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv chartered surveyors
Plus lateral thinking and living on London's waterways
Facial hair: Cat beards and the purrrsuit of excellence
Microsoft's Xbox One: Have the price (£399) and release date (30 November) been leaked by online retailer Zavvi?
James Pembroke: The man who's eaten everywhere
Xbox One vs PlayStation 4: Why Microsoft's console name game just doesn't add up
The 10 Best salt and pepper sets
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.