Airport body scanners 'could give you cancer'Airport body scanners emit radiation up to 20 times more powerful than previously thought, a scientist has warned.
By Andy Bloxham
Jun. 30, 2010
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Dr David Brenner, head of the centre for radiological research at Columbia University in New York, said Government scientists had not taken into account the concentration of the radiation on the skin. He said it raised concerns about a potentially greater risk of cancer than previously realised.
Dr Brenner, who is from Liverpool, said children and passengers with genetic mutations - around one in 20 of the population - were most at risk because they are less able to repair X-ray damage to their cells.
He added that the danger posed to individual passengers was "very low" but said more research was required to more accurately determine the risks.
He said: "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."
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: "The device has been approved for use within the UK by the Department for Transport and has been subjected to risk assessments from the Health Protection Agency.
"Under current regulations, up to 5,000 scans per person per year can be conducted safely."